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Miss Manners: Is it wrong to wear the flag as clothing?

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Dear Miss Manners: Does wearing the flag as clothes show that you love America, or that you hate America?

I was raised to believe that it was disrespectful, if not traitorous, to wear the American flag on your butt or anywhere else, except as part of an authorized uniform, or maybe a discreet pin like the ones that seem required for politicians.

Now I see people who identify as patriots using flag material for all kinds of things, including boxers, bikinis and everything else. Are they sending a double message?

On the contrary: They have received a double message.

The U.S. Flag Code — written and published by advocacy groups in 1923, adopted by Congress in 1942 and revised numerous times — states that “the flag should never be used as wearing apparel, bedding, or drapery.” The American Legion interprets that as referring to an actual flag, not a fabric pattern that looks like a flag.

Miss Manners’ advice is to keep clear of any “More Patriotic Than Thou” contests.

Dear Miss Manners: Our youth pastor took all the graduating seniors and their families to lunch. My daughter thinks she should write the thank-you note because she was the one directly invited, while we were the “plus-ones”; I think I should write it because I’m usually the one to buy lunch for my family, and so I received the most benefit. What do you say?

You want to stop your polite daughter from expressing gratitude, with the argument that saving you money is more important than being hospitable? Are you mad?

Miss Manners begs you to stop trying to teach etiquette to your daughter, who knows more about it than you do.

Dear Miss Manners: Is it appropriate to send out a wedding invitation with explicit directions on how guests should dress? The bride wants to stipulate on the invitation “no T-shirts, no shorts,” etc. She says too many people show up at weddings improperly dressed.

I find this rude. What do you think?

Which? Dressing in leisure clothes for an important occasion, or issuing specific dress instructions to guests?

Never mind; both are rude. Which creates a problem.

Hosts may set the general standard of dress, such as “black tie” — or puzzling codes they think up, such as “elegant casual,” whatever that means. But they are supposed to respect their guests' judgment and not scold them in advance.

Yes, Miss Manners knows your friends have no such judgment. She suggests a one-word instruction: “formal.” This will mystify the guests, but perhaps make them realize that their beach outfits do not qualify.

Dear Miss Manners: If three office workers give a dozen cookies to a school counselor for School Counseling Week, should she offer a cookie to each of them?

Although there is no prohibition against sharing food that was given as a present, neither is there a requirement to do so. Miss Manners assumes that the generous bakers got to lick the batter.

New Miss Manners columns are posted Monday through Saturday on washingtonpost.com/advice. You can send questions to Miss Manners at her website, missmanners.com. You can also follow her @RealMissManners.

©2022 by Judith Martin

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