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Miss Manners: Neighbor miffed by invitation to dine on leftovers

Dear Miss Manners: Do you think it is proper to receive a dinner invitation from a neighbor/friend to eat leftovers that they cooked the night before? And, if this is declined, is it right for the neighbor to get a bit of an attitude and say they are feeling “rejected” because of it?

Gentle Reader: Although Miss Manners feels misled by the phrasing here and is not sure which side she is being manipulated to take, she will rule in favor of the subtext of the transaction.

If it was a casual invitation from the neighbor/friend, there was nothing wrong with being upfront about its informality: “I have some wonderful leftovers from last night if you would like to stop by for dinner.” If the invitee rejected this by saying, “Ew, no thanks, I don’t want your sloppy seconds. I deserve a first-run meal!” then Miss Manners could hardly blame the neighbor for being offended.

It is when a formal invitation is issued and leftovers are obviously and conspicuously offered, so as to suggest the company’s lack of importance, that Miss Manners would rule in the would-be guest’s favor – whoever that may be.

Showers in the forecast

Dear Miss Manners: My brother’s bride-to-be seems to be having a ridiculous number of bridal showers thrown for her. Yesterday I received my third invite to a different shower in her honor. I also know more are coming (I believe the count is up to five showers total).

This is in addition to an engagement party and a bachelorette party. All of these have been thrown by members of her family or her friends. One of the bridal invites was for a “Stock the Bar Party,” which asked to bring a bottle of libation, in addition to listing where the bride had registered.

How many bridal showers are too many? Is it now a trend to host a “Stock the Bar Party,” expecting guests to fill the wedding bar? Will it look tacky if I choose to attend only one of the showers? Am I expected to give a gift at each party? While I am not a bridesmaid, I have been asked to be the mistress of ceremonies.

Gentle Reader: How fitting, since this event sounds like quite a circus.

What is trendy or expected in these cases – as Miss Manners relentlessly proclaims – has absolutely nothing to do with what is polite. It has only to do with greed.

It is permissible to have one bridal shower, voluntarily hosted by a friend (not a relative, as that looks like the family is fishing for gifts), preferably with no gift registry at all.

So yes, given that shower pandemonium has already broken loose, it is perfectly reasonable for you to attend only one of these showers and bring one token gift, as that is all that should have been expected in the first place.