Dear Miss Manners: What do you think of the practice of service people, teachers, instructors, etc. who take care of one's children calling the mother "Mom"?

For example, I take my child to the doctor's office and when the nurse calls my child to the room, she addresses me like this: "Mom, we are going to Room 3, do you have any questions today?"

I find this happens all the time, and I'm guessing that people don't feel like introducing themselves and finding out the mother's name. Personally, I think my children should be the only ones to address me as "Mom," but perhaps I should get over it.

But then again, maybe they wouldn't mind if I addressed them as "Nurse Person" or "Instructor."

I make an effort to know these people who are taking care of my children. Why can't service people return the courtesy by introducing themselves?

The receptionist has your name; it is right there on the forms you filled out as the adult accompanying your child. And if his or her name is on a badge, you can use that.

But there is no absolute need for introductions. You could have been addressed as “ma’am” (presuming you do not object on the grounds that you are not really a grown-up), or even “Oliver’s mother.”

But “Mom” is indeed cheeky. Miss Manners’ dear mother’s response to such impudence was a gentle, “But surely if I were your mother, I would remember you.”

Dear Miss Manners: My husband and I are hosting a party for 40 people at a local restaurant in honor of my birthday. We will serve wine with the meal and champagne with dessert, but our budget precludes offering cocktails. What is the etiquette regarding cash bars? Would it be tacky to include a cash bar?

Yes. You may be sure that guests who are desperate for a drink will find their way to a bar on their own.

Dear Miss Manners: A so-called friend of 30 years sent me an insulting email. When I responded in anger, he sent me an email apology.

That's just not good enough for me. I expected a face-to-face apology. He's quick to remark about others' actions, but when it comes to his own, he thinks he did the right thing.

His wife, who is a very old friend, has tried to defend him. My wife has explained my stance. He's made no attempt to reconcile. They have now invited us to a party as if nothing happened. Should we attend?

Not if you wish to continue what is now a four-way feud and end a 30-year friendship. Or, as you would put it, a so-called friendship.

Otherwise, the invitation should be considered as a peace overture, and either accepted or declined with clear regret.

Not having seen the offensive email, Miss Manners does not know whether it expressed mere peevishness, which should be covered by an apology, or something heinous, which would require serious groveling.

But she does know that if there were a time-delay built into the Send button, her load would be lighter.

New Miss Manners columns are posted Monday through Saturday on You can send questions to Miss Manners at her website,

2018, by Judith Martin