Miss Manners: Pregnancy is mom’s alone; child-rearing is shared

February 24

DEAR MISS MANNERS: On more than one occasion, I have heard a woman say, “We’re pregnant!” when referring to the fact that the couple is expecting a baby. My in-laws will even say, “Did you hear that John and Jane are pregnant?”

I think that phrasing it in such a way is ridiculous, and I often find myself responding in a manner such as, “Wow, he’s pregnant, too?”

How should I respond to statements such as this, when it is so obvious that the woman is the only one who is pregnant?

GENTLE READER: While it is plainly unfair that mothers should have to do all of the childbearing, Miss Manners, like you, has noticed that such is the reality.

Presumably the plural is used to make the point that this unevenness does not extend to child-rearing, as it might if the child were merely some little project of the mother’s. But fatuous is not rude, and your response should be merely to offer congratulations.

DEAR MISS MANNERS: Our small township of about 5,000 people has a township cemetery. This year, for the first time, township officials are planning a “scavenger hunt” in the cemetery for both adults and kids during a festival-type event the town is having.

In my mind, a cemetery is a place for respect and quiet for the dead and grieving, not for fun and games, where kids are running around on top of the graves. We have a younger generation of township officials overseeing this; the older ones never did such things. Am I wrong and rude to object?

GENTLE READER: This is one more bit of evidence that, as Miss Manners has always suspected, everyone nowadays wants to be in show business.

It seems far more likely that the planners were thinking, “What a wonderful set the cemetery would make for our festival,” rather than, “Let’s all have a romp on Grandma’s grave.”

You might explain to the would-be producers that while you see the charm of their proposal, they need to avoid the bad feeling that would result were a living relative of one of the deceased to complain that the scavenger hunt would be a desecration. Suggest they send a letter to all possible survivors, explaining why the contemplated festivities would not constitute disrespect. Your officials may find it easier to change the venue.

DEAR MISS MANNERS: I’ve noticed a trend where some of my friends tip as much as 50 percent (on tax, too). Even new tipping “apps” have calculation options up to 50 percent.

I always thought if the service was outstanding that 20 percent (not on tax) was more than generous. Am I behind the times, or just a cheapskate?

GENTLE READER: Your friends are very generous to people who are woefully underpaid. And as employers knowingly underpay them, expecting the customers to make up the difference, everyone in the industry has an interest in raising the rates.

Miss Manners would have thought that using percentages to calculate tips would ensure increases with the cost of living. However, as you know, the usual rate has crept up to 20 percent, with something more or less depending on the type of establishment.

She has no wish to discourage additional largesse. But that is dictated by the heart and the wallet, not by etiquette.

New Miss Manners columns are posted Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays on www.washingtonpost.com/advice. You can send questions to Miss Manners at her Web site, www.missmanners.com.

2014, by Judith Martin

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