To Read or Not to Read?

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Dear Miss Manners:

I am an elderly gentleman, of almost 71 years, who was lucky enough to be taught to read at an early age. As I matured, I developed into a compulsive reader, reading just about anything that bears the printed word. I do so with the general knowledge that if it was written, it was intended to be read.

At a public doing, I encountered a very well-developed female at least 30 years my junior. She was wearing an exceptionally low top and displaying all of her natural attributes. Each of her displayed anatomy parts was amply tattooed with words of the English language. They appeared to be clearly printed, though, being a gentleman, I did not read.

I have no knowledge of what they said. Possibly, they were names of her friends or perhaps instructions of some sort regarding a likely delicate matter. Since this printing was in a public place, would I have been correct in reading the words, or was I correct in merely trying to look at her forehead?

You have given Miss Manners the opportunity to play Portia in "The Merchant of Venice." (You will recall that she was the legal authority who upheld the forfeit of a pound of flesh provided that no blood was taken with it.)

Yes, you are entitled to read publicly displayed signs. But no, you are not entitled to stare at a lady's chest.

Dear Miss Manners:

What's your beef with a cash bar at wedding receptions? Weddings are incredibly expensive, and a couple starting out shouldn't have to go in the hole for thousands of dollars just to throw a reception where Miss Manners and a bunch of other deadbeats can have unlimited liquor. I thought you were a classy broad!

If we should encounter each other at a wedding reception, then your first drink will be on me, and you can hustle the rest yourself! I DARE YOU TO PRINT THIS!

Suppose you go first and explain why anyone would want to stage a thousands-of-dollars event for people whom they think of as deadbeats, and why other people would want to attend the wedding of those who thought that of them. This will give Miss Manners a moment to think of a tactful way of saying that she does not care to drink with you.


CONTINUED     1        >

© 2008 The Washington Post Company