Q. I have had many sleepless nights from a grave mistake on my part. I was a guest at my brother-in-law and sister's home in Los Angeles. He invited me, as I met him in the driveway of his house one morning, to be his guest at an exclusive club. He is a member of that club. Inadertently, without thinking, I replied, "I will think it over."
As a result of this oversight on my part, he was insulted and spoke very little to me the rest of my two weeks' stay. I think the crime didn't fit the punishment. Please give me your opinion.
A. Indeed, as the crime of blurting out misleading statements goes, yours is not serious. It would have been easy to rectify by your saying later, "Well, I did think about the honor you kindly offered me, and while I'm a little shy about it, truthfully I would love to go."
You didn't, though. Therefore, your crime, which is serious, is that you let that blurt grow malevolently in his mind, until he undoubtedly concluded that you thought his club not good enough for you.
Rather than criticizing his choice-of punishment (for the sake of taking your own attention away from your own mistake), you should write him a letter now, explaining that you replied awkwardly to his invitation because you had been overwhelmed by it, assuring him that you felt truly flattered to have been asked.
Q. Next year, we will celebrate 25 years of marriage. I am thinking of renewing our vows, but I'm at a loss to know all the procedures. Our children are 12 and 14 years, so they are too young to really have a party for us. Please send information on church etiquette and everything.
A. The chief thing to bear in mind when planning such a ceremony is that it marks a continuation of your marriage, rather than a re-enactment of its beginning. While you should invite the same people there who witnessed the wedding, you should not attempt to look or act like the couple you were 25 years ago.
Anyway, Miss Manners thinks that the pledges of a couple who have been married for 25 years are infinitely more moving than those of people who don't know what they're getting into.
You may ask the same clergyman to perform the ceremony, or your present one to repeat the original service. And you should have the original wedding party there.
But you are now a grown-up couple with children. Include them in the wedding party. Dress festively, but appropriately for your age. And entertain your friends afterward as grown-ups do, by giving a party in your own house.
Q. I have a mink stole and only go to church or weddings occasionally, I'm wondering what the proper place is to wear it, and with what sort of clothes.
A. A mink stole is the most difficult of all fur clothing to wear. You can soften the drop-dead message of mink by claiming that you only wear a mink coat for warmth, or by tossing your mink jacket over jeans as if it were merely old and practical. But you can't claim a mink stole is keeping all of you warm, and you can't pretend you got it for rugged sportswear.
Therefore, you must obey the rules about wearing it, or risk looking as if you are using a minimum of pelts for the purpose of maximum showing off. The stole should be worn over dressy clothes, whether othey are dresses, suit or evening dresses, in the evening, in slightly chilly weather.
You should also wear with it is facial expression suggesting that you almost grabbed a sweater instead, but were afraid that wouldn't be warm enough, or dressy enough for the occasion.