DEAR MISS MANNERS: I work on landscaping and grounds maintenance projects. On many occasions, I have encountered hidden house keys -- under the mat, beneath a flowerpot and so forth.
Should I mention my discoveries to the owners? It seems awkward to say, "I know where your keys are hidden."
GENTLE READER: The only reason Miss Manners can think...Read more
DEAR MISS MANNERS: Some good friends of ours, a husband and wife, have a painting of the wife in their living room. The painting is a nude from her much younger days.
It is not erotic, but it is very large and very explicit and detailed. She is looking at the viewer with a direct challenge.
When we visit, we are always taken to this room. I've...Read more
DEAR MISS MANNERS: I have a friend in my circle who is about three years my senior. We are both in our 60s, in great health, in long-term marriages and of the same socioeconomic status.
Nearly every time we get together, she takes the opportunity to comment on how "young" I am. For example, we'll be talking about an old TV show or song, and she...Read more
DEAR MISS MANNERS: I teach at a small college where, before COVID, I would regularly meet prospective students and their parents in my office on campus.
Occasionally these parents are prominent in politics, and given the deep rifts in our political culture these days, I wonder how I should treat a parent whose positions are abhorrent to me.
I ...Read more
DEAR MISS MANNERS: My husband and I have been together for over 40 years. We both are accomplished cooks and greatly enjoy hosting nice dinner parties for four or six guests. We have accumulated fine china, sterling silver and crystal over the years, and we enjoy setting a beautiful table and creating good food.
However, over the years, many of...Read more
DEAR MISS MANNERS: My son, who is 13, has a job mowing and weed-eating yards. He has started his own business: He bought his own equipment with saved-up birthday and Christmas money, and he keeps his business funds, spending money and savings in separate accounts. He sets his prices based on current fuel costs and the price of other parts and ...Read more
DEAR MISS MANNERS: My husband and I traded in his car for a used luxury sedan. As we came home from the dealership, one of our neighbors looked at the car, then at us, and asked if we'd bought a new car. I said, "Well, it's used, but new to us" and smiled. She answered back, "You can't afford that." I laughed and said, "I had no idea you were my...Read more
DEAR MISS MANNERS: I live in a crowded area and parking is a hot topic. My car was parked in my driveway, and as I was loading stuff into the back, a person drove up and asked, "Are you leaving now?" I said, "This is my driveway," and repeated it a few times, adding, "I'm the only one who can park here."
I was honestly confused. They explained ...Read more
DEAR MISS MANNERS: I don't understand croutons.
I love salad, and would like to enjoy croutons on my salad, but they are the size and shape of dice and the consistency of pumice. They are impossible to stab with a fork, and nearly impossible to balance on one.
My attempts at gracefully rendering them into a more manageable size invariably go ...Read more
DEAR MISS MANNERS: Should I say "please" and "thank you" to my virtual assistants? I'm not happy with the ongoing dehumanization of our society -- for example, replacing the jobs of human beings with checkout robots so we don't have to stand in line and look at our neighbors for four minutes.
I don't ordinarily say, "Siri, PLEASE add milk to my...Read more
DEAR MISS MANNERS: I am a 45-year-old professional woman who is employed in higher education. I am also a married mother with three adult children. Like many people, I have a social media account with bland commentary on current events.
I also have a relatively large anonymous account, which has tens of thousands of followers. I love this ...Read more
DEAR MISS MANNERS: My parents' neighbors sent my husband and me a gift for the birth of our first child. I've never met them, so this was unexpected, but we sent a prompt thank-you note and a picture of our baby wearing the item they'd given us.
A month later, the neighbors sent our baby a Halloween present, followed by a Thanksgiving present, ...Read more
DEAR MISS MANNERS: I believe that the rules of etiquette indicate that one should not use language that others find offensive, even if it doesn't seem so to oneself. I have just learned, for example, that "master bedroom" is offensive to some, so it should not be used.
The problem is that there doesn't seem to be anything that someone, ...Read more
DEAR MISS MANNERS: I have noticed that many establishments, from coffee shops to boutiques, are using systems that automatically ask for a tip when you are checking out -- and "helpfully" give you choices of 15%, 20% and up.
To me, tipping has always made sense for instances such as haircuts and restaurants, where the person has spent a ...Read more
DEAR MISS MANNERS: As someone with limited mobility, I must often take cabs. I once found myself in a taxi, for an hour-long ride, with a driver who read "alternative" news sites, believed in conspiracy theories and apparently wanted to talk about them. I'm not sure how the conversation began, nor could I determine the best way to bring it to a ...Read more
DEAR MISS MANNERS: My friends and I, who are religion-free (otherwise known as atheist), are debating how to respond to people who tell us to "Have a blessed day" or use any other religious signoff. It's especially frustrating and offensive in what should be religion-free places of business, such as the doctor's office or a public agency.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: A few years ago (pre-COVID), my son had a destination wedding in the U.S. Virgin Islands. He and his fiancee invited their parents, aunts, uncles, cousins and about a dozen of their closest friends. We provided dinner and drinks for all guests after the rehearsal, and the bride's parents provided dinner and drinks for the ...Read more
DEAR MISS MANNERS: We often host friends and family for overnight visits. Before departing, some of our guests take it upon themselves to strip their beds and take their linens to the laundry room; some even start the washing machine. Of course we have never even hinted that this is expected, as it most certainly is not.
For me, it's also ...Read more
DEAR MISS MANNERS: I work in a cubicle in a fairly small, open-space office. One of the other sections of the office contains a group of kids in their 20s. They are constantly talking and laughing throughout the day.
I don't mind that they talk, but the problem is that they are loud. Very loud. Way, way too loud! Even though I sit all the way ...Read more
DEAR MISS MANNERS: I was talking with a colleague the other day when he referred to his "baby mama" and how he had helped her through a recent illness. Upon the conclusion of our conversation, I wished him and his "friend and, uh, baby mama" (mumbled) good health.
I love that families come in all shapes and sizes, but I have a hard time with ...Read more