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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Staring OK, but only if undetected

Judith Martin and Jacobina Martin Universal Uclick

DEAR MISS MANNERS: My husband and I dine out about once a week. He is fond of “people-watching” and likes to look at other diners while we are eating. I think, however, he tends to stare at people. He says one cannot have an expectation of privacy in a public restaurant. I think it’s rude to stare.

Can Miss Manners please explain the difference between staring and people-watching?

GENTLE READER: Staring is when you get caught.

DEAR MISS MANNERS: My 3-year-old daughter was asked to be a flower girl for the wedding of her father’s cousin. Her father and I are no longer together.

While I understand my not being invited to the reception, I feel like I should have been invited to the ceremony to see my daughter as a flower girl (this is her first, and maybe only, time). I know the couple personally, although we are not friends. Space would not be an issue, as the venue is quite large.

Am I being unrealistic with this feeling, or is the couple in the wrong?

GENTLE READER: While it is understandable that you would want to see your daughter in the “role” of flower girl, this is not a pageant, but a family event – a family of which you are no longer a part.

Miss Manners understands people confuse weddings with entertainment nowadays, what with wedding parties being chosen for their looks and guests all but charged admission under the guise of “honeymoon funds.” Nevertheless, weddings are not intended to be theatrical events, and stage mothers are not required.

So please send your daughter off cheerfully to enjoy herself at the wedding. There will be plenty of her relatives there to look after her. And there will doubtless be pictures, and perhaps videos, that you will be able to see later.

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