Metro-East Living

Ex should ask before going to funeral

A homecoming corsage should be worn on the left wrist.
A homecoming corsage should be worn on the left wrist.

Q: My mother’s former husband (not my father) came to my mother’s funeral. It was a private service for family only. I was not happy that he came because their divorce was not very pleasant and I really did not want to see him nor would my mother have wanted him to be there. I thought about getting up and asking him to leave, but I didn’t. Shouldn’t he have asked if he could come rather than just showing up?

A: Yes, he should have asked if he could attend your mother’s private service for family only. As an ex-husband, and not the father of her children, from a protocol perspective he is no longer considered family. Had the divorce been amicable and had he been the father of her children, one of his children could have invited him to attend for personal support. Had the funeral service not been private, he could have attended without asking anyone.

Q: Our daughter requested a wrist corsage from her date for their homecoming dance. I must admit I was not sure which wrist she should put it on or does it matter?

A: A wrist corsage should be worn on the left wrist. Had she requested a corsage, it would have been pinned on her left side with the stems facing down.

Q: We have a very long and unusual last name. As a matter of fact, it took a long time for me to learn how to properly pronounce it when I started dating my husband. We just had a lovely couple move in next door with two cute little ones. Their parents want them to call us Mr. (long last name) and Mrs. (long last name). I have to keep from laughing at what comes out of their mouths as they try to properly pronounce our name. Would it be terribly improper if we asked these little ones to call us by title and first name, such as Mr. John and Mrs. Jane?

A: Perfectly proper as long as you discuss your request with these little children’s parents first so they are not offended. If they agree, then explain to the children why you are asking them to call you by your first name, rather than your difficult-to-pronounce last name.

Dianne Isbell is a local contributing writer. Send your etiquette questions to Lifestyle Editor Patrick Kuhl, Belleville News-Democrat, P.O. Box 427, 120 S. Illinois St., Belleville, IL 62222-0427, or email them to