Miss Manners: How do I handle nosy questions about my diamond?

DEAR MISS MANNERS: I’m engaged and have a larger-than-average diamond. There have been several awkward encounters where people want to know the specs of my stone: In particular, they ask, “Is it a lab stone?”

I just don’t feel comfortable answering this. So many people judge you negatively for whatever answer you give. If you say yes, you’ve got a “fake” diamond and are a cheapskate. If you say no, then they ask why you spent so much. There’s no winning!

I just don’t want people prying into my financial decisions! How do I sidestep the awkward question altogether?

GENTLE READER: “I have no idea. I’m a bride, not a jeweler. I’m glad you like it.”

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DEAR MISS MANNERS: I spent more than 50 years with the most beautiful, wonderful woman I have ever known. She passed away about 18 months ago. I wear my wedding ring and plan to continue to do so.

Several women have suggested I wear it on my right hand or not wear it at all -- usually adding that it’s time I started dating. I have no desire to do so.

How long is it appropriate to wear a wedding ring after a spouse dies? And do you have a suggestion for how I could respond to these comments? I don’t wish to sound rude.


GENTLE READER: Those must be the same women who keep telling brokenhearted widows that they are no longer “entitled” to wear their wedding rings. But oddly enough, they don’t go on to encourage the widows to date.

The answer to how long bereaved spouses can wear wedding rings is: as long as they please. It is no one else’s business.

And the answer to why you do not date is: You do not want to. If you want to put a stop to this annoyance, Miss Manners will allow you to add, “I haven’t met anyone yet whom I want to date.”

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DEAR MISS MANNERS: My partner and I receive several invitations a year to events held by organizations to which we donate. These events are either one-on-one lunches or cocktail party-type events in recognition of the organization’s accomplishments over the past year. They are also held in recognition of major donors, which we are not.

I have zero interest in attending such events. I intensely dislike dressing up, socializing with people I don’t know (and don’t wish to know), and giving up an entire evening. My partner enjoys it even less.

I realize the organizations’ goal is to create a more personal relationship with us, but we are not interested. I have become rather a hausfrau since COVID, and while I get out to some social events, two or three per month is my limit.

You’d think after years of declining, they’d get the hint, but I keep getting personalized emails or phone calls to attend. Can I just admit I dislike dressing up and socializing, and request no such further invitations?

GENTLE READER: No, because they might start asking you to non-dressy events.

Miss Manners would think that saying, “We’re happy to donate, but please take us off your social list” would work, if they are paying attention. Surely it would be a relief to the organization to have fewer people to entertain.

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