Make it out to Cash: Is asking for cash as a gift rude?

Q: My granddaughter’s birthday is in December and she will be 12 years old. I casually asked her what are some of the things she would like as a gift for her birthday and Christmas. Her answer was ‘Cash’ or a ‘Gift Card’. I told her that I thought it really isn’t good manners to ask for money, that she could have suggested a gift that I could pick out for her. She said that if she gets ‘Cash’ she can then buy what she wants. Please tell me – is asking for money rude and did I give her the right answer?

A: In answer to your question, it is not incorrect, when ask, to tell someone, even your grandmother, that your most appreciated gift would be money because. . .. you are saving for. . . .whatever, when that is the case. However, many families are uncomfortable exchanging cash and prefer to be able to select a gift they know the recipient would enjoy. If you are more comfortable buying a present than sending a gift card or a check, it is fine for you to say so, and ask for a small list of some specific items she might enjoy opening.

RSVP Version 2.0: RSVPing in the Digital age

Q: On RSVP’s. I was under the impression that when sending an invitation that requires an RSVP, you should enclose an envelope for that purpose. My daughter tells me I’m old fashioned, and that RSVP’s can be done by e-mail or by phone. I maintain that would be unacceptable.

A: Your daughter is correct, not that you are old fashioned, but that an RSVP can be requested by telephone, or email if a telephone number or email address is included on the invitation. If it is not, then a written response is required, following the form of the invitation. It is written on your own notepaper and mailed in your own envelope.  A reply envelope, however, is not required. Only when a response card is included in the envelope would the hosts also provide an envelope.

Me, Myself and Junior: The Proper usage of junior and roman numerals in names

Q: What is the proper way to spell and punctuate ‘Junior’ after a name? We are naming our son after his father and I want to be sure I write ‘Junior’ correctly on his birth certificate. Also, when is someone a ‘Junior’ and when would he be the second?

A: A Junior is named after his father when no one else in the family but his father has that exact same name, first, middle and last.  If a child has a different middle name than his father, he is not a Junior. A child is II when named after a grandfather or uncle who had that exact same name, and is III when his father and he have the same name which is also the name of the father’s father, uncle or great uncle. Junior is preced by a comma. Roman numerals are not preced by a comma. And the abbreviation for Junior is Jr.

Proper Traveler: What to do when meeting Royalty

Q: Do Americans bow or curtsey when meeting European royalty? For example, would an American girl curtsey when presented to the Queen? My husband says ‘ Americans don’t bow or curtsey because we have no sovereign and not subjects of the British Crown.’ I say ‘follow the local customs when in a different country.’ Whose right?

A: You are right. You show respect for the title and position by acknowledging it as others do. Curtseying to the Queen of England doesn’t indicate sovereignty but rather respect.