DEAR MISS MANNERS: My son’s ex-wife is pregnant with my grandchild. Their separation has been tense, especially with her family blaming my son for the breakup.
I have been invited to her baby shower, where her mother and family will be. I really don’t feel comfortable attending, knowing how the family has treated my son, but the baby’s mother really wants me there.
Should I go and, if not, how do I get out of it without hurting the baby’s mother’s feelings? If I do go, how do I handle the cool reception her family will give me?
GENTLE READER: That the person who will be rearing your grandchild still considers you family is something you want to encourage. Having recommended a cool reception for those who, unlike yourself, have done something wrong, Miss Manners can assure you that, though unpleasant, it is not fatal. And it is nothing compared to being dependent on a judge’s order to see your grandchild.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: A friend returned a wedding RSVP with the “s’’ on “accepts” crossed out. My feeling is that he was very rude. You should not make what you think is a grammar check on a wedding RSVP. Am I correct?
GENTLE READER: This just shows how silly things can get when hosts attempt to supply the responses to their own invitations. (Miss Manners hates response cards, believing that decent people will provide their own answers, and delinquents will still not respond.)
If you were inviting people singly, “accepts” would be correct; if your friend was responding as a couple, it should be “accept.” Miss Manners’s guess is that it is the opposite, and that therefore you were both wrong.
If not, then your friend was not correcting you; he was simply making his own reply correct, which would be the proper thing to do.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: I am a businessman who frequently flies both domestically and internationally. I also happen to be an insulin-dependent diabetic.
I currently do my glucose testing in my seat. It does involve using a lancet device to get a drop of blood to test, but is fairly unobtrusive. Of course, all lancets, alcohol preps and test strips are stored in my test kit for proper disposal later.
Am I being rude to perform this test next to a stranger? Injections I perform privately in the plane’s lavatory. In the airport, I use the counter by the wash basin, since most water closets have no room for insulin vials and other supplies.
Many people seem to stare and resent the fact of performing such a function in this space. I have also had children ask, “What is that man doing? Isn’t that a bad thing?” (They’re obviously thinking of their drug education classes.) Am I too self-conscious?
GENTLE READER: Absent an emergency, medical applications (like bodily functions and grooming) are properly done out of sight — meaning in private or in a restroom — unless they can be done so surreptitiously as to be unrecognizable as such. Miss Manners does not object to a pill taken at dinner, so long as it is not accompanied by a dissertation on your cholesterol.
The technology associated with diabetes is fast approaching this standard, although Miss Manners draws the line at drawing blood. Restrooms exist to provide a proper location for such necessary activities when away from home, and those who use them have no business monitoring the respectable, if sometimes unaesthetic, activities of others.
You may chose to tell children that it is a medical procedure, or ignore them and let their parents do that. Miss Manners would hope that any parents present would also resolve to teach their children to be more discreet with their curiosity.