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Let Him Believe His Own Account

Judith Martin United Features Sy

Dear Miss Manners: Should I consider it rude for my husband to finish my sentences for me?

If I am relating an incident that happened to me during the day, he will invariably interrupt by assuming how I will finish my story. Sometimes he will be correct, other times not.

I will resume my story by saying yes or no, and attempt to continue to tell the rest of the incident and he will persist and make another guess as to how my story will continue.

This is so irritating to me. I have told him, please let me finish. He is offended by my saying this and I say I’m sorry - but it’s rude for you to interrupt me.

He says it’s not, it’s just that he’s smart enough to know what I’m going to say.

Is it rude or just my own insecurity?

Gentle Reader: How can you be insecure when you have an omniscient husband?

Never mind. Of course, it’s rude. An occasional guess about what’s coming next can be excused as enthusiastic prompting, but the habit of taking over your stories is maddeningly insulting, and his excuse is even more so.

It’s also rude to keep driving your wife crazy after she politely asks you to cut it out. You did ask him politely, didn’t you?

All right then, we will politely drive him crazy.

From now on, when he starts telling the story, you stop. Don’t protest, but especially do not confirm or deny his version. Just let him tell it.

When he is finished, he will pause proudly, expecting you to admit that he guessed correctly. When you continue to say nothing, he will conclude that you have no argument to make, and will prompt you to say he is right.

Don’t. Just smile mysteriously and say, “If you say so, dear.” And never tell him whether or not his version was the way it really happened.

Miss Manners promises you this will drive him crazy. She doesn’t claim that it is desirable to have a crazy husband, but she does promise that it will be a relief from having one who knows it all.

Dear Miss Manners: My future daughter-in-law is very upset because for her early afternoon wedding to my son in our family church, her stepmother has chosen formal evening attire. Actually it is a white, fitted wedding dress.

The bride has politely requested that her stepmother choose another color dress and also told her father that this is her day and she would rather her stepmother not wear white. Her stepmother says she doesn’t see why she can’t wear white because “it’s a wedding.” Her father doesn’t want to hurt either one’s feelings so he said he’s staying out of it.

How should she firmly but politely persuade her stepmother not to wear white?

Gentle Reader: Miss Manners was about to crank out her usual routine to brides - yes, dear, other ladies are not supposed to wear white (or black or red), and they’re certainly not supposed to wear evening clothes during the day, but don’t let this “it’s my day” business fool you into thinking you can boss other people around - when she came to a screeching halt.

The bride’s stepmother wants to go to the wedding dressed in bridal regalia? She can’t tell the difference between “a wedding” and her wedding?


There’s more than a clothing problem here. There’s even more than an etiquette problem here, and Miss Manners doesn’t say that lightly. No wonder the father is hoping to stay out of it.

The only hope of solving the bride’s relatively trivial problem is to substitute a sympathetic approach. She shouldn’t make the request on her own behalf, but “because I’m afraid people will take it the wrong way and make fun of you” - which, Miss Manners assures you, is only too likely.

The following fields overflowed: CREDIT = Judith Martin United Features Syndicate

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