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Multiple marriages considered the norm

DEAR MISS MANNERS: I am 34 and getting married for the second time in about a month. The first marriage, at 20, was pretty dumb and short-lived — I didn’t have a clue about reality. Now, 14 years later, I found the right guy and I’m ready for a real commitment.

In chatting about our wedding plans with different people, I’ve been asked many times if it’s my first marriage. I find myself stumbling over that one, not wanting to admit the stupidity of my immature decision years ago. I even lied about it a few times, which isn’t in my nature.

Thinking that these questions would end after the wedding, I have been relieved that I have only a few more weeks. But a friend of mine and her husband married in their late 30s, and she told me that people still ask her if it’s her first marriage, and she hates it.

You’re probably going to tell me to just say “no” and end it at that, but I feel like I need a stock answer that I can spit out that doesn’t make me look shady. What do you think?

Gentle Reader: Some years ago, Miss Manners began to notice that brides writing questions to her were volunteering, “It’s my first wedding.” Before that, they used to say, “I’m getting married.”

Sadly, Miss Manners has come to the conclusion that multiple marriages are now simply considered the norm. Perhaps this explains, but does not excuse, those rude questions. You are not obliged to tell them, which would only lead to further questions. Just smile and say, “I don’t exactly make a habit of it.”

Please send your questions to Miss Manners at her website,; to her email,; or through postal mail to Miss Manners, Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.


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