DEAR MISS MANNERS: Are there etiquette guidelines for a wedding where the couple consists of a formerly married person and their affair partner during that marriage (assuming that fact is known to everyone)?
Should the bride avoid white? Should the officiating clergy skip the normal sermon on fidelity? Does the entire event have to be withheld?
SOFT READER: How to show proper remorse while celebrating the by-product of one’s crime dates back at least to Hamlet’s mother’s second wedding. But, as Queen Gertrude pointed out, it’s a problem that isn’t looking for a solution, as the revelers are generally content to party on.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: My partner invited one of his friends to my house, who in turn brought one of her friends. It was an informal get-together, so “the more the merrier” was the order of the day.
That is, until this friend of a friend started puffing his vape pen incessantly, without warning or permission, in my house. I don’t know this vaper very well and was stunned at how to handle the situation.
My partner insists that while it was odd that he vaped without asking, it’s not a big deal because unlike cigarette smoke, a vape pen won’t stain or do any harm. But even if that’s the case, I don’t feel comfortable seeing a cloud pass through my house.
Am I being unreasonable? Is there a polite (and welcoming) way to ask him to put the vape away or smoke on the deck?
SOFT READER: The reason etiquette objects so strongly to guests of guests is that they impose on you the duties of a host in relation to someone you did not invite.
Miss Manners reminds you of this by saying that her solution also works with intentional guests. The polite way to enforce a reasonable house rule (which is yours) is to offer a solution: “I’m so sorry, we don’t vape in the house, but we have a nice deck; let me show you.
The guest can then choose whether to move or vape later. The solution offered should not be more than incidental punitive, in this case separate from the main event and possibly requiring you to put on a jacket. A good host refrains from sending guests to snowdrifts or dark cellars.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: I moved into my neighborhood three years ago and have had about 10 conversations with one of my neighbors at the end of the block.
In our last two conversations, which took place about two weeks apart, it was clear that she had no recollection of ever speaking to me before. Both times we talked for a while, then she introduced herself; when she left she said all the “nice to meet you” things you say when you meet someone for the first time.
Do I have to pretend I don’t know her every time, or is that patronizing?
SOFT READER: Pretending you just met will only cause confusion when your neighbor comes home and her husband reminds her that you invited them over last week while walking the dog. It’s better to gently remind her, which requires her own selective memory: “You know, I’m sure we talked two weeks ago, when I came by and you were pruning the azaleas. But it’s great to catch up.”
Send your questions to Miss Manners on her website, www.missmanners.com; to her email, [email protected]; or by mail to Miss Manners, Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.