Miss Manners

By The Mercury News | Get the latest Miss Manners columns from Judith Martin, a manners and etiquette expert, who answers your questions for The Mercury News

Miss Manners: How does one articulate a formal dress code?

<b>DEAR MISS MANNERS:</b> My husband and I would like to hold a formal ball, with no particular occasion attached. How should the invitation be worded? (It …

Weddings

Miss Manners: Steer clear of “hot topics” at work

<b>DEAR MISS MANNERS:</b> I live in a liberal college town in a more conservative state. So there’s a large mix, and I suppose you could call the overall …

Religion

Miss Manners: They taunt me because I’m a picky eater

<b>DEAR MISS MANNERS:</b> I find myself amazed by people’s preconceptions about finicky eaters. I was once told, point blank, that I was a spoiled, snobbish …

Healthy Eating

Miss Manners: One’s spicy, the other’s mild. How do I choose?

<b>DEAR MISS MANNERS:</b> I am currently dating a lovely young gentleman who is sweet, caring and tall. Recently, however, another gentleman who is much …

Recipes

Miss Manners: Give me some of that old-time flirting.

<b>GENTLE READERS:</b> Now that sexual harassment has been more clearly identified, it would be well to define legitimate courtship.<p>The very term seems …

Relationships

Miss Manners: You can’t hug co-workers then complain about ‘that dude’

<b>GENTLE READERS:</b> This is probably not the year to celebrate Valentine’s Day at the office.<p>There never was a time that even innocent romance belonged …

Miss Manners: Plus-one not ideal, but accept it anyway

<b>DEAR MISS MANNERS:</b> I am a woman in my late 20s who has been in a relationship with another woman for going on five years now. My family is not …

Weddings

Miss Manners: Can I tell guests who didn’t RSVP they’re not allowed to eat?

<b>DEAR MISS MANNERS:</b> I am planning a celebration of my late husband’s life, and being good to myself by having it catered. Nothing fancy, but I am …

Positive Thinking

Miss Manners: A ‘polite appearance’ is hard to define

<b>DEAR MISS MANNERS:</b> How long do you stay at an office party at your boss’s house when you really just want to ”make an appearance”?<p>I’m just not sure …

Relationships

Miss Manners: Electronic thanks are efficient, but cold

<b>DEAR MISS MANNERS:</b> Several years ago, our guests stopped sending us thank-you notes. They stay at our weekend house for days on end, being wined, …

Parenting

Miss Manners: Who’s in charge of the chargers?

<b>DEAR MISS MANNERS:</b> On a visit with my niece, I brought a phone charger to plug in, but for some reason it did not function properly. With the hosts’ …

Solar Power

Miss Manners: Airline rep’s rudeness accomplishes nothing

<b>DEAR MISS MANNERS:</b> After a long flight from overseas, my plane landed and I called my family to say that I had arrived safely. A few minutes after …

Miss Manners: Take the clothes and donate them to avoid the lectures

<b>DEAR MISS MANNERS:</b> Since announcing my first pregnancy to close friends and family, I have been inundated with offers of free baby equipment. Most of …

Miss Manners: First spouse on the couch picks the show

<b>DEAR MISS MANNERS:</b> Is it considered rude when you are watching something on TV and your husband joins you, then wants to change the channel — not to …

Miss Manners: Repeating a request without being rude

<b>DEAR MISS MANNERS:</b> What is the appropriate way to ask someone a second time to do something for you, if they seem to have forgotten?<p>For example, if I …

Self-help

Miss Manners: She changes diapers on our dining room table

<b>DEAR MISS MANNERS:</b> I have a friend who gave birth to a beautiful little girl six weeks ago. Every Sunday, we watch our husbands play softball, and …

Parenting

Miss Manners: Breast cancer patient seeks backyard sun

<b>Click here if you are having trouble viewing the video on your mobile device.</b><p><b>DEAR MISS MANNERS:</b> I am a 55-year-old woman who has metastatic breast …

Cancer

Miss Manners: Be clear when asking friends to dinner

<b>Click here if you are having trouble viewing the video on your mobile device.</b><p><b>DEAR MISS MANNERS:</b> What terminology is recommended to invite someone to …

Miss Manners: Family party gets too loud for sister’s taste

<b>Click here if you are having trouble viewing the gallery and video on your mobile device.</b><p><b>DEAR MISS MANNERS:</b> I hosted a family party, and after lunch, …

Self-help

Miss Manners: I thought the rehearsal dinner was free

<b>Click here if you are having trouble viewing the gallery and video on your mobile device.</b><p><b>DEAR MISS MANNERS:</b> My husband and I got a Facebook …

Weddings

Miss Manners: My carpool buddy refused to leave the club

<b> <br>Click here if you are having trouble viewing the video on your mobile device.</b><p><b>DEAR MISS MANNERS:</b> A female friend and I went out nightclubbing one …

Brazil

Miss Manners: They were invited for dinner, then asked to butcher the hog

<b>DEAR MISS MANNERS:</b> My sister was invited to a neighbor’s house for a pig roast. The neighbor said he had access to a live pig, and asked my …

Relationships

Miss Manners: They won’t take the hint they’re not invited

<b>DEAR MISS MANNERS:</b> My husband and I have a delightful, very busy social life. We give and attend numerous dinner parties, and frequently entertain …

Miss Manners: Is there a singular, gender-neutral pronoun?

<b>DEAR MISS MANNERS:</b> What pronouns would Miss Manners advise using when referring to people who do not identify as either male or female?<p>I work with …

LGBTQ

Miss Manners: Back-seat drivers are making my job harder

(Click here if you are having trouble viewing the video on your mobile device.)<p><b>DEAR MISS MANNERS:</b> I’ve been driving for one of the taxi services that …

Etiquette

Miss Manners: We home-school, and people are getting very judgmental

(Click here if you are having trouble viewing the video on your mobile device.)<p><b>DEAR MISS MANNERS:</b> My family belongs to a segment of the population …

Self-help

Miss Manners: Our boss bought lunch for coworkers but not for us

(Click here if you are having trouble viewing the video on your mobile device.)<p><b>DEAR MISS MANNERS:</b> My boss asked me and three co-workers to meet her …

Employment

Miss Manners: ‘What are you doing?’ is not an accusation

(Click here if you are having trouble viewing the video on your mobile device.)<p><b>DEAR MISS MANNERS:</b> Is ”What are you doing?” a polite question?<p>I have …

Miss Manners: If you keep that gift, you must keep the gentleman

(Click here if you are having trouble viewing the video on your mobile device.)<p><b>DEAR MISS MANNERS:</b> I was dating a gentleman for a short time. Four …

Relationships