DEAR MISS MANNERS: My sister wants me to use her married name on all mail — and she doesn’t even want me to use her first name. It has to be “Mrs. Husband’s-Last-Name.”
I feel creepy about this, and have stopped sending her mail because of it. To me, the demand feels like another example of my brother-in-law’s controlling behavior — not just of my sister, but of me too.
GENTLE READER: Didn’t you just state that this is how your sister wants you to address her? Who is it, then, who is ignoring her wishes with the unpleasant effect of cutting her off from relations?
DEAR MISS MANNERS: As parents, it is hard to see our children move away to college, but I believe raising them to fly is one of our most important jobs.
As college students form bonds, I see many out-of-state students get “adopted” by local students’ families. There is comfort found in an occasional home-cooked meal, a much-needed mom hug or fatherly advice, and perhaps even a holiday celebration when students lack the time or means to go home.
My son was lucky enough to meet one such family. As an out-of-state mom, there is a true comfort in knowing another family is close by to help fill the gap and support my child.
Thank-you notes, albeit genuine, just don’t seem to be enough to express the genuine gratitude I have for this family, who have been my son’s “home away from home” for four years. I simply don’t know what is an appropriate yet affordable thank-you in this situation.
GENTLE READER: As you point out, a parent’s job is to enable the child to operate successfully on his own. If you have done this, your child will have written these people an effusive letter and given some thought to how else to please them.
It would be gracious to add your thanks to his, and to add a present, even if he has done so already. Your son, not Miss Manners, is the person who will be able to tell you, after four years of visiting them, what they might like.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: My fiance and I are getting married in February at 3 p.m. and there is a debate over whether he should wear a morning suit or a tuxedo.
The ceremony will end around 4 p.m., the reception will start around 5 p.m. and sunset will happen shortly thereafter. He will not have time to change (nor will he want to) between the ceremony and the reception.
So the question is, which is the worse infraction: tuxedos when the sun is up or morning suits at night?
GENTLE READER: Wrong question.
Right question: Which is the key part of this event? Is it a ceremony with a party attached, or a party with the ceremony as a curtain-raiser?
As you are among the few brides who are even aware that there is a difference between daytime and evening formal clothes, Miss Manners trusts you to choose the right answer and put your fiance in morning clothes.
Please send your questions to Miss Manners at her website, www.missmanners.com; to her email, firstname.lastname@example.org; or through postal mail to Miss Manners, Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.