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Please Don't. Just Don't

Judith Martin, Nicholas Ivor Martin and Jacobina Martin on

DEAR MISS MANNERS: I often do the evening kitchen clearing and dishwashing for our household, and I do a thorough job. While working at the sink, I often wish to spit into the drain, but hesitate, wondering if it is appropriate. When I do spit, I am careful and it goes directly into the drain, so it doesn't contaminate the sink at all.

I'm uncomfortable, though. Could you please comment on the etiquette of this action?

GENTLE READER: Human saliva and kitchen cleaning should never meet, especially at the same sink -- however undetectable you think it may be. (And it is only a matter of time before you are caught and never trusted to do the dishes again.) Miss Manners suggests that you continue rightfully hesitating until you are safely in the bathroom -- behind firmly closed and locked doors and with the water running loudly.

DEAR MISS MANNERS: Once a solitary diner has been seated and served, does etiquette allow said diner to put on headphones?

Suffering from severe tinnitus makes background music, the conversations of nearby diners and the general hubbub of restaurants nearly unbearable at times. Discreetly inserting earplugs is my usual course of action, but noise-canceling headphones would be my preference. What does Miss Manners have to say on the subject?

GENTLE READER: She hesitates to say, since you probably will not hear the answer.

This would be the argument against your plan, as it will become increasingly frustrating for the waitstaff to ask how your food is.

On second thought, Miss Manners suddenly sees the benefit. All right. As long as you promise to take off the headphones when you ask for the pepper or the check, she will allow you to wear them -- if it is done discreetly and without repeatedly and loudly saying "What?"

DEAR MISS MANNERS: Many times when I am invited to someone's house or to an outing, they have also invited other people, but did not tell me. I only find out when I arrive. Or they will mention that one other person will be joining us, and leave out mentioning a second or third.

 

This also happens in reverse: when I invite a person to an activity and they bring along someone else without telling me.

Am I wrong for being upset by this? If asked ahead of time, I would always agree to additional people. I just want to know in advance. I sometimes ask if it will be "just us," but also feel rude about doing that.

GENTLE READER: One social violation at a time. It is nice, but not required, for a host to inform one's guests of any unexpected or additional ones. It is definitely rude, however, to go to someone else's house and bring a guest without first asking permission. It is borderline impolite if there is no host, but the plans were mutually made.

Certainly, a warning is always welcome. And since you seem to have been burned multiple times, Miss Manners will permit you to continue to ask any repeat offenders if it will be "just us."

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(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.)

Copyright 2022 Judith Martin

COPYRIGHT 2022 JUDITH MARTIN
 

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