Miss Manners Disapproves

Dec invite with no address

I cleaned my oven today.

For the second time since moving into our house nearly four years ago.

You’re probably thinking, “Ewwwww, Tara.  That’s super disgusting.”.

And you’d be wrong.  Because it was barely even dirty.

(I rarely cook, you see.)

Despite it’s lack of use, I cleaned it in a fit of productivity today while the kids were at Drew’s.  I also have a sparkling refrigerator and an organized pantry.

I know you’re jealous.

Anyway, if this impresses you, then you need to sit down, because look at what else I unearthed from my cleaning:

It’s Miss Manners’ Guide to Rearing Perfect Children, by Judith Martin.

I rescued this book from a decrepit row house in Baltimore that housed The Book Thing, a bookstore in that “puts unwanted books into the hands of people who want them”.  This gem was completely free. I acquired it prior to us even getting married.

It’s like I totally knew I’d need it one day.

Now, look at the subtitle: 

And look at the year it was published:

I was 8 years old.  Wait, no, I wasn’t.  I’m 29.  So I was, like, two years old.

According to this book, folks liked to wear clothes like this in 1984:

Which is totally weird, because I thought folks liked to wear clothes like THIS in 1984:


But I guess I couldn’t possibly know, because I was only two.  Sorry.

Anyway, upon flipping through the book, I was overcome with all of the parenting rules that I’ve broken over the years.  Here’s an example:

Dear Miss Manners,

The birth of my first child is expected any day, and I’ve just realized that I have a problem with birth announcements.

I was given three surprise showers, and just about everyone I know was at one of them.  I want to send birth announcements to all these people, but I don’t want them to send another gift.  I think writing “no gifts please” is tacky, and my husband thinks thanking them for the shower gift sounds like we’re asking for another one.

Gentle Reader,

“No gifts, please” is a phrase of which Miss Manners disapproves under any circumstances, but in your case it would be worse than usual, as people would start to wonder if it applied retroactively and they had been had.  Send these people announcements in which you mention the present or future use of their presents—as in “Daniela looks just adorable in the diaper you gave her.”

Okay, now look at this invitation I sent for Dylan’s first birthday:


Oh, Miss Manners, where were you when I really needed you?  I wonder how horrified she’d be if I told her I wrote, “Gifts please” on my wedding invitation.

P.S.  I’m not going to be able to resist sharing more of this book with you.  So be warned.

P.P.S.  Oh!  If you have any etiquette questions, post them in a comment and I’ll look them up for you.  You know, just so you can get some feedback about whether or not you’re a good parent.  As noted above, I am not.  My friend Michelle wants to know how you politely tell people to stop touching your baby with their germ infested hands.  I’m sure that’s in there.