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Miss Manners: Left out at lunch? Do something about it

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

DEAR MISS MANNERS: I work at a small company. Ten folks in my office: seven males and three females. Daily, when lunchtime approaches, the males (including our boss) pop into various offices saying, “Who wants to go to lunch today?” – ALWAYS excluding the female co-workers.

I find this practice extremely sexist and want to scream from the treetops! Their ages are between 28 and 43, not that it should make a difference. Am I being too emotional in being so offended by this practice, or should I speak up?

GENTLE READER: Are you seriously telling Miss Manners that the females are sitting around waiting for the males to invite them out?

Of course you should speak up. Not to berate your colleagues, but to ask them who wants to go to lunch.

DEAR MISS MANNERS: Invitations to my grandson’s wedding were sent out a few weeks ago. The envelope contained two invites and an RSVP card. One invite requested our presence at the wedding reception at 6:30 p.m. The other, in a small, open envelope, said “CEREMONY: please join us at 5 p.m.” Same place, same day. The RSVP card, which I already handed to the bride-to-be last week, asked if we were attending, and how many.

I had assumed that all who received invitations, received “all” the invitations. I just found out the other day that many did not receive the one to the ceremony.

Is this something new? Some guests are invited to the ceremony – same day, same place – and some have to wait around and just attend the reception? When I discovered this just the other day, I learned that my other son was not invited to the ceremony, even though he and my daughter-in-law are paying to fly in to attend the wedding.

GENTLE READER: You are a young grandmother, Miss Manners gathers. And thus you do not remember that, far from being a new custom, this is an old one that has been abandoned for sensible reasons.

Before most weddings were the huge pageants they are today, held in exotic and usually expensive places, it was not considered offensive to hold a small wedding ceremony and invite guests only to the reception. Or even to invite people to the ceremony, but not the reception. The guests lived in town, and were not devoting their entire day, much less vacation time, to the event.

But now so much more is expected of wedding guests in the way of time, money and travel that excluding them from the ceremony, which could involve stranding them in a strange town, seems insulting.

DEAR MISS MANNERS: Please help resolve the following. In an effort to be a “true gentleman,” shouldn’t a man open the door for all ladies in his presence, be it the car door or any other door?

GENTLE READER: Yes, but good luck getting to the car door before the lady hops out. Miss Manners guesses that a scarcity of gentlemen has taught ladies to fend for themselves – or spend the evening in the parking lot.

Please send your questions to Miss Manners at her website,

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