Dear Abby: I'm writing about your response to "Unshakable in Milwaukee," the woman who asked how to avoid handshakes, which caused her great pain in her arthritic hands. You suggested, " . . . very quickly say, `No handshake, please. I have arthritis.' "
Abby, she may not want to announce to someone she's just meeting that she has arthritis. Also, many people won't hear her quickly enough, as handshakes are automatic.My suggestion would be to take a cue from Sen. Robert Dole, who carries a felt-tipped pen in the hand of his paralyzed right arm: Always carry something in your right hand. And when someone tries to shake your hand, offer your left hand - but horizontally, with your palm facing the floor.
This works well for a man I know at church. People automatically clasp his left fingertips from below with their already extended right hands, rather than squeezing his knuckles together from top to bottom.
I hope this helps "Unshakable" and others. And please don't use my name because I don't want it publicized that I'm getting arthritis either!
- Getting Arthritis at 38 in Texas
Dear Getting: Thanks for the suggestions. I'm printing your letter for everyone who needs to palm off an unwanted handshake.
Dear Abby: I am 23 and a bride-to-be. "Charles Smith" and I are being married soon. Charles wants his parents' names on the wedding invitations as well as the names of my parents. He says it's to show respect.
Abby, my parents are paying for the entire wedding. It will be traditional and quite formal. The Smiths not only did not give us an engagement gift, they're not giving us a wedding gift. My parents feel that since the Smiths failed to honor my fiance and me, they don't deserve to have their names on the invitation.
Charles' parents are mad because we decided against having an engagement party. They feel "tradition" dictates that we have one. None of Charles' family has given us gifts. They said, "If we give you a gift, we should get a meal!" Shouldn't people send gifts because they are happy for the couple, not because they are going to get a meal? All of my family sent gifts.
This has been very upsetting. Tradition states that the bride's parents announce the "giving" of their daughter in marriage; therefore, traditionally only the parents of the bride are listed on the wedding invitation. This is causing a huge problem. Please help.
- Stuck Between Respect and Tradition
Dear Stuck: According to Emily Post's "Complete Book of Wedding Etiquette," the bride's family usually pays for the wedding and reception. They are the hosts, and the invitations are issued in their names. If, however, the groom's family shares in the wedding expenses, their names should also appear on the invitations. Since your fiance's parents are not co-hosting the wedding, their names don't belong on the invitations.
Names on wedding invitations have nothing to do with respect - they simply indicate who is hosting the celebration. Your future in-laws are not the first to find this tradition confusing.
For your sake, I hope this settles the issue and eases pre-wedding tensions.