Miss Manners: My friend has a large nude painting of herself on display

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Dear Miss Manners: Some of our good friends, a husband and wife, have a painting of women in their living room. The painting is a nude from his much younger days. It’s not erotic, but it’s very broad and very explicit and detailed. She looks at the viewer with a direct challenge.

During our visits, we are always taken to this room. I asked to go to another room or to the garden, but my hostess said she likes to entertain in this room because of the sea view it has.

There doesn’t seem to be a polite way to avoid the giant nude, short of not visiting at all. Can you think of a way?

Many social situations force to ignore the obvious; this is called tact. Miss Manners would have thought this was one of the less unpleasant situations, as you can have a good laugh about it in the car on the way home.

Dear Miss Manners: My son is getting married and I wonder how to manage the family photos. I have several nieces and nephews who live with significant other people, and I don’t know if I should include couples in family photos.

Also, I don’t like my dad’s girlfriend of 20 years and I’d rather not have her in the pictures. They don’t live together. What would be appropriate?

That depends on your purpose in photographing the wedding.

If it’s to commemorate an event that brought family and friends together for a happy celebration without simultaneously diminishing that happiness, then Miss Manners advises against making guests feel unwanted. If it’s to remind your dad and his girlfriend that you don’t love him… but even then, there’s sure to be other opportunities to do it.

Dear Miss Manners: I just received an invitation to a surprise party for the 70th birthday of a friend of mine, sent by the honoree’s daughter-in-law. The method she used was to send an invitation by SMS to one of our mutual friends, who then forwarded it as an SMS to several people. We are expected to RSVP individually to the hostess.

I have never received such an impersonal invitation. The hostess didn’t even bother to get all the email addresses to send an Evite. I will not go ; obviously, I’m not evaluating a direct invitation.

I understand that people younger than me live and die by texting, but that seems a bit extreme. Your thoughts?

Business invitations picnics and block parties can be posted on bulletin boards, whether cork or electronic. However, most private parties require an individual invitation, issued by a person authorized to do so.

Travelers can usually differentiate between the two categories based on whether or not the host is asking for a response. Hosts can do this by thinking about how they will feel when their cousin’s girlfriend guest rings the doorbell.

While Miss Manners agrees the daughter-in-law made the wrong choice, she would refuse on the simple grounds that she would not know if she would be welcome.

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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