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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Miss Manners: Fending off comments about second baby shower

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

DEAR MISS MANNERS: My husband and I have a 2-year-old son and are currently expecting another baby. My husband’s younger brother and his wife are also expecting their second child, due a week before ours.

We are very blessed to have friends and family who were ecstatic over the birth of our first. My dear friends threw me a lovely baby shower. We have everything we need for the new baby and I’m grateful to have friends who wouldn’t dream of throwing a second shower. I’d be mortified if they did.

My sister-in-law’s family is unfortunately the very type to throw a second baby shower. At her first shower, they charged $5 at the door for “lottery tickets,” with the money ostensibly going to the parents-to-be to cover certain costs associated with the baby. This was in addition to the shower gift I’d brought AND being asked to bring a pack of diapers to help the parents.

Her family is also highly competitive, and is sure to make very pointed remarks when they ask me about my own impending baby shower and I answer that there won’t be another.

How should I handle those remarks? I don’t want their false pity, nor do I wish to hear disparaging remarks against my friends and family for not throwing another shower. Clearly it’s not polite to point out that she shouldn’t be having a second shower, but what is a polite, firm way to deflect?

GENTLE READER: “We are very excited to attend Margo and Larry’s shower. Do you think they’ll have another boy?”

DEAR MISS MANNERS: I was at a bar for a work-related dinner meeting and ordered soup. I peppered said soup before tasting it and was castigated by one of my dinner companions.

Is the etiquette in a bar the same as what should be practiced in a more formal setting?

GENTLE READER: The peppering of one’s food is not subject to degrees of formality. Nor should they be your dinner companion’s concern – unless that person also happens to be the chef.

DEAR MISS MANNERS: An elderly parent died a couple of years ago. Now another elderly relative has passed. My husband and I received condolences on both occasions. We were very moved by the numerous cards and handwritten notes we received.

I was astonished that we both received condolences by email as well, and found myself greatly offended at that. I don’t expect flowers or memorial donations to charity or food, just a simple card or a handwritten note. But I would rather not hear from someone at all than receive an email condolence. It seems as though the elderly person was not worth any more effort than a mere mouse click.

Am I wrong and petty? Or has custom changed to where an electronic condolence is acceptable?

GENTLE READER: It has not. But Miss Manners has admittedly weakened her stance, since any correspondence at all is often rare. She does not condone the emails, but as you received so many letters from people who addressed them properly, she suggests you not let it ruin the relationship with the senders who did not.

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

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