A Chuckle from Miss Manners

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

I have always admired Judith Martin's rational approach to etiquette, which often lends itself to humor in her columns.

Recently, a question revealed that some coward was attempting to "game the system" -- to treat the rules of etiquette as if they had to be followed regardless of any context.

[E]tiquette does not consider a wedding invitation to be equivalent to an invoice. If a present were required from those invited to weddings in which they have little or no interest -- or, as in your case, actually find offensive -- greedy people would be inviting everyone whose address they could find.


No, no, no. A wedding invitation requires an immediate response, accepting or declining it. Anyone who accepts presumably cares enough to comply with the convention of sending a present. Those who also care but are prevented from attending may want to send something, but need not.

Those who are the targets of extortion, as you are, should not succumb. You may want to pass this word around the office. [bold added]
I can't stand people who choose to take politeness as a sign of weakness, and I love seeing someone who invariably knows exactly the right way to deal with that annoying problem.

I don't think Miss Manners was joking in that last line, but her understated, yet very clear recommendation to promote etiquette -- and aid justice -- still made me chuckle at the prospect of all parties following through.

-- CAV

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