Q: It will soon be exactly a year since my lover and I moved in together. Neither she nor I have any intention of ever getting married, which we consider unnecessary for many reasons, but we will probably be together a long time, maybe even permanently. I would like to surprise her by celebrating our first anniversary. What would be appropriate to get her? I looked up wedding-anniversary suggestions and found that the first is considered the "paper anniversary." Would this apply to our situation?
A: NO, NO, NO. That is for married people only! Don't think of it! STOP THAT. Wait. Miss Manners is sorry she got hysterical. You know how tolerant Miss Manners usually is about young love, or old love for that matter. It's just that you unmarried people have bred her to death talking all the time about how you "don't need a piece of paper to love each other," so don't expect her to let you have any paper now. Besides, there ought to be some thrills attached to marriage only.
Q: I received a formal invitation from the Secretary General of the Organization of American States to a reception, and it says, in the lower right hand corner, "Dark business suit -- Long dress." As a matter of fact, I was planning to wear a business suit anyway. What did they think I would wear to a diplomatic reception -- my jogging suit? It looks peculiar to me, if not insulting. I've seen "Black tie" and "Informal" written on this type of card, but never "Dark business suit." What are they afraid of?
A: Men in white silk suits and Panama hats with evil political intentions.
A: My grandmother always said: "You must never ask anyone, 'Would you like a second cup of coffee? or "Will you have some more dessert?''' She said it should always be, "Would you like a cup of coffee? No matter how many portions the person has had already. The other way, she said, only call attention to the fact that the person is having a lot to eat or drink and is therefore impolite. Is this a general rule?
A: It should be. There is something less than gracious about being urged: "Oh, come on, have a fifth slice of pie you've hardly eaten anything."