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Miss Manners: Dictatorial host takes fun out of girls’ weekend

By Judith Martin, Nicholas Ivor Martin and Jacobina Martin Andrews McMeel Syndication

DEAR MISS MANNERS: My Uncle Horace owns a cabin that my father’s entire family has been using for years. I myself have been going since I was a baby. Anyone in the family is free to use it. We often had girls’ weekends there, and on other holiday weekends, the whole family would go up. We always had a good time and relaxed.

However, my Aunt Belle (his sister) bought a cabin a five-minute walk down the road, and she insists that we have girls’ weekends at her cabin every year from now on.

She is cheap, bossy and nobody feels comfortable or has much fun while we are there. She assigns who is going to sleep where, what everyone should bring, what we should be doing and when we should be doing it. I got yelled at for accidentally taking an extra paper plate last year! Then she hid and kept all the snacks and bottled water I brought for everyone.

I have gone twice and regretted it both times! It is not relaxing. Most people complain about her the entire time we are there.

This past year, I couldn’t go because I couldn’t afford it, and everyone complained and yelled at me. They say I need to go so everyone can have fun. They call me a party pooper, and always dismiss whatever reason I can’t go. My Aunt Belle will even move the weekend just so I can come.

We have another girls’ weekend coming up, and I don’t know what to do. If it is at my Uncle Horace’s cabin, I would love to go! I know we will have fun and that there will be room for everyone.

If it is at my Aunt Belle’s cabin, I definitely don’t want to go. When I bring up having it at Uncle Horace’s, my Aunt Belle complains she already has “everything” at her cabin, and she would rather have it there so she doesn’t have to pack a bag. Everyone else agrees with me, but will tell Aunt Belle they “don’t care” because they say it’s not worth a fight.

GENTLE READER: Is it not possible to do both? As the cabins are only five minutes apart, could you have half of the people at your uncle’s house and half at your aunt’s? You could do this under the guise of not wanting to burden her with the full guest list. Or perhaps eliminating the gender divide could render this necessary: “Oh, let’s have boys and girls this time. I think I will stay with Uncle Horace so that I can help out with the hosting duties over there.” With any luck, Miss Manners hopes that the chaos will confuse Aunt Belle into silence – and even if it does ultimately end up being only the girls, your plans will have already been set.

DEAR MISS MANNERS: When sitting at a table, from which side of the chair do you enter and exit?

GENTLE READER: The one that does not have someone else’s knees firmly perched up against it.

Please send your questions to Miss Manners at her website, www.missmanners.com; to her email, dearmissmanners@gmail.com; or through postal mail to Miss Manners, Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.

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