Life Advice



'Allowed' Is Not The Word You're Looking For

Judith Martin, Nicholas Ivor Martin and Jacobina Martin on

DEAR MISS MANNERS: I have noticed that many female TV anchors and reporters wear skimpy outfits that would be more appropriate at the beach. Men always dress in proper outfits, while many women wear sleeveless tops that do not look professional. Why are women allowed to do this?


Miss Manners has also noticed the gender discrepancy in clothing styles among male and female newscasters. But she hardly thinks that working journalists are insisting upon wearing frivolous clothes on the job.

You might consider the possibility that someone in the station or network hierarchy has decreed that female broadcasters should look flirty -- like flight attendants, back when they were called stewardesses.

If we go even further back, broadcasters used to wear evening clothes at night -- even radio broadcasters. Formality, if anyone remembers that once-respectable concept, was intended to signify seriousness, not playfulness. (Anyway, those broadcasters were all male, so titillation was not an issue.)

To get back to the present: Sleevelessness at the anchor desk doesn't seem as incongruous as party clothes. Plunging necklines and dangling earrings may be fetching on the social scene, but that is hardly the context in which one expects people to be announcing mass shootings and raging fires.


DEAR MISS MANNERS: I had the privilege and honor of serving my country for almost 30 years. It was a great life, but it was rough on my body, and I have several painful injuries and other medical conditions. I am, however, lucky not to have a missing limb or other apparent external injuries.

I was determined by the Veterans Administration to be Permanently and Totally Disabled, and received a Disabled Veteran handicap license plate for my vehicle.

The problem is that when I park my car in a handicapped spot, I am told, You don't look handicapped! I prefer not to respond rudely or with profanity, but would like some guidance for a response.

GENTLE READER: You could respond Thank you, which should throw anyone expecting a defensive reaction.


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