April 12, 2024
She's paying half of what the couples pay for the vacation house.

DEAR MISS MANNERS: We occasionally travel on vacation with our couple friends. One of our friends lost her husband to an illness. We, of course, still wanted her to join us.

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We stay in rental houses rather than hotels, because they are located where we want to be, and it’s so much nicer to have a common space where we can visit. We divide the cost of the house per person, so the singleton pays half of what a couple does.

However, these houses usually have a master suite, and the couples take turns in them. Of course, that leaves the singleton out of the rotation. Our friend was upset to not have a turn.

Should we overlook the difference in financial contribution and invite her to take her turn in the master suite, too?

GENTLE READER: Is the financial aspect of this important enough to you to justify hurting your bereaved friend’s feelings by emphasizing that her status among you has changed?

As it would not even cost you extra to give your friend a turn in the big room, Miss Manners would think not. Graciousness, even if it violates strict accounting, is worth it.

DEAR MISS MANNERS: Is there still a certain time frame for when you can and cannot wear white? Also, do folks still wear slips under dresses?

GENTLE READER: Now! You can wear white now!

And don’t waste another minute, because the time frame is Memorial Day to Labor Day, so you can only do so for two more weeks.

No, Miss Manners is not deluded enough to think that anyone waited for her permission on such a crucial manner. The truth is that she relishes seeing people work themselves into a froth over this. No rule of etiquette, no matter how strict, annoys people more than the one that reserves white shoes for the summer months.

Why it upsets them, she cannot imagine, considering how easily they all get away with ignoring it.

Still less is Miss Manners able to see, much less judge, whether folks are still wearing slips.

DEAR MISS MANNERS: I purchased an old set of silver, and it included knife rests! I am in love!

But I cannot find anything in place-setting instructions as to where they go. So please, Miss Manners, tell me where knife rests go!

GENTLE READER: Under the knives when they are at rest.

Sorry, but you set Miss Manners up.

Actually, it is the responsibility of the diner to arrange them thus, after having used the knife and realizing what a mess it could make of your tablecloth. When setting the table, you should place each beloved knife rest just above the knife, parallel to the table edge.

DEAR MISS MANNERS: How many times do you have to extend invitations to reciprocate for being someone’s guest when they have declined? Obviously, a second is required, but after that?

GENTLE READER: What was the tone of the second refusal? If it was “Oh, dear, I hate to have to miss this,” Miss Manners thinks you might try once more. If it was more like “Sorry, I’m busy,” maybe not.

Please send your questions to Miss Manners at her website, www.missmanners.com; to her email, [email protected]; or through postal mail to Miss Manners, Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.

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