Q. My problem is ludicrous, but is causing a rift between my mother and husband. Situation: We are eating dinner and the telephone rings. I answer and state that we are at dinner and ask if I may return the call.
My mother becomes offended and thinks my husband dictates my decision to talk or not. Which is correct etiquette -- to eat and converse on the telephone, or to excuse myself from conversing? My husband and I both work, so dinner is a time for us to discuss daily events, etc.
A. There are two gross transgressions of etiquette in the situation you describe. One is listening to someone else's remarks on the telephone, and the other is interfering between husband and wife. You may notice that the same person committed both of them. Miss Manners is opposed to correcting another, especially one's mother, unless it can be done without hurting feelings, but she can assure you that you have done nothing wrong. Certainly no telephone call, except an emergency, should be allowed to disrupt one's dinner.
Q. I am a lady who cannot bring myself to wear white before Memorial Day (or after Labor Day for that matter). Fortunately, I am not a nurse. The dictum is inscribed within my mind somewhere near "Do not murder." Although I see many women (ah -- but I am a "lady," as I noted) sporting this color already, and its allowability would delightfully complement my spring wardrobe, I just can't do it. Am I hopelessly outdated?
A. Is the law against murder outdated?
Q. What is the correct way to eat salt-water taffy?
A. With the mouth closed. Actually, that is the way to eat all food, but salt-water taffy is the only food capable of enforcing the rule.