Miss Manners: Addressing a married lesbian couple with the same last name

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Dear Miss Manners: How do I send a formal invitation to a married lesbian couple with the same last name? For example: Lisa Jones and Maggie Jones. Do you write Mrs and Mrs Jones? Or Mrs. (plural of Mrs.) Jones? Or Mrs. Lisa Jones and Mrs. Maggie Jones?

Having lost the grammatical battle of ‘they/them’ – she is entirely in favor of a non-binary pronoun, if not the sometimes confusing plural – Miss Manners is determined to get ahead of the new honorifics.

She’ll save you the history lessons about how Mrs. was short for Mistress – which eventually took on nefarious undertones, as so many female nicknames do – and how Mrs. was historically correct centuries ago. , not just a 20th century feminist invention.

Oh, look at this: she didn’t spare you the lesson after all.

She therefore humbly suggests: “the Mrs. Jones”.

Lest you retort that Mrs. is not for married women, it is. It just doesn’t define a woman as being married or not. That should assuage all those other legitimate patriarchal objections.

With that particular last name, you could also just say “the Joneses,” but she’s begging you to resist “the Mrs. Joneses,” as amusing as that might be to say.

Dear Miss Manners: My partner and I have different techniques for adding ketchup to fries. My spouse pours a quantity of ketchup on an empty area near the fries, then dunks them. I pour the ketchup directly on the fries. Does the label have a preference?

No, it does don’t really care. Once the fingers get into the food arrangement, the label becomes less finicky. Unless, warns Miss Manners, you’re sharing the fries – in which case, she recommends the method that doesn’t get you into the beatings.

Dear Miss Manners: I was brought up to offer food and/or drink to people who come to my house. I’m engaged to a guy whose parents don’t do that, and I’m trying to deal with my feelings about it.

I went to their place for a planned visit, without my fiancé, when the parents were planning to take me out to lunch. I brought them homemade cookies.

Nothing was offered to me during the hour before we left for lunch. On our return, having had no coffee or dessert at the restaurant, we spent about 45 minutes at their place before my departure. Again, nothing was offered – not even the cookies I had brought. They paid for lunch.

Is it unreasonable for me to expect them to offer me a drink? Maybe get out the cookies I brought and enjoy while I’m still here? Or was it not appropriate because they took me to lunch? In my family, that would be considered very rude.

Certainly, a drink or a light refreshment may be offered when visiting another’s home. But in your example, with lunch so close on the horizon, Miss Manners is inclined to excuse your in-laws for the transgression. If this happens for a longer interval without a promised meal, you can rightly consider them thoughtless.

New Miss Manners columns are published Monday to Saturday at washingtonpost.com/board. You can send questions to Miss Manners on her website, missmanners.com. You can also follow her @RealMissManners.

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