Q: My boyfriend received a wedding invitation from a friend for "Bob & Guest." We have been dating for two years and living together for the past year.
I am upset because "she" did not put my name on the invitation. Bob says "she" is probably too busy getting ready for the wedding to worry about that. Bob says "she" is a very good friend he has known since high school. Bob's been to dinner parties the past couple of months (I couldn't attend because of work) and "she's" been there when I've picked him up. Should I be upset because of the invitation, or is the way she addressed it proper?
A: Miss Manners doesn't blame you for being miffed. Being addressed as "& Guest" is almost as insulting as having quotation marks snapped around all of one's pronouns.
In each case, it is clear that there is some distaste about identifying the person who is being designated. (Sometimes the rudeness of designating someone as "and guest," rather than taking the trouble to find out her name, is done in the name of busyness, but that does not make such indifference less callous.)
Is it possible that you could bring yourself to attempt to lessen the hostilities in the interests of harmony with your beau's old friend? Try writing her a letter saying: "Do you mind if Bob brings me as the 'and guest' to your wedding? I know how much he values your friendship, and I've always wanted to get to know you. In any case, I wish you happiness on your marriage."
Q: My wife says that the man should order all food for his party in a restaurant. That sounds very awkward to me. Can you explain?
A: It is awkward now, because both patrons and restaurant staff have forgotten how to do it. Most waiters seem to worry that a gentleman who says "Madam will have the pheasant" may be unauthorized to represent her, and that there will be a terrible fuss and perhaps a lawsuit unless she confirms the order.
This has discouraged gentlemen from performing what was once considered a polite ritual of assuming the role of host.
Miss Manners prefers that one person collect and give the orders, rather than having a cross fire of changed orders announced as people change their minds ("No, no, that sounds good -- give me that instead"). But she does not carry this preference to the point of making a greater fuss by insisting on it with a waiter who uses the round-the-clock method.