Q. I am almost 15 years old, and I would be happy if I had a girl friend. Some of the boys in my class date, but so far, I haven't had any luck.
My reason for wanting a girl friend is not only what you probably already think. I am talking about a special girl I could talk to all the time. My parents just manage to tolerate me, sometimes not even that. School is even worse. If I had a girl I could tell all this to, I could get along, and maybe I wouldn't mind so much about the others.
So far, I'm a long way away from it. I go to the school dances, where there are a lot of girls and not too many boys, but when I ask a girl to dance, she'll make some dumb excuse, or the girls give each other funny looks and laugh instead of talking to me. I can't stand much more of that.
I don't think there is anything wrong with me. I just don't know what the secret is of being popular, and it doesn't have to be popular with lots of girls. Just one would do if she's the right one.
A. Many people who are older but no wiser than you also believe one can attract love by looking badly in need of it. This is a mistaken notion. At best, you may attract someone with a social-worker approach to romance who will therefore, immediately after making you happy, want to move on.
If looking like a problem in search of a solution is not sexually irresistible, looking like someone with a solution is. The secret to popularity is looking as if you had discovered the secret of a happy life, whether or not you have. You may then, once someone has fallen in love with you have a sudden relapse into misery and expect her sympathy to help.
Q. What is the proper way to shake hands when being introduced to someone who has accidentally lost his/her right hand? This situation occurs often enough to me in my work (sales and management) to risk embarrassing the less-fortunate person. If he extends his left, do you extend your left or right? If he extends his right (artificial or stump), do you extend your right and shake his (a) artificial, or (b) his right forearm or shoulder? Several people have the same question and none of us has found a satisfactory answer -- "social grades" columnists have usually responded with "do whatever you think is right" or some such non-responsive answer. I'd like to know what you think.
A. Miss Manners is fully sensible of the fact that if everyone did whatever she or he thought was right, Mis Manners would be out of business. Please do not take it as non-responsiveness, therefore, if she tells you that neither she nor you is the person who knows best what the amputee would feel most comfortable doing.
That individual -- the one with the hand missing -- must therefore take the lead in this common social situation. Some people extend a left hand, others extend the right arm or artificial device affixed to it. All you need to know is that you always shake hands with your right hand.
What you shake is watever is offered to you.
Q. Can you use grape scissors for any function other than cutting grapes?
A. Not unless you pay overtime.