Dear Ann: It's time to update the etiquette books, Annie. I didn't care for your response to "Angry Groom," who did not want his brother to be his best man. You said he should ask him anyway "for the sake of family harmony."
When I was married several years ago, I let my parents browbeat me into asking my sister to be my matron of honor. She was of no help whatsoever. Before the ceremony, when I was dressing, I asked her to zip up my gown. She left it halfway open and attached only part of my bridal train. I was too nervous to notice, and walked down the aisle with my dress half zipped and my train cascading to one side. What really hurt was that she did it on purpose and thought it was hilarious.
I had a beautiful wedding in spite of my sister, but our relationship was never the same. The best man or maid of honor should be the person who loves you enough to want you to look your best on your wedding day. My sister was not that person, and I am sorry now that I let her do this to me. I say they ought to update the wedding manuals. Hartford, Conn., Bride
Dear Hartford Bride: My advice was not based on what the etiquette books say. Good sense, in my opinion, should take precedence over protocol when "protocol" doesn't feel right. I do believe, however, that family should come first whenever possible. Unfortunately, in your case, it was the wrong way to go.
Dear Ann: I am engaged to a great guy, and we are planning to be married in a few months. The problem is his niece. My fiance's brother is divorced and has custody of his 8-year-old daughter. The girl has never been taught manners. She breaks things, lies, steals and listens to no one. My fiance often brings the child to my home and asks me to baby-sit for her. He also volunteers me to take her on outings. He says she needs a strong female influence in her life and that I could be a great role model.
I realize the girl has problems, but I don't have the experience to deal with her. How can I get my fiance to understand that it's an imposition to take care of this child, and it is not my place to correct her behavioral problems? Baton Rouge, La.
Dear Baton Rouge: I know it's a big sacrifice, but please don't lose this opportunity to help this unfortunate child. You don't need "experience" to deal with her. All you need is a warm heart and some understanding of what she has been through. I urge you to accept the challenge. Your fiance will love you all the more for it. I guarantee it.
Dear Ann: The letter from the lady in Texas containing "DOs and DON'Ts" for dealing with a person with arthritis was excellent. However, I recall something I learned from one of your columns years ago that helped me when I practiced medicine and had several patients who suffered from arthritis.
The column said when someone wants to shake hands with a person with arthritis, the arthritic person should grasp the other person's hand first and do the squeezing. If the other person does the squeezing, he or she could unknowingly cause severe pain to the arthritic hand. I taught this to my patients and called it the "Ann Landers Handshake." Frank B. Norbury, M.D., Jacksonville, Ill.
Dear Dr. Norbury: I have had several babies named after me (one of twins), there's a horse in Lexington that bears my name, and a cow in Iowa, born on my birthday, July 4. But an Ann Landers HANDSHAKE? That's something new. I am honored and I thank you.