Dear Miss Manners: I hosted a football watch party where I instructed guests to arrive at a certain time and said I would be providing food and beverages for everyone.
My sister and her family arrived two hours late and were upset to discover all the food was gone. I hurriedly offered to make more food, and she then proceeded to instruct me on what not to put in the dish because her children had various allergies.
Am I wrong to feel annoyed at her behavior? While I understand that as a hostess I should strive to make my guests feel as comfortable as possible, I felt her demands were unreasonable.
Gentle Reader: Did she also expect you to have recorded the game, so that you could show her whatever she missed?
Arriving two hours late, short of an emergency, and being visibly upset are, indeed, rude, though reminding you of the children’s allergies as you look for additional food is not unreasonable. But while your sister exhibited bad guest behavior, Miss Manners commends you for exhibiting good host behavior.
Best to skip giving boss gifts
Dear Miss Manners: In the elementary school where I work, our principal is a lovely woman. A fabricated recognition for bosses (Bosses Day) came and went without us teachers giving her a gift. (Can the shame be outlived?) Well, one teacher won’t let it go. She wants us all to contribute to a card and a gift.
I think I remember you saying once that it is inappropriate for an employee to give a gift to the boss, lest it be interpreted as something akin to a bribe or something like that. I don’t want to give my boss a gift, but of course I’ll look like a malcontent.
Gentle Reader: As a teacher, you are aware of the power of peer pressure. It is time to put that knowledge to work.
Explain to the others why this is a bad idea: It will establish a bad precedent; it will look like toadying; it will cost everyone money; and it may well embarrass the boss. When others agree, the lone holdout will have to concede.
Place purse behind you
Dear Miss Manners: Where should a lady place her purse during dinner?
Gentle Reader: On her lap, where it will slip to the floor. This obliges her dinner partner, presuming he is a gentleman, to crawl around under the table in a most undignified but amusing manner, to retrieve all the pretty little things that will have spilled out of her purse on the trip downward.
If you do not care to witness this, or feel that a dinner partner might not be game, Miss Manners suggests tucking the purse behind you on your chair.
This column was co-written by Judith Martin’s son, Nicholas Ivor Martin.