The Washington Post

Miss Manners: Announcement of baby’s gender is not an occasion for party

DEAR MISS MANNERS: I am pregnant and would like to throw a gender-reveal party, but I worry that this party might be construed as a rude attempt for gifts. I don’t want any gifts; this isn’t a baby shower, nor am I expecting one.

I just want to share the joy with family and friends, provide food and games. But would the whole idea still be considered tacky?


Believing that you simply want to share the news, Miss Manners hates to be a wet blanket (in a gender-neutral color, of course). But she feels compelled to tell you something that will save you time and friendships in the future that is about to become yours:

Not everyone is as excited as you are about every detail of your child’s life, let alone the pre-life. It is best to know this now, before you start going on social media announcing baby’s first spit-up or throwing parties for when he or she sleeps through the night.

The particular new ritual you mention — and there really isn’t a correct term for this made-up event — is farcical. Cakes are cut to reveal pink or blue insides, bets are taken and teams are formed.

An acquaintance of Miss Manners’s who attended such an event said that the mother-to-be was so distraught when she didn’t get the gender she wanted that she started blaming the guests for jinxing it. It is no wonder that guests assume that a present is required as the price of admission to these absurd theatrics.

The fact is that you will actually get more profound and prolonged joy if you reveal (or “identify”) the gender (or “sex”) one by one to individuals who you think might genuinely be excited by the news. Gathering around waiting to hear and celebrate the announcement of one of only two possible choices is not a party-worthy event — and it is simply not dignified. There will be plenty of parties in your future filled with games and silly cakes. Save the fun for then.

DEAR MISS MANNERS: I have a dear friend who is marrying for the third time and is going to do a bridal registry. Her future husband is 81 (she is 73) and very, very wealthy.

They will have two homes — a condo on the beach and the primary residence. She says that they need new pots and pans for the condo, as she thinks his are too old.

She has never been wealthy but has lived well. Also, any friends she invites will not be permitted to bring a spouse, fiance, etc. They are having a brunch.

This attitude doesn’t feel appropriate. Please let me know if I am seeing it wrong.

GENTLE READER: Do you really have any trouble seeing through it?

If so, Miss Manners is sorry to be the one to tell you that your dear friend is more interested in pots than people.

New Miss Manners columns are posted Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays on You can send questions to Miss Manners at her Web site,

2014, by Judith Martin



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