Q: My brother is engaged to a lovely young woman, and my question concerns proper introductions during their engagement period.
Should the fact that she is my brother's fiance' be included in the introduction, or should she be allowed to stand on her own identity? Does this differ depending on the situation and who is doing the introducing?
A: The irony of today's misguided search for conventionality never ceases to amuse Miss Manners.
While you are kindly concerned that your future sister-in-law's identity may be compromised by the information that she is engaged to be married, thousands of unengaged couples are demanding the right to announce to everyone what it is they privately mean to each other.
Marriage is a legal matter, legitimately of interest to society; other forms of romance are not. The ties of engagement or marriage are made known, but categories such as "lover" or "boy(girl)friend" are not.
In business situations, a lady's marital status is irrelevant, but there is no social situation in which mentioning the engagement interferes with her "identity." Similarly, your brother would be introduced as her fiance', and later her husband.
Q: My daughter, Kara, is now attending preschool three times a week, and I have gone back to my old job, which I left when I became pregnant with her. She loves school and is up early on school days, racing around excitedly and eager to be off. I count that as a big plus, because the first week, she cried and clung to me, and I had to stay with her until she got so interested in what the other children were playing that she forgot me.
It's the two days a week she doesn't go that are driving us both crazy. (Next year, she can go five days a week, but although she's more than ready for it now, they don't allow them to at her age.) She comes into my room while I'm getting dressed and cries and begs me not to go. Before she started school, we used to do lots of fun things together like bake and act things out with dolls, and she wants me to stay home and play with her. I tried to find a play group where she would have other children, but couldn't, and my cleaning lady, who is a lovely person but has too much to do to do much playing, keeps an eye on her.
Needless to say, I feel terribly guilty about this. My husband points out that we don't really need the money from my working this year, but we will as soon as Kara starts kindergarten, for tuition and lessons and all the extras we both want her to have. I feel lucky that I was able to get my job back and am afraid to leave again.
Is there a tactful way to show Kara that I would love to stay with her but can't stand these scenes in the morning? By the time I get to work, I just want to go into the ladies' room and cry.
A: How about saying, "Suppose I cried and carried on and said you didn't love me and pleaded with you to stay home when you want to go off to school"? Better yet, just do it, if you can manage to pull it off in an amusing fashion, some morning when she is eager to be off. A good dose of "See how Mama feels?" never hurt any child.