NOW IS the time to plan your June wedding, especially if you have already met someone you like. But if you plan your wedding to be spontaneous, orginal, honest and open, a dramatic presentation of your own personal love story, beliefs and aspirations, Miss Manners will not attend. Miss Manners sees enough bad plays as it is.
All the world loves lovers wxcept, of course, the people who were married to them when they fell in love. But love is no excuse for inviting people to a popular pageant and treating them, instead, to amateur theatrics about sex and philosophy.
When people write their own wedding ceremonies, it is generally with the belief that the standard ones are boring or hypocritical (not to mention the crazy idea that "The Prophet" is better than the Bible). This is a basic misunderstanding about the nature of ceremony.
Miss Manners has no objection to bridal couples doing some dicreet editing of the standard ceremony, omitting details they find offensive, such as obeying and giving away. Certainly the innovation of including children from previous unions who will be underfoot in the new one is important.
But they should bear in mind that symbols are intended to apply generally to the social function of the occasion, and are not clues to private behavior. Sensible people understand marriage; it is not supposed to broadcast the physical state of the bride inside.
Similarly, the bride and bridegroom should not use the occasion to announce that they have considered themselves married already, belittling the social and legal sanction they are not receiving. It is rude to brag about your sex life at a public function.
Traditional ceremonies, whether civil or religious, express hopes and ideals; they do not make realistic predictions. Statistically, it may be true that it is likely to be the bride and bridegroom's subsequent fellings, not death, which do them part.But that is no excuse for making lukewarn vows to stay together "as long as we both shall wish. How would you like to hear a president of the United States take an inaugural vow to uphold the Constitution as long as it doesn't interfere with his political plans?
And the long, droning parts of the ceremony do not, in fact, bore the wedding guests. These merely give them time to enjoy appropriate thoughts for the occasion, such as "What does she see in him?" and "What does he see in her?"
MISS MANNERS RESPONDS
Q: I have long sensed the illogic of women being referred to by the first names of their husbands, particularly when they are carrying on some activity in their own capacity. I note that some progress has been made. In listings for benefits and other social activities, the woman's first name is now sometimes placed in parentheses after her husband's first name, for example, Mrs. John (Mary) Doe." It seems to me propriate way to do this - fully aside from the pressures of the women's liberation movement - would be to list the woman's name first, with the husband's name in parentheses, ie., Mrs. Mary (John) Doe.including the husband's name in this way continues to be necessary so long as the use of the woman's first name together with the husband's last name still implies that she is divorced. As you will note from the attached list, we are adopting this system in listing members of the committee for our upcoming benefit. I would be interested in having your opinion on this.
A: Miss Manners absolutely agrees with you that charity should begin with knowing what goes on in everybody's home. But, fully aside from the pressures of the women's liberation movement, why do you list the men on your committee as "Mr. John Doe" instead of "Mr. John (DeeDee) Doe?" And if you really want to know who is carrying on some activity in her or his own capacity, why not "Mr. John (DeeDee) Doe (see also Roe, Zsa Zsa?" You could also just list both men and women by hteir own names and let evereyone have fun during the benefit by finding out the rest.
Q: Saturday morning at 5.30, the phone rang 10, maybe 15 times until I answered, at which someone called me by name and then said, "Gee, what time is it?" I replied in firm, distinct sounds, "5.30 A.M." and hung up with a powerful sweep. Now I 'm wondering if I have lost a friend, discouraged a prank caller, or simply dreamed all of this.
A: Since you answered the person's question, you seem to have fulfilled your obligation and needn't worry about it any longer. Now - what are the chances of rain tomorrow?
Q: When I am eating breakfast out, or when i'm staying at someone's house, how do I eat breakfast bacon with the fingers or fork?
A: The correct way to eat bacon is with a fork. Limp, greasy bacon is easily eaten this way, but is not worth the eating. Crisp bacon is delicious, but impossible to eat correctly. Life is often like that, but it's a shame it has to be that way, especially at breakfast.