Miss Manners: Ex-wife’s wedding dress has no supernatural power

February 23, 2012

DEAR MISS MANNERS: My stepson will be married this spring, his first and her second marriage. His fiancee has chosen to wear his mother’s wedding dress.

My husband will be walking my stepson’s fiancee down the aisle. I’m uncomfortable about seeing this wedding dress reincarnated on the arm of my husband. (Interesting that his ex-wife kept the dress for 40 years.) Am I out of line?

GENTLE READER: You know you are. You must be exposed to the usual wedding prattle of “It’s all about the bride,” a selfishness-promoting concept Miss Manners loathes. But surely it did not make you think, “No, it’s all about me.”

Still, the situation bothers you, so it might be useful to think about why. Do you suppose that the dress will transport your husband back into feeling that he has his beloved first bride on his arm? That seems doubtful, but in any case, the reality, in the form of the lady he divorced, will be right there to shatter the fantasy.

Anyway, he might be oblivious to it all. Every time Miss Manners has asked any gentleman who attended a wedding what the bride wore, the only answer forthcoming was, “I’m pretty sure it was a white dress.”

DEAR MISS MANNERS: What is the best course of action when a friend request is denied on a social network — particularly when that person is someone with whom one had long wished to reconnect?

I recently came across a friend online who was very dear to me in middle school — more than two decades ago — and was very excited. We’d fallen out of touch in college. However, I noticed later that she apparently had denied my request. I was hurt that she apparently did not share my desire to reconnect, but made no further efforts. (I assume she knew who I was, as my profile has a photo and, while I now go by my married name, my first name is not common.)

If this were another person, I would just brush it off, but this is someone whose rejection I find rather baffling and saddening. Is there any polite way at all to address the matter, or do I need to just let it go?

GENTLE READER: Is it possible that your friend remembers the time you kissed her beau or returned her sweater without realizing that you’d snagged it?

But Miss Manners believes it also possible that the lady is limiting her Facebook commitment in time spent or the number of correspondents acquired. Or that she did fail to recognize you with your changed name and grown-up photograph.

There are many other forms of communication still open, such as the telephone, e-mail and even actual letters. Try another means before you feel snubbed enough to let it go.

DEAR MISS MANNERS: My husband does not feel it is proper for him to compliment my cooking when we have dinner guests. However, he will compliment my cooking if it is just the two of us. What do you say?

GENTLE READER: About your cooking?

If Miss Manners were your guest and your husband complimented you on a meal she was eating: “Yes, it’s wonderful; I was just going to mention that.”

It is to avoid the appearance of prompting the guests that your husband wisely refrains from saying anything. You should compliment him on that — in private.

Visit Miss Manners at her Web site, www.missmanners.com, where you can send her your questions.

2012, by Judith Martin

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