Dear Miss Manners:

I could not believe the following story, related to me by my daughter, about a wedding in which she and her husband were in the wedding party:

Before the big day, as early gifts started to arrive, the bride-to-be complained to her uninvited co-workers how cheap the presents were. This went on and on until the workers offered to buy her something that was expensive enough for her taste.

Because the out-of-town shower took place on my son-in-law's birthday, he and my daughter did not attend. The bride was furious and told everyone that they owed her an apology. My daughter smoothed over the squabble, but the bride wasn't satisfied and wanted to know what they intended to give as a wedding gift. They said they would wait and see what was left on the "Want List."

After the ceremony, as luck would have it, no one had given a top-of-the-line, $230 mixer. My daughter told the bride this was a little more than they had budgeted since they'd had to travel out of state for the wedding. The bride responded that since my granddaughter and her fiance, also in the wedding party, had also been lax in presenting a gift, maybe all four could pool their money and get the mixer.

She also reminded them that the reception had cost $60 per head, and she'd been cheated!

By now the groom had started in on my son-in-law. How crass can a couple be?

My daughter told them that she would buy them an appropriate gift, but that the friendship was over and she regretted she had introduced the couple.

The bride wouldn't leave the matter alone, and called my granddaughter again to state that she had not received a gift yet.

If there is any more stupidity regarding gifts and paybacks, I'd like to hear it. Did my daughter go overboard in severing the relationship? Her husband wants to stay in touch with the groom, who he believed got caught up in the moment.

P.S. The bride and groom's honeymoon was ruined when they set down their luggage and it was stolen before they even left town.

So there. But Miss Manners wouldn't have called them stupid until they left their luggage unattended.

Crass, yes. Vulgar, yes. But not stupid.

Stupid is when people make outrageous demands in the name of friendship by means that betray that they have no feeling for their supposed friends--and those people give in to them and give them what they want.

Dear Miss Manners:

As the captain of a dinner party, how do I avoid ramming an iceberg when one of my guests suddenly startles everyone by stating racist opinions? Naturally, I would prefer as few casualties as possible. (Well, maybe one.)

Miss Manners is afraid that it is the obligation of such a captain to provide life preservers for all, regardless of whether he thinks them worthy to survive.

In this case, the life preserver to be tossed is: "I don't think you realize how that sounds. I can't imagine that you really believe that, but in any case, let's talk about something else."

If the offending guest does not grab this and paddle madly back to safety, you may firmly move the ship in another direction.

Feeling incorrect? Address your etiquette questions (in black or blue-black ink on white writing paper) to Miss Manners, in care of this newspaper.