Dear Miss Manners: I was engaged, but it didn't work out. Now he wants back every ring he gave me: a promise ring, an engagement ring (1 carat) and a double birthstone ring (his birthstone and mine) that he bought me for Christmas.
Later he bought me a laptop, even though I told him I could wait because it was too expensive. He said, "Don't worry." Same for when he bought me a phone. When I said I could do with the less expensive one, he said, "Don't worry about it."
Months later, I wanted a vehicle toward which I had $800 saved. The one I wanted had a $2K down payment. When I told him I couldn't afford it, he said, "Do you want it?" I said "yes," so he paid the down payment.
Now that we've separated, he wants it all back, or for me to pay him back.
If someone in good faith gives a gift with no expectations, should the one that received the gifts give them back or pay for them?
Your ex-fiance is being harsh in demanding the repatriation of all presents, but this does not, Miss Manners fears, end the matter. They were not given with “no expectations”: He expected you to marry him, though not, let us hope, as a direct result of his largesse. That is why an obviously explicit present — an engagement ring (of whatever carat) — should always be returned.
Precisely to avoid this situation, ladies, even affianced ones, do well to avoid taking too much loot before the wedding. Otherwise, their own motives in accepting presents may be questioned, a situation that a reasonable lady would find embarrassing.
Returning everything may be the only way to clear your reputation, if doing so is a concern.
Dear Miss Manners: When I dine at a restaurant that doesn't provide a separate butter knife, I don't know what to do after I use my dinner knife to cut my meat, and then want to butter a roll. The knife has pieces of meat or sauce on it, which I don't want on my roll.
While even restaurants that claim to know better may not be up to the requirements of polite dining, even basic establishments are anesthetized to customers dropping silverware on the floor. Miss Manners is not suggesting that you do so, merely that a request for another knife will not raise any eyebrows (although it may cause your waiter to surreptitiously glance in the direction of your feet). Although the resulting utensil is unlikely to be butter-specific, it should serve your purpose.
Dear Miss Manners: What is the difference between dinner and supper?
Historically, dinner was the largest meal, served at midday. A lighter meal, supper, followed, at what we now call dinnertime. As the midday meal declined in importance, the term “dinner” began to be applied at, or after, dark.
Today, the only distinction that remains is in the calorie count: Miss Manners takes a light lunch when she is going out to dinner, but yearns for a late-night snack when it turns out to be merely a supper.