Miss Manners: My wife accepted two invitations to the Super Bowl

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Dear Miss Manners: My wife and I were invited to two Super Bowl parties on the same night. She accepted both.

I think we should have politely declined the second invitation, saying, “Sorry, but we have a prior engagement.” Beyond the fact that we’re going to be running from one end of town to the other, I think it’s rude to go to a party for an hour and then leave. But my wife disagrees.

When are you going to leave the first party – during the game, so the host has to get up and see you? Before the game, so it looks like something is wrong? After the game, so you miss socializing?

Oh, at halftime. Which will interrupt people watching this.

Miss Manners reminds your wife of what many people seem to have forgotten: that invitations must be accepted or declined quickly, and that it is forbidden to negotiate the terms.

Dear Miss Manners: I have had serious back problems over the years, including multiple surgeries, and had a hip replaced several months ago.

Since then, despite rigorous physical therapy and home exercises, I have been forced to use a cane. It helps me walk without limping significantly and also helps me stay upright when I’m standing, since I’m not as stable on my feet as I (and my doctors) would like. I stay in pretty severe pain if I have to stand for more than a few minutes.

My problem isn’t the cane – or the pain, for that matter – but the fact that, again and again, people ask me why I use a cane. While I’m tired of health questions in general, what really bothers me is when I answer that I had hip replacement surgery, they often ask me how long ago. When I reluctantly tell them “six months ago,” I inevitably get the response, “Well, you shouldn’t need a cane anymore!” followed by a description of their own experience with hip replacement (“I walked without a cane in two weeks! You need to do physical therapy!”) or a similar experience of their friend or family member.

This is often followed by other fun, probing questions such as, “Who did your surgery? Was it their first time? or comments like “You don’t have to work hard enough to recover!” At this point, I’m out of grace. I’m beyond the fatigue of rude, thoughtless curiosity, not to mention the advice I neither need nor want.

How to divert all this? I tried “I really don’t like discussing my health issues”, but it never worked. Pleading “Can we please talk about something else?” just seems to confirm their false opinions that I’m too lazy to try PT or that my surgeon was a quack.

“It’s convenient for when I have to defend myself.

Then, if they go on about what you should do, Miss Manners hopes you’ll smile when you ask, “Oh my God, do I have to defend myself?”

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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