DEAR MISS MANNERS: Is it acceptable for a girl to decline an invitation to a dance, only to later accept another invitation to the same dance? This is for a high school dance or prom.
GENTLE READER: If you are the parent of a young gentleman to whom this has been done, Miss Manners can confirm that the young lady is indeed rude, and that however crushed your son is, he is better off. She would be capable of committing another rudeness, such as breaking the date later.
That’s Judith Martin, aka Miss Manners, suggesting that a young woman’s preferences, her agency and her knowledge about a boy don’t matter, if he asks her to prom, she has to say yes
or she’s rude and unacceptable. She went on to say that the important
issue here is that the boy never have his feelings hurt, and concluded with the straight up lie that the unpopular boys from high school magically turn into the most desirable adult men, implying, apparently, that girls should get in on the ground floor by accepting their invitations to prom. (And that the only reason why a girl might say no to a boy is because he’s insufficiently popular…)
An “advice” column is easy pickings for a blog like this, because so often the advice is silly, but this was actually jaw droppingly bad. The idea that girls and women are obligated to do whatever men demand of them and must ignore their own feelings and interests in order to fulfill the desires of men is an idea well past its sell-by date. Though Judith Martin may not realize it, no one is obligated to do something, especially not something as involved (and costly) as attending a prom just to spare someone else’s feelings. This is a horrible message to give to young women (and their parents) and could have potentially devastating results. Judith Martin should be ashamed.
And while she may feel it’s the absolute dernier cri
of lacking etiquette, I must say: Miss Manners, STFU.