Dear Amy:

My very good friend just got engaged. I always thought I would be selected as her maid of honor, and the bride had hinted at it, too.

Instead, the bride chose her cousin and another very good friend of ours, Rhonda, to be joint maids of honor.

The bride said she felt Rhonda very much wanted the role, and she didn't want to deal with any anger from her if she had chosen me.

I had always wanted to be chosen, but I never said it outright because I didn't want to pressure the bride.

I feel as if my friend always gives in to Rhonda to keep her happy.

She said it was a tough decision, and she still wants me involved in the planning.

Should I tell the bride my feelings are hurt or should I keep my mouth shut? Should I actively involve myself or should I wait for an invitation from the maids of honor?

- M.D.

Dear M.D.: Your friend is already gumming up her wedding by choosing two maids of honor, one of whom she appears to be afraid of.

(I'm already working on the script of this scenario for a film I'm tentatively calling Maids of Horror.)

The singular form in the designation "maid of honor" implies that only one maid will receive the honor of pushing the bride down the aisle.

After choosing two maids, her second mistake was to ask a third person (you) to be involved in the planning.

Don't go there. Rhonda got there first, and life is too short to tangle with bridesmaid bullies. Let your friend assign you to be keeper of the guest book. This is an underappreciated honor, and a great way to meet guys.

Dear Amy: Recently, I took my 10-year-old niece to the mall.

We were getting in the car when I noticed a little boy, 4 or 5 years old, get out of a car and stand by the bushes. He was in plain view.

His mother walked over to the boy and pulled his pants down (all the way) and he started urinating.

I could not believe my eyes. I said to her, "Don't you think that's rude? There is a bathroom right inside the store to the left."

The grandpa started yelling at me, cussing me out. The mother said I was a pervert for watching.

I replied that I had my 10-year-old niece in the car and she did not need to see that. The mother and the grandpa kept yelling at me.

I was so shocked. Was I wrong to speak?

- Still Shocked

Dear Shocked: Let's stipulate that 5-year-old boys don't always give much notice when they have to "go."

But I agree that this family displayed poor manners. They are also volatile.

In addition to their rudeness, it was ill-mannered of you to call them rude in front of their child, when you could have highlighted their violation through polite concern.

It's also a little scary to tangle with volatile strangers, especially when you have a young child in the car. Dealing with this sort of behavior is what mall cops are for.

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