Miss Manners: Everyone thinks it’s a bad idea, but I want to go to her 16th birthday party

DEAR MISS MANNERS: I was a single dad for eight years, raising my daughter, who is now 15.

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We had, and maintain, an awesome father-daughter relationship. We have done road trips and vacations, and I coached her soccer team for seven years.

A few years ago, she joined a gym with her mom. She is no longer doing soccer, theater or any other activities — just working out six days a week with her “gym friends,” who happen to be young adults. She is an excellent student and can balance school and the gym.

I support her activities, but I’m only allowed to drop her off and pick her up. My daughter has expressed to me many times that she likes keeping her worlds apart, so I have done this out of respect for her wishes.

My daughter’s 16th birthday is coming up, and her mom is throwing her a surprise party the day before her actual birthday and inviting only her gym friends.

My ex-wife and I have an excellent communication relationship about our only child, and she told me about the surprise party, but said she thinks it would be weird for our daughter and her gym friends if I showed up.

I would have some serious FOMO if I didn’t attend. Yes, I know it’s not about me, but I’m her dad and nothing is more important than an event for my daughter.

My new wife also feels I should respect my daughter’s consistent wishes and not attend this one function. We do have other amazingly fun activities planned for her birthday, but my daughter requested no parties with the school friends that I know.

I am super-torn. I want to respect her independence and maturity, and yet can’t help feeling like I’m missing out on a meaningful event in her life.

GENTLE READER: And yet, it could easily turn into the negative connotation of “meaningful” if you disregard your daughter’s wishes. You have cited such respect as evidence of the success of your father-daughter relationship.

As you have a good relationship with your ex-wife, perhaps you can ask her if you may provide the cake or another surprise. This will let your daughter know you are thinking of her, but also give you points for respecting her request.

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Miss Manners: Is it unseemly to let my guests know they can try my fancy bathroom?

Miss Manners suggests that you further resist sending your daughter a message that you will be nearby if she changes her mind.

DEAR MISS MANNERS: What is the proper way to excuse oneself to use the ladies’ room, particularly in a formal setting?

GENTLE READER: “Excuse me.” Or if the occasion is truly that formal, “Excuse me, Your Majesty.”

Please send your questions to Miss Manners at her website, www.missmanners.com; to her email, dearmissmanners@gmail.com; or through postal mail to Miss Manners, Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.

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