Dear Miss Manners: My wife and I were invited to two Super Bowl parties on the same night. She accepted both.
When will you leave the first party — during the game, so that the host has to get up and see you out? Before the game, so it seems as if something is wrong? After the game, so that you miss the socializing?
Oh, at halftime. Which will interrupt the people who are watching that.
Miss Manners reminds your wife of what many people seem to have forgotten: that invitations should be promptly accepted or declined, and bargaining over the terms is not allowed.
Dear Miss Manners: I have had serious back issues over the years, including several surgeries, and had a hip replaced several months ago.
Since then, despite rigorous physical therapy and home exercise, I have been forced to use a cane. It helps me walk without a significant limp and also helps keep me upright when standing, as I am not quite as steady on my feet as I (and my doctors) would like. I remain in fairly serious pain if I have to stand for more than a few minutes.
My issue isn't the cane — or the pain, for that matter — but the fact that, over and over and over again, people ask me why I am using a cane. While I am tired of the health questions in general, what really bothers me is when I reply that I had hip replacement surgery, they often ask how long ago. When I begrudgingly tell them “six months ago,” I inevitably get the response, “Well, you shouldn't still need a cane!” followed by a description of their own experience with hip replacement (“I was walking without a cane in two weeks! You need to do physical therapy!”) or some similar experience of their friend or family member.
This is often followed by other fun, probing questions like, “Who did your surgery? Was it their first time?” or comments like, “You must not be working hard enough at recovery!” At this point, I have run out of graciousness. I am beyond tired of the rude and unthinking curiosity, let alone the advice I don’t need and don’t want.
How do I deflect all of this? I have tried “I really don’t like to discuss my health issues,” but that never works. Pleading “Can we please talk about something else?” seems to just confirm their false opinions that I am too lazy to try PT or that my surgeon was a quack.
“It’s handy for when I have to defend myself.”
Then, if they go on about what you should be doing, Miss Manners hopes you will smile when you ask, “Oh, dear, do I have to defend myself?”
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.
© 2023 Judith Martin
More from Advice
Ask Sahaj: My husband’s family stays for weeks, but he doesn’t consult me
Ask Amy: Daughter divulges sexuality, sets off rumor mill
Miss Manners: Siblings at odds over brother’s ex
Ask Elaine: I’m moving across the world. How do I put myself out there?