Birth­day card from mom deser ves a birth­day call

The Hazleton Standard-Speaker - - COMMUNITY -

DEAR MISS MAN­NERS: Your mom mails you a birth­day card. She has no way of know­ing if the card ar­rived the day be­fore, the day of, or the day af­ter your birth­day. (She is not the mail­man.) She as­sumes it ar­rived be­fore or on the day of your birth­day. Is she ob­li­gated to call you on your birth­day, or by virtue of her send­ing the card, are you now ob­li­gated to call and thank her in­stead?

Ba­si­cally, it’s “I sent the card, so now he needs to call me so I can wish him a happy birth­day.” And if you don’t call them to say, “Re­mem­ber it’s my birth­day” they get miffed.

GEN­TLE READER: Then call them. (“Them”? How many moth­ers do you have?) You can­not se­ri­ously ex­pect Miss Man­ners to come up with a rule about the tim­ing of iras­ci­ble cour­te­sies. And even if she did, some­one who is look­ing for an in­sult while in the very act of con­fer­ring good wishes is not likely to be sat­is­fied.

A more rel­e­vant rule is: If you can pla­cate a dif­fi­cult rel­a­tive with a triv­ial con­ces­sion, do so.

DEAR MISS MAN­NERS: My fi­ance would like me to make his sis­ter a brides­maid, and I would love to do so as well.

How­ever, my fu­ture sis­terin-law loves to dye her hair ev­ery color of the rain­bow and has many large, vis­i­ble tat­toos. While I ac­cept and love that free-spir­ited part of her per­son­al­ity, I would rather not have col­or­ful hair and tat­toos prom­i­nent in pho­tos that will last a life­time, es­pe­cially as she would be the only mem­ber of the wed­ding party with such fea­tures.

Would it be rude to re­quest nat­u­ral-colored hair and makeup cov­er­ing her tat­toos for the wed­ding day? How should I phrase this wish? I do not want to erase her in­di­vid­u­al­ity, and es­pe­cially do not want to come off as a bridezilla.

GEN­TLE READER: But that would be eras­ing that in­di­vid­u­al­ity you pro­fess to ac­cept and love. And a bride who wants to re­make oth­ers into match­ing back­ground fig­ures for her wed­ding al­bum meets the def­i­ni­tion of a bridezilla. Be­sides, Miss Man­ners as­sures you that your pho­to­graphs will mean more if they rep­re­sent peo­ple as they are. If your fu­ture sis­ter-in-law be­comes more con­ven­tional over the years, any em­bar­rass­ment over these re­minders will be hers. And your friends and pos­si­ble even­tual descen­dants will be more in­ter­ested in see­ing real peo­ple than they would be in the phony, generic look-alike ver­sions you think you want.

DEAR MISS MAN­NERS: An ac­quain­tance told me that wear­ing a watch or other time­piece out­side of work (so­cial func­tions, over for din­ner, etc.) was rude. “Watches are for work. Time shouldn’t mat­ter when you’re with friends,” she said.

I have never heard of this. I am ashamed to think I may have been un­know­ingly of­fend­ing my friends and fam­ily by merely wear­ing a watch. I would never want them to think that I didn’t value my time with them. Is this re­ally rude?

GEN­TLE READER: As your ac­quain­tance and Miss Man­ners are the only two peo­ple still on Earth who re­mem­ber this rule, you may as­sume that you have not of­fended oth­ers. Left­over in­dig­na­tion may be di­rected to­ward those who check the time or any­thing else on their cel­lu­lar tele­phones when sup­pos­edly so­cial­iz­ing.

Miss Man­ners

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