Dear Miss Manners: After the easing of pandemic lockdowns, an old friend came over for dinner, just the two of us. It’s been a long pandemic for all of us, but especially for her. She had to have all her shopping delivered, including groceries. She’s not been out in literally years.
She asked if it was okay to bring her dog, which I agreed to. Her dog is not the problem. The problem is that after dinner, she went to use the washroom and the dog wished to come in there with her. It’s a small bathroom, so my friend said she’d be leaving the door open so the dog could come in with her.
She left the door open each of the other three times she peed while she was at my home, whether or not the dog cared, and she didn’t ask. And I could hear EVERYTHING.
Now she is hinting she’d like to go to a “fancy” restaurant with me. How, exactly, am I to word this without saying flat-out, “Nobody will be seen in public with you unless they’re sure you won’t pee with the door open?”
As brazen as this woman’s behavior was, one cannot imagine that she plans to take her dog to a fancy restaurant. And it is the dog that seems to be the reason for her … ahem … open-door policy. But if you are worried, Miss Manners suggests that you politely warn her, “Oh, I don’t think Chez Hughes allows dogs. And I’m pretty sure their bathrooms lock behind them. I hope that that will still work for you.”
Dear Miss Manners: I recently had a falling-out with “Terrence,” whom I’ve known for a long time. Normally, I wouldn’t mention the dispute to anyone else, but I’m pretty sure Terrence has been invited to a mutual friend’s wedding, which I’ll be attending with my wife. There’s a good chance we will be seated at the same table, which would be awkward.
May I contact the mutual friend and request that, if possible, she seat Terrence and me at different tables? I don’t want to drag her into this, and I recognize she has a lot on her plate, but it might be an easy thing to accomplish.
Yes, but you also do not want the mutual friend reporting back to Terrence that you requested the change. Are there other friends with whom you can request to be seated without causing suspicion? As long as you tread carefully and respectfully, Miss Manners will allow asking: “I’m sure that you’ve already put a lot of thought into your seating plan, but it would be wonderful to catch up with the Waltons. Do you have us all seated anywhere yet?”
If it is indeed too late and you find yourself seated next to Terrence, perhaps you can find a subtle way of moving your chair by saying, “We see one another all the time; do you mind switching seats? Hi, my name is …”
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