Miss Manners: Bring your own craft beer, artisan gin, tea bag, organic milk...

DEAR MISS MANNERS: I invited a new co-worker and his wife over for dinner and didn’t ask them to bring anything.

I was a little surprised when they brought their own pre-dinner drinks -- two bottles of an imported craft beer for him, plus two cans of tonic and a water bottle containing 4 ounces of artisan gin for her.

She even brought her own tea bag for after dinner, and a small container of just enough organic whole milk to put in one cup. They said they’re very specific and “a bit snobby” in what they drink -- only certain brands, etc. -- so they always bring their own.

I try to have a well-stocked bar for guests (and already had the gin they brought) and I was a little embarrassed. BYOB reminds me of college parties 25 years ago.

We didn’t say anything to them about it, but my partner thought it was rude and way too fussy. Is it bad manners to bring your own drinks, and just enough for yourselves, if a host hasn’t asked you to? And should we keep those brands on hand in case we ever invite them over again?

GENTLE READER: Of course this is rude. It would be entirely different if they had an allergy or severe restriction. But in this case, they have admitted that these are only preferences -- and they are not even willing to share.

Given that, Miss Manners would not necessarily waste time gathering their current selections. Anyone who admits to that level of specificity and snobbery may change tastes again quickly -- and will likely quibble with whatever you provide.

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DEAR MISS MANNERS: Is it me (a 75-year-old retired elementary school teacher) or the younger generation?

I attended a popular musical, only to lose my faith in teens and their parents. Girls around and behind me were constantly humming/singing along (softly). I turned around and gave them a shushing face at least three times before the mom tapped me on the shoulder, asking me “what’s my problem.”

I said, “The singing.”

Mom’s response, “Others are doing it, too.”

Me: “It’s annoying.”

After I left my seat to cool down, I came back to a different seat, only to have someone else behind me singing CONSTANTLY. I turned and gave her a look. Her mother ended up telling me to stop looking at her daughter. I left my seat again, after which the usher showed me to a seat in the back so I could watch the last five minutes in peace.

Fortunately, I had not paid a lot for my ticket. What bothered me the most was the lack of proper etiquette in a theater, and that rather than correct their children, the mothers scolded me.

Is this a generational thing? I will think twice before going to another popular show. More than one usher volunteered to say something, but I did not want to cause any more of a scene than I had already.

GENTLE READER: While Miss Manners does not condone it, she has noticed that singalongs for popular musicals have become common -- whether they are advertised as such or not.

Rather than bemoan an entire generation or give up the theater entirely, she suggests that you take the ushers up on their offers to fight your battles for you, or find you a quieter corner.

They should also get a handle on their patrons’ frequent seat-swapping.

Miss Manners | Judith Martin, Nicholas Ivor Martin and Jacobina Martin

Miss Manners, written by Judith Martin and her two perfect children, Nicholas Ivor Martin and Jacobina Marin, has chronicled the continuous rise and fall of American manners since 1978. Send your questions to