Q: What, if any, is the correct way to let people know one has a birthday coming up and would like to be remembered? I'm not talking about expensive presents, but just a card or warm greeting or small remembrance so the day won't be a total waste.
I must tell you that I'm usually the one to bake the birthday cakes, send the cards, buy the gifts, etc., since my mind is like a file cabinet of calendar dates. I don't expect everyone else to have this phenomenal memory, but why is it that they usually forget my birthday? There must be a polite way to bring it up in conversation without making it sound like a broad hint. I'm not a kid or a teen-ager, just a recycled one living in prime time.
A: Miss Manners appreciates your recognizing that your expectation is both unreasonable and childish. We are presumably not talking about your mother, but about more or less casual friends who neither have your sort of memory nor especially expect you to celebrate their birthdays.
As long as that is understood, and you don't use the occasion to mope and pout and draw tragic conclusions about the failure of your life and the callousness of the world, she is willing to help you.
Oddly enough, the solution is a mild version of this, something along the lines of: "Wow, I can't believe I'm going to be 33 on Wednesday. Really makes you stop and think, doesn't it?"
Q: My daughter had a beautiful wedding and reception, and it broke my heart to find out, a few months later, that she was three months' pregnant at the time of the wedding. I am ashamed and embarrassed about this.
My sister, who gave a bridal shower for my daughter, would like to have a baby shower for her. Under the circumstances, I don't feel right about this. Do you think it is in poor taste?
A: Relatives do not correctly act as hosts of showers, which should be given only by friends of the guest of honor.
If you wish to invoke this rule to assuage your unfortunate feelings, you certainly may, but Miss Manners can't help wishing you wouldn't. She sees nothing to be gained by retroactive shame at a time when the family should be looking ahead to welcoming your grandchild.
Feeling incorrect? Address your etiquette questions (in black or blue-black ink on white writing paper) to Miss Manners, in care of this newspaper.
1988, United Feature Syndicate Inc.