July 23, 2024
I hinted he should pick something else, and he doubled down.

DEAR MISS MANNERS: My father, with whom I do not have a close relationship, wishes to be called “Grandude” by his grandchildren.

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He is not a “dude” in any sense of the word, which makes the entire thing seem like a mockery of him, and he demands respect in every other way.

My siblings feel this is inherently disrespectful and that if he will not respect himself, their children should still respect him. I have to say I agree with my siblings despite agreeing with your general principle in most situations about addressing people as they wish to be addressed.

I have lightly hinted to my father about maybe calling him something else, but he doubled down on his name. Do I need to put aside my own scruples here and give in, despite how wrong it feels?

GENTLE READER: Yes. And while you are doing so, you can, in private with your child, explain that this is not normally a respectful thing to call someone, but your father has a strange sense of humor. This serves the double purpose of ruining your father’s fun and ensuring that your child does not insult an innocent old man (i.e., one who is not your father).

DEAR MISS MANNERS: Is there a good way to respond to men who refer to their co-workers as girls?

I’ve heard this from my plumber as well as my financial adviser. They remark that they’ll have “one of the girls” call and schedule a follow-up appointment or something similar.

These co-workers are women, not girls. I’ve never heard anyone refer to male co-workers as boys.

What can I say that doesn’t involve making a speech? I realize not everyone finds offense in calling a woman a girl, or means offense when doing so, but I do not want to simply ignore the slight.

GENTLE READER: Casually demeaning one’s workforce is, mercifully, going out of fashion. But any resulting respite has been cut short by a rise in vigilante etiquette instruction.

The co-workers in question were not present, but even if they were, any objection on your part would have to be proportional to the offense, as you are not the one being slighted: a refusal to smile at the comment or even a silent frown.

Lecturing your plumber and your financial adviser that, on general principles, you object to their behavior will only leave you wetter and poorer.

DEAR MISS MANNERS: I grew up in a home where socialization was discouraged. We were not allowed to have friends over, and I never recall having people over for dinner. Now, as an adult, I’m slowly learning to navigate the social sphere.

From time to time, I am invited over to a friend’s home for dinner. I understand that it’s polite and appropriate to return the favor.

Hosting is stressful for me and takes time to plan and prepare. Sometimes I get so anxious about hosting that I fear I wait too long. What is an appropriate time frame to reciprocate the gesture?

GENTLE READER: Halfway to the time when you expect your friend would issue a second invitation. But, as Miss Manners realizes this requires navigating social cues to figure, she will say your invitation should be issued within 45 days. Give or take.

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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