DEAR MISS MANNERS: I have a dear friend who is married but still uses her middle name rather than her maiden name – i.e., Eloise Adele Trumball, rather than Eloise Deaver Trumball. She swears she has never heard of this convention and that I must be making it up; her mother also doesn’t follow the practice.
I realize I have to let this go; I can’t force her to follow conventions she doesn’t believe in. I would like to know where the practice comes from, however.
GENTLE READER: Your friend might better ask the origin of using the birth name as a middle name, as her name and her mother’s followed the older convention.
The custom was for a lady to change her name upon marriage, not to add on to it. Miss Manners understands the wish of ladies to hold on to their original names as prompting their use as middle names, and often now not changing names at all. Yet the old-fashioned way also deserves respect, and no one should be subject to outside pressure on the choice.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: Does the man need to lead the woman to the table when dining out?
GENTLE READER: And make her drink? Whoops, no, that was horses. Miss Manners apologizes.
A lady is properly led to a restaurant table by the gentleman accompanying her, unless a restaurant host does so, in which case the gentleman goes last.