Dear Carson: For the past week or so I tried to get in touch with someone from another state, phoning several times with no apparent call back. When I finally reached him, he claimed to have called me several times. When I mentioned that I had no message, he said he didn't leave one and had only let the telephone ring two or three times, saying he figured no one was home. Are you inclined to believe him? - Rules of Ringing
Dear Ringing: Give him the benefit of the doubt. Four times should be the absolute minimum number of times to let a telephone ring. Perhaps the receiver of the call is unable to reach the telephone within two rings, either because of physical condition or distance from the telephone. Readers, please be thoughtful and let the phone ring at least four or five times. Then leave a message so they know you tried to reach them.
Dear Carson: My son was married for 10 years and now, after three single years, he is getting married again. His fiancee was never married and therefore an elaborate wedding is planned. What is my financial obligation for the rehearsal dinner? - Wondering in Georgia
Dear Wondering: You have no financial obligation unless you choose to host the rehearsal dinner, unless finances are not a consideration. However, it would be gracious of you to offer to help with the expenses by covering the cost of flowers or food.
Dear Carson: When sending invitations to a rehearsal dinner, what is the proper way to let people know it is all right to bring a date or guest? - Sympathizes with Singles
Dear SWS: Simply address your invitation to "Mr. John Doe and Guest."
Note to readers: The Aug. 23 column referenced the origin of men removing their hats when indoors: Everyone already knows that tipping or removing one's hat is a sign of respect or of a courtesy when a gentleman encounters a lady. Another point of view was that in days of old, knights had to go to special pains to remove their helmets, signifying that they came as friend, not foe.
I would welcome any other points of view.
Confidential to Hannah: Thanks for your comments on dress. I both agree and disagree in part. Formal for men is black tie and, for women, long or tea length. Semi formal for men is a suit and for women is a dressy cocktail type dress. Upscale casual is slacks and sport shirt (no tie) for men. For women it is dressy slacks, nice sundress or floor-length cotton or linen skirt. Casual for both men and women means Bermuda shorts or slacks or sundress for women.