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Wedding invites sent only to family's female relatives

DEAR ABBY: My niece is getting married this spring, which has created a dilemma for my immediate family. When the save-the-date cards went out, she addressed them only to the women in the family. We thought it was a mistake at first, but now the invitations have arrived, and they are also addressed to the women only.

My husband and my son (her first cousin) feel slighted. My son's wife was invited, but she doesn't know the bride at all. It seems the bride has a limited number of guests she can invite for the venue. She also has a large number of friends and the groom's family attending.

Out of respect for my son and my husband — and a son-in-law who was also excluded — we all will respond that we will not attend. I feel terrible not being able to see my niece walk down the aisle, but I'm not used to my spouse being ignored. Am I doing the right thing? 


DEAR PUZZLED: Before you refuse the wedding invitation, call your niece and ask if she is intentionally excluding the men. Because women make most of the social arrangements, she may not have realized that EACH guest's name must appear on the invitation. Rather than an attempt to exclude family members because their chromosomes are not the same as hers, this may simply have been an etiquette boo-boo.

DEAR ABBY: I have been married for 35 years and have a recurring problem with no solution in sight. My wife sets frozen meat on the counter to thaw. She says she can't count on thawing it in the fridge because it takes too long and interferes with her meal planning. Her mother has always done it this way, and no one has ever gotten sick. I try talking to her but it only ends up in a fight. Any suggestions would be appreciated. 


DEAR RISKY: The Food and Drug Administration has issued guidelines about food preparation because people have gotten VERY sick when it wasn't done properly. Over the last 10 or 15 years, conditions in some of our slaughterhouses and agricultural operations have deteriorated, and consumers have died because of it. Whether you can convince your wife to change her ways, I can't predict. But you might be doing her a favor if you visit and print out some information for her and your mother-in-law. Better to be safe than sorry.

DEAR ABBY: My wife is part of a Christmas cookie exchange with her sisters-in-law and her mother. Three of them make beautiful, tasty cookies. The other one's cookies aren't very good, so the others don't put them on their trays. Instead, they happily accept them and then "give them away."

I believe someone should reach out to this woman and "gently" suggest she make a different kind of cookie so she isn't wasting her time, energy and money. I have been told to stay out of it. Your thoughts? 


DEAR WASTE OF COOKIES: Ideally, the woman might want to know that her cookie isn't well-liked. In the real world, however, her feelings might be hurt. You have been outvoted. Right now, everybody's happy. If the temptation to say something becomes overwhelming, put a "good" cookie in your mouth and keep it shut.


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