Antelope Valley Press (Sunday) - - Puzzles - By Ju­dith Martin, Ni­cholas Ivor Martin and Ja­cobina Martin

Dear Miss Man­ners: I have been to so­cial gath­er­ings with my fi­ance where most of the guests were his fam­ily mem­bers or his old friends. I ei­ther am much less fa­mil­iar with these peo­ple, or meet­ing them for the first time, so I ex­pect him to take the lead when it comes to the end of these events.

How­ever, there have been sev­eral times that I felt it was fairly clear the hosts would like us to go: We’ve been there sev­eral hours and they put the baby to bed; we’ve helped clear the dishes, it’s re­ally late and the con­ver­sa­tion has lulled sev­eral times.

I keep wait­ing for my fi­ance to do the “Well, it’s been so great, but it’s get­ting late ...” Noth­ing. It of­ten drags out un­til ei­ther I say some­thing or the host does some “sub­tle” prompt­ing (ad­mit­tedly, dur­ing a time that we were at some­one’s home un­til 3 a.m., I fell asleep).

I need to have a talk with him about this, but to be hon­est, I think he might just be bad at pick­ing up on the so­cial cues.

Is it ever ap­pro­pri­ate for me to ex­cuse us from these so­cial gath­er­ings of peo­ple who barely know me?

Is there a good way for me to in­di­cate to him, “Hey, I think these peo­ple might want us to go now”? Or should I just go along with him in these sit­u­a­tions since he does know them bet­ter?

Dear Gentle Reader: You are go­ing to be very wel­come in this fam­ily, which has prob­a­bly been won­der­ing for years how to un­stick your fi­ance from their so­fas.

Cer­tainly, you can al­ways ini­ti­ate the de­par­ture with a burst of en­thu­si­asm at how en­joy­able the evening was as you stand up and move to­ward the door. But there is an­other tool that you need to have a happy mar­riage.

It is called The Look. In the midst of a so­cial gath­er­ing, one spouse can stare wide-eyed at the other as a sig­nal that some­thing needs to be done. That could be that it is time to go home, but it could also be, “Soft-pedal that story; it’s a bit too risque for them” or, “You have some food on your face.”

Should you have chil­dren, The Look will be even more use­ful, as it says, “I’m not go­ing to em­bar­rass you in pub­lic, but if you don’t stop that right now, you’ll be in deep trou­ble when we get home.”

Dear Miss Man­ners: I un­der­stand that it is tra­di­tional for the bride to dance with her fa­ther at her wed­ding. I like the cer­e­mony and sym­bol­ism of that fa­ther-daugh­ter dance, and I would also like to rec­og­nize each of my three broth­ers by danc­ing with them.

How­ever, I would think that it would be rather te­dious for my guests to sit through five dances (in­clud­ing the first dance of the bride and groom) be­fore be­ing al­lowed to take the floor them­selves. What is proper in this sit­u­a­tion?

Dear Gentle Reader: Yes, this would be charm­ing, but not as a cer­e­mony, per­formed for on­look­ers. Af­ter you get that “Awwww” re­ac­tion for your dance with your fa­ther, Miss Man­ners ex­pects you to in­vite your guests to be­gin gen­eral danc­ing. Ad­dress your eti­quette ques­tions to Miss Man­ners at her web­site, www.miss­man­ners. com; to her email, dearmiss­man­[email protected] com; or through postal mail to Miss Man­ners, An­drews McMeel Syn­di­ca­tion, 1130 Wal­nut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.

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