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Miss Manners: Son is gift enough for future in-laws

Judith Martin Universal Uclick

DEAR MISS MANNERS: We are meeting our newly engaged son’s future in-laws for dinner at a restaurant soon. Is it appropriate to present them with a token gift?

GENTLE READER: You are already giving their daughter your son. Miss Manners would think that anything more would suggest undue gratitude and relief.

DEAR MISS MANNERS: When my brother, whom I had not seen in two years, came home for his 40th class reunion, the entire family wanted to get together with him, as he was here for only a long weekend.

I planned a barbecue dinner for all of us for the night before his reunion and placed an order with a famous restaurant. We were to eat at 6:30 p.m. At 2:20 p.m. that same day, he sent a group text saying, “At (another famous barbecue place); order (from a pizza place) for dinner.”

I was furious that four hours prior to our planned barbecue dinner, he would go eat the very thing we were serving. My sister was also with him during the outing, so two out of the six people in attendance for our 6:30 dinner had just consumed the same meal less than four hours earlier.

They were totally kidding about the pizza part, and my brother says he’ll eat barbecue to his heart’s content whenever he gets the chance. But my sister and I really got into it over this, and she disagrees with me completely. I asked her if, for example, she’d invited me over for her famous pork chops, would she not be irritated when I texted at 2:20 p.m. that day that I was at a local restaurant eating their famous pork chops? She claims she wouldn’t care at all, but I don’t believe her for a second. Who is right here?

GENTLE READER: Right about what? Whether your sister would care if you ate the same meal twice in one day?

Miss Manners couldn’t say. If both your sister and brother insist that they would enjoy the redundancy, then you must take them at their word. But then you might try out the pork chop plan to see if they mean it.

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