DEAR MISS MANNERS: Is there a gender-neutral alternative to "sir" and "ma'am"?
I was in a retail establishment this morning, and a staff member walked past me pulling a flatbed cart full of potted plants. One fell off the back, and the staff member did not notice it, so I instinctively called out, "Sir, you dropped something!"
They stopped to ...Read more
DEAR MISS MANNERS: I host my wife's family fairly often, and enjoy our visits. I'm struggling with one dynamic that occurs every time we have her brother's family at our table.
We'll pass dishes, family style, and the parents will pile the food on their plates and the plates of their two young children. But then each of them will only eat a few...Read more
DEAR MISS MANNERS: When I was at the vet with my cat, the staff kept referring to owners as "parents" and pets as "babies" or "children."
I feel the urge to ridicule these types of statements. While I understand that people adore their pets (as do I), I think it is incorrect -- and even offensive -- to put them in the same category as human ...Read more
DEAR MISS MANNERS: I have a dear friend who does not believe in tipping. At all. Ever. No tip for drivers, hairdressers, hotel staff, waitstaff, etc.
She believes people should insist on a fair wage from their employer, and says it is not her job to supplement their paycheck. This is an honorable idea, and one that I wish were feasible.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: Our marriage has its ups and downs, including some heated arguments. But our social life continues, and that sometimes involves having guests in our home.
To date, we have not ever had a mid-gathering blowout, but I cannot say it would never happen. If it does, what do you suggest we do once we have calmed down and regained ...Read more
DEAR MISS MANNERS: I've become that grumpy old woman that many call a "Karen." I'm 73. I live with chronic lower back pain, which took hold about 12 years ago. I'm doing my best to manage it with the help of excellent doctors and therapists.
My husband of 30 years resents my change in circumstances from a vibrant, "go anywhere, do anything" ...Read more
DEAR MISS MANNERS: How should I edit the following email to a colleague so as to reconcile the situation? My honesty is not always expressed politely, even less so when I am tired.
Generally, everyone in my workplace are all weirdos and impolitic, and also great friends, but I need a little extra help with politeness in this case.
"Dear ...Read more
DEAR MISS MANNERS: I am a surgeon, and part of my job is to consult on patients of other doctors at the hospital. Another physician will phone me and ask me to see the patient, then give them my opinion on the most appropriate treatment.
I generally visit these patients either between surgeries during the day, or in the evening, after I am done...Read more
DEAR MISS MANNERS: My mother was emotionally, physically and mentally abusive. Plus, she knew about sexual abuse in the home as my siblings and I were growing up, and allowed it to continue.
She most probably suffered from borderline personality disorder and narcissistic personality disorder, although she consistently refused therapy. All of ...Read more
DEAR MISS MANNERS: I gave birth to my son at age 39. My son is biracial, and we don't look exactly alike.
Since he was an infant, complete strangers have approached me to ask how we are related, with no prior conversation or interaction. The question is, invariably, "Hi, is that your grandson?"
Most of the time, I say with a straight face and ...Read more
DEAR MISS MANNERS: My husband never dresses appropriately for events. When our kids graduated from high school, he wore jeans. Out to a nice dinner with friends: jeans. Anniversary dates -- yup, you guessed it: jeans.
They aren't even nice, dressier jeans, but distressed, dirty and obviously old. The strange thing is that he buys a lot of nice ...Read more
DEAR MISS MANNERS: My husband works from home, and a colleague does not. Colleague sometimes texts my husband that there is a product or mail for him at the office, and kindly offers to drop it by our home. My husband accepts and is very appreciative.
The drop-off generally occurs on a weekend, early in the day, when I am either in bed or ...Read more
DEAR MISS MANNERS: I was in line at the checkout. I had put my items up on the belt for the cashier. A 50ish-year-old woman came up behind me, took a divider and PUSHED all my items together up the belt to make room for hers!
This is a TOP PET PEEVE for me! I was taught to be patient and wait my turn! I'm a 67-year-old woman and physically ...Read more
GENTLE READERS: There is a disturbing trend in Miss Manners' correspondence that she wishes to address, lest Gentle Readers give up hope of a more polite future. It concerns letters that begin:
-- "When did it become OK to ...?"
-- "Am I just being hopelessly old-fashioned or ...?"
-- "Am I being too sensitive when ...?"
What follows is an ...Read more
DEAR MISS MANNERS: My 21-year-old daughter has been dating a conservative young man since high school. He seems nice enough, and he is highly intelligent. They are both studying business in college.
She seems to want to marry him, and I have reservations. I am wondering what your thoughts might be on the following:
He does not give gifts, and ...Read more
DEAR MISS MANNERS: As parents, it is hard to see our children move away to college, but I believe raising them to fly is one of our most important jobs.
As college students form bonds, I see many out-of-state students get "adopted" by local students' families. There is comfort found in an occasional home-cooked meal, a much-needed mom hug or ...Read more
DEAR MISS MANNERS: After the tragedy in Uvalde, the chief of police began his statement with the greeting, "Good afternoon."
The next day, after an understandably sleepless night, I arrived at my job -- at a school -- filled with grief, only to be told "Good morning!" by five different colleagues.
All of these greetings seemed insensitive ...Read more
DEAR MISS MANNERS: After being away from our hometown for five years due to work, my husband and I are back, living just 30 minutes away from our daughter and her three little children. We are happy and excited to be back nearby.
We offered to watch the grandkids on Sunday, taking them on a picnic at a park near our home for the afternoon so ...Read more
DEAR MISS MANNERS: We just attended the wedding of a close friend's daughter at a hotel. Our table's main courses, braised beef or salmon, were offered in oddly generous portions. Each plate could have fed at least four people.
It seemed like such a waste that I quietly asked for a doggie bag, as I did intend to give some of it to our dog. This...Read more
DEAR MISS MANNERS: When people get together and make a toast, everyone wants to clink glasses. Is that necessary? Is it OK to just raise our glasses instead of physically touching everyone's drink?
I would be very grateful if your reply could convince my friends that feelings of goodwill would still be genuine if we didn't stretch across a ...Read more