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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Miss Manners: Birthday party meets charity fundraiser

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

DEAR MISS MANNERS: I received an invitation to a friend’s milestone birthday celebration, where the birthday part is incidental to its being a charitable event consisting of a mock version of a popular game show. Guests are expected to pay to attend the event. The celebration will consist of serving an appropriately themed cake at the end of the event.

I am on a budget, and have specific charities to which I donate. I find this invitation distasteful, as it appears to be a minor form of extortion. Of course, I will gracefully decline and wish the celebrant well. Would you consider this invitation acceptable and/or in good taste?

GENTLE READER: What is an appropriately themed cake for such an event? A chocolate-frosted piggy bank?

You would not find Miss Manners at an adult birthday party playing games for money, no matter how worthy the charity. And she would not expect anyone else to do this, either.

Until celebrants understand that asking people to contribute funds to a charity so that they, themselves, can get the tax write-off is rude, graciously declining to do so is all that one can politely do.

DEAR MISS MANNERS: I don’t mind my in-laws sending group texts when planning holidays or meeting for supper, but they take it a step too far. Twice in the last few months, they have group-texted myself, my husband, my brother-in-law and his wife about the death of family members.

While this to me is disturbing by itself, the kicker is that my husband’s phone is older and doesn’t receive group texts, so it falls on me to relay the message. I have told his parents he is not receiving their messages, but they don’t seem to care. I am ready to take texting off of my phone.

Is this the new norm? Am I out of place for thinking they could relay the message to their two sons by phone?

GENTLE READER: Miss Manners recommends you tell them so in person or over the phone. “You know, Austin doesn’t get your texts, and I don’t feel comfortable relaying sensitive family information secondhand. I wonder if you could call us when something like Nana Mary’s health is in jeopardy. The angel emoji followed by the ‘zzzz’ sign was particularly confusing.”

DEAR MISS MANNERS: I am a lady who is taller than her husband, a fact that seldom escapes the notice and comments of others, even strangers. To complicate matters, I love wearing high heels and my husband encourages me to do so, making our height difference even more pronounced.

Is there is a rule that states that women should endeavor not to be taller than their husbands? I don’t feel like giving up my heels, and my husband is not about to wear lifts. Besides, if the shoe were on the other foot, so to speak, no one would pay the slightest attention to his being taller than me. What does Miss Manners have to say?

GENTLE READER: That people should update their cliches and narratives.

Please send your questions to Miss Manners at her website,

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