Q. This is sort of a wedding-etiquette question, but it isn't about who stands where in the receiving line or when to throw my garter.
I am being married this winter. It's a little scary these days when so many marriages end in divorce. I've been a bridesmaid four times myself, and two of the marriages are already over and one is about to be, judging from what my girlfriend has told me about her and her husband.
I don't want this to happen to me. We wouldn't be getting married if we didn't love each other and believe it will last, but all my friends felt that way, too, so maybe it isn't enough.
You wrote about the importance of being polite to your own family -- that it is even more important maybe than being polite to acquaintances. That was mostly about children, though, and obviously we don't have any yet.
Do you have any etiquette advice for a new husband and wife to each other?
My mother said not to go around in curlers in front of him and that kind of thing, but that isn't what I mean. Anyway, I use hot curlers in the bathroom with the door shut, so that isn't a problem.
A. No, but how long you stay in the bathroom of a one-bathroom apartment with the door shut might be.
However, Miss Manners can do betterthan that. Sharing and consideration should be obvious.
What is not always abvious is that you must always give your spouse the courtesy of not being embarrassed on his or her behalf.
Marriage is no excuse for installing yourself as the resident critic of another person's behavior. There is no surer way of ending one than the habit of saying, "You shouldn't have done that" or "Why did you have to say that?"
If you resolve not to feel that it reflects on you if he makes a fool of himself, and extract a promise that he will allow you to make a fool of yourself without feeling that it reflects on him , you will be off to a very solid start.
Q. Please answer these two questions:
1. Is it proper to put lipstick on at the dinner table after dinner either in a restaurant or at someone's house?r in a restaurant or at someone's house?
2. At a dinner party, is it proper to eat chicken with your hands?
A. 1. Restaurant, yes; someone's house, no.
(Must you challenge Miss Manners with the illogic of this? Perhaps the house rule is a vestige of times when ladies retired to the hostess' boudoir to freshen themselves up and miss out on the host's best port. Sometimes Miss Manners knows the answers but not the reasons.)
2. Outdoor dinner parties, yes; indoors, no, except with close relatives or when the hostess twice suggests it while waving a drumstick in her hand.
3. Under no circumstances should you eat chicken and apply lipstick at the same time.