What is your take on this? Is it okay to have animated shows or games on in casual restaurants, even if the audio is low?
The rule for a polite dinner out is that the whole electronic device, not just the audio component, should be left at home. But this is a rule for adults with mature children — or with access to affordable child care.
The codicil — which is to be found in the same reality that gave rise to the concept of a casual restaurant — is not to disturb other diners. Proper parents should therefore bring children’s headphones to apply to childish ears, whether the content is animated, live-action or, as Miss Manners would term such dubious entertainment as videos of purchased goods being unpacked, inanimate.
Dear Miss Manners: My husband and I are in our late 60s, and we have both been previously married. When we decided last year to get married, we wanted a no-frills occasion, so we decided to go to one of the Elvis chapels in Las Vegas.
We thought it would be a fun place to have a get-together with family. We called our relatives and close friends, and were surprised that 21 people wanted to come and share the day. We paid for the flights of our four kids. After the wedding, we decided to go out to eat with everyone. We all paid for our own dinners.
Six months later, my older brother came for a visit, and to my surprise, all of a sudden he asked me if my husband was cheap. I was so hurt. He said he thought we should have paid for everyone's dinner that night.
It was over $800. We are comfortable financially, but not overly wealthy, and all who attended were financially secure. This was not a reception, in our mind.
Do you think we should have paid for dinner?
Nursing a grudge is a time-consuming and delicate activity, so it does not surprise Miss Manners when people make a mess of it.
Certainly, your brother has. Perhaps — just perhaps — there was a case to be made that the meal was your wedding reception, although it seems a stretch given the informality displayed. It in no way justifies harboring a grievance over a simple misunderstanding for six months, making an accusation against your husband — and ignoring the larger context of this having been the wedding of his presumably beloved sister.
Miss Manners believes that any misunderstanding was minor and not ill-intentioned, and that it is your brother who is being ungenerous.
2021, by Judith Martin