Reader Response, Vol. 17, Issue 36

Etiquetteer is always pleased to hear from readers, and has a couple items to share from the mailbag:

In response to a recent column on Sarah Huckabee Sanders vs. the Red Hen, a Facebook follower commented: "I'm curious how Etiquetteer would have counseled Ms. Huckabee Sanders in light of the widespread social media attention engendered by the restaurant staff posting about the incident. Does Perfect Propriety require one to stay silent in the face of Social Obloquy, or may one offer, as Ms. Huckabee Sanders did, one's own, respectful (in the opinion of this Humble Commenter), take on one's experience?"

And Etiquetteer replies: Dignified Silence is always preferable, but even Etiquetteer understands how difficult that can be to maintain in the face of worldwide Twitter-shaming. Ms. Huckabee Sanders' tweet, for the record, said: "Last night I was told by the owner of Red Hen in Lexington, VA to leave because I work for POTUS and I politely left. Her actions say far more about her than about me. I always do my best to treat people, including those I disagree with, respectfully and will continue to do so." Ms. Huckabee Sanders could have omitted that comment about the behavior of the restaurant owner and focused instead on the good behavior of herself and her party in leaving the restaurant without making a scene. Otherwise, Etiquetteer does have to give Ms. Huckabee Sanders credit for bringing less heat to the discussion of this topic than her boss.

Thank you also for your use of "obloquy." Etiquetteer is fond of quoting the late Mame Dennis Burnside, who memorably said "An extensive vocabulary is the hallmark of every truly intellectual person."

Another reader responded to Etiquetteer's column on how Wimbledon is using honorifics for married ladies competing in its tournament: "Thank you for another very well written article! I remember when I married my husband back in 1989, when I was young, I decided not to take my husband's last name. He had even thoughtfully asked me first what I would prefer to do. Having recently graduated from college, I decided to keep my maiden name. We didn’t really discuss it again for almost ten years when our son was about to be born. How was his name to end? I helped us decide this by giving my maiden name as a second middle name. My husband's last name is the name passed down to our son. This has proven to work for all three of us."

And Etiquetteer replies: Thank you very much for sharing your family's choices. The use of family names as middle names is not unknown - indeed, the New York families of Edith Wharton's The Age of Innocence seem only to have family names! Your solution seems a particularly elegant one, since it doesn't involve you assuming a hyphenated name at marriage and then changing it later once the children are born (as has happened).

While there is greater acceptance today of brides retaining their maiden names after marriage, Etiquetteer hears tell that those who have the most trouble with this practice are the mothers of the groom . . . readers, is this what you've witnessed?