DEAR MISS MANNERS: My daughter and her husband, who live in another state, are expecting their first child. We are so very excited for them, as they have been through extensive fertility treatments.
Plans were made to hold a shower, and invitations were printed. Then the severity of the virus outbreak became clear.
My question is whether we should still send the invites but include a note indicating the shower may or may not be held virtually (we are still trying to figure out logistics). Or do we just not send them at all, and cancel any shower plans? We want to be sensitive to this situation while balancing our excitement for the parents.
GENTLE READER: Then do not send them, and do not send an online version. You have been spared from committing the error of throwing a shower for your own daughter.
But aside from that stiff rule, which is so commonly disobeyed, Miss Manners cannot imagine that you think this is a good time to ask others to shop for your family. Surely you understand that they have their own pressing needs and concerns.
That does not mean that others may not be happy for you, if you tell them the good news. But can’t you just tell them, with a message or a call, without setting them up to do anything in return except to offer their congratulations?
If you have already done that, you will have another opportunity to share your excitement when the baby is born and birth announcements are made. Perhaps by then, people will be able to pay the new baby a visit. Some of them might even be able to pick up some knitted bootees to take along.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: I’m a man who has been very thin all of my life, and I’m curious as to why people will make weight comments to me, although they wouldn’t consider making a weight comment to an overweight person.
When I met an acquaintance I hadn’t seen for some time, before even saying “Hello,” she commented, “Have you lost weight?”
I fought the urge to say, “No; have you gained weight?” and instead just replied “No.” Can you think of a better response?
GENTLE READER: “Why? Have you found some?”
Miss Manners is amazed that you believe that overweight people escape similar persecution. But then, they tend to believe that you do.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: My son is set to graduate from a preeminent university. I purchased announcements and have them all set to mail, but COVID-19 has wreaked havoc on so many people and plans. May I still send them out, even though official commencement ceremonies are postponed? How do I address the date change?
GENTLE READER: Can you peel off the stamps and reuse them?
As these are announcements, not invitations to attend the ceremony, no one will be inconvenienced by the postponement, however disappointing it is to you and your son.
If he is given a new date, you can write that in by hand, and Miss Manners trusts that everyone will immediately realize the reason.
Please send your questions to Miss Manners at her website, www.missmanners.com; to her email, firstname.lastname@example.org; or through postal mail to Miss Manners, Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.