DEAR MISS MANNERS: I’m hosting a bridal shower with my daughter-in-law for my granddaughter, who is a ballerina. She has worked in Berlin and is now working in the U.S., engaged to a German citizen.
They are planning on setting up a home in the U.S. after they get married in Santorini, Greece. They will be starting from scratch.
I told her to register at a few places, but she only registered for a total of eight gifts — and some were measuring spoons. They don’t want to select things until they set up an apartment or house.
We have a shower approaching with 14 family members and nine of her friends. How do I tell people that if they can’t find something, they can give a gift card? I’m embarrassed.
GENTLE READER: As well you should be. You are why etiquette disapproves of relatives giving showers.
Rather than thinking of it as a pleasant way to celebrate with her friends, you are determined to turn it into a fundraiser. Miss Manners is pleased to hear that your granddaughter is resisting this.
Surely you can tell the relatives that your granddaughter can’t use household possessions now. Or you could offer to store gifts for her — they are not likely to be pieces of furniture — until she can. Or, better yet, just give a party in her honor without calling it a shower.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: My partner of many years often corrects my misstatements, even if they are of a very trivial nature (“It was not a blue car we saw, darling, it was turquoise”). In fact, she seems to enjoy correcting me.
In contrast, I usually don’t bother to correct her minor mistakes (“We didn’t see your friend two days ago; it was three days”). To me, it does not seem worth the bother.
Can you tell me if there is a point of etiquette here?
GENTLE READER: How did you manage to stick it out with this person for so many years? The annoyance factor must be overwhelming.
You should not need a point of etiquette here — the survival instinct should alert people to the danger of continually irritating one’s partner.
Miss Manners can tell you that there are academic and other forums where correcting facts is desirable. Social occasions with one’s partner are not among them.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: My family has a long tradition of serving corn on the cob at barbecues, but I am not able to eat it straight from the cob because of my dental work. Is there a proper way to remove it from the cob at the table?
GENTLE READER: What you need is a corn fork. This is a small, vicious instrument with tiny, triangular, bent tines that look like canine teeth sticking out to rip the kernels from the cob.
As Miss Manners has two of them, but no one else does, she will permit you to scrape the kernels off with a knife, preferably in the kitchen before dinner.
Please send your questions to Miss Manners at her website, www.missmanners.com; to her email, email@example.com; or through postal mail to Miss Manners, Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.