Dear Miss Manners: My email was hacked. Some of my loving, trusting, generous — and also naive — friends were tricked into sending money to scammers, because they thought they were helping me.
My etiquette problem is that part of the scam was the promise of repayment. That will not happen.
My friends may not be able to afford losing the money they thought they were simply loaning to me on a short-term basis. As it happens, though technically not responsible, I can help, and I’m anxious to. How do I go about it in a delicate and sensitive way? They may have their pride.
Become exceedingly generous whenever you can, bestowing presents on these people.
That should quell any issues of pride. But if they question your generosity, Miss Manners suggests you tell them, “Let’s just say this is from me and the ‘prince’ who scammed you.”
Dear Miss Manners: I am an older gentleman who has repeatedly been described as “a natty dresser.” (I just think that I dress neatly and appropriately.) And yet there are three women I encounter occasionally who compulsively correct something: They smooth an already flat lapel or adjust a carefully knotted tie.
If the genders were reversed, I would be allowed to say, with some heat, “Take your hands off me!” The best I have come up with is, “You know, it’s a shame that someone in his 60s can’t be trusted to get dressed before he leaves the house.” What advice has Miss Manners to offer?
Is this an assault on your aesthetic or on your personal space? Either complaint is legitimate, but Miss Manners wants to be clear on the intention before she offers her advice.
She supposes it will sound outdated if she recalls when it used to be a sign of affection for a partner or intimate friend to adjust a gentleman’s clothing. It was of no relevance if the tie or lapel actually needed improvement; it was merely a way to take pride in his appearance. Miss Manners readily concedes, however, that doing this without consent, or to someone to whom you are not intimately related, is a violation. And, as you point out, it does not pass the gender-reverse test. Adjusting a lady’s bra strap or wayward button would not be taken kindly.
Assuming good intent, however, perhaps you could offer bewilderment instead of heat. Try a startled step back, followed by: “Oh, dear, I tied that tie meticulously. I’ll have to retreat to the men’s room now to adjust it. Excuse me.” If you do this enough and it causes sufficient delay in dinner or other plans, perhaps your handsy friends will receive the message that their adjustments are not wanted.
New Miss Manners columns are posted Monday through Saturday on washingtonpost.com/advice. You can send questions to Miss Manners at her website, missmanners.com. You can also follow her @RealMissManners.
©2022, by Judith Martin