Dear Miss Manners:
At a recent ordination, due to dehydration, lack of sleep, a lengthy bus ride, incense and a long period of kneeling, I fainted during the litany of the saints. Coming to a few moments later, I found myself the subject of concerned attentions from my family and a few individuals in neighboring pews. My mother and I went to the back of the basilica, where I recovered quickly.
Though of course looking after one's well-being by drinking water, putting one's head down, etc., are necessary, and though I hope never to repeat the experience, I am curious as to what the etiquette for such situations and for fainting in general is.
The etiquette of fainting is not to do it. It disrupts whatever is going on and frightens bystanders. And if you insist upon doing it, you should bring along a sofa on which to sink gracefully.
Miss Manners hopes you find this information of practical use. Perhaps she should add that these instructions are trumped by the fact that fainting is a time-honored way of freeing oneself momentarily from the restrictions of etiquette.
Dear Miss Manners:
My boyfriend and I announced our engagement four months ago. We have not set a date yet, as we are still trying to figure out the details of our wedding. We told everyone that it would probably happen in the fall of 2006, but we weren't certain.
My fiance's closest sister, who is older than he and is not married, was happy for us when she heard the news but also a bit jealous. You see, she has been living with the same man for 10 years and she very much wants a family and he has yet to commit.
Much to everyone's surprise, she suddenly announced that she, too, was getting married and the wedding would be this January! I am very upset because I feel that she is being inconsiderate by not waiting for my fiance and I to set our date, and now their family has to attend two weddings in one year! What is the proper etiquette, if any, that she should have followed in setting her wedding date?
Are you suggesting that since she has waited 10 years for a husband and children already, she might as well wait another year so that you can have the spotlight all to yourself? Or rather, that she should do so out of courtesy to the poor relatives who might face the hardship of attending two weddings in a single year?
Miss Manners finds it imprudent of you to have brought up the question of jealousy. Let us assume that your prospective sister-in-law is getting married because she wants to, as you acknowledge, and because the gentleman is willing, which you oddly fail to acknowledge but is surely a prerequisite. Let us also assume that she sees her marriage as living her life, rather than trying to top yours, and that she wishes you and her brother well, which she has indicated.
Miss Manners is hoping to hear that you can manage to behave as if you had the same attitude.
Dear Miss Manners:
My wife recently received a phone call out of the blue from a salesperson who wanted to make an in-home sales visit. He was very polite and introduced himself by identifying a friend of hers as the person who gave him her name and phone number.
My wife did not object to receiving the phone call despite the fact that she was not informed of this by her friend beforehand. The visit went well, and now my wife wants to refer the salesman to a number of her own friends.
I caution her that not everyone appreciates being called unexpectedly by salespeople. Although these are her own friends, it is still good etiquette to get their consent before giving their names and phone numbers to the salesman.
She disagrees. Do you think I am overreacting?
If your wife believes that no one objects to receiving unsolicited calls from salespeople, tell her about the Do Not Call List. There was a stampede to get on it by people who considered such calls to be a major nuisance in their lives.
But Miss Manners hates to take sides in marital disputes, and there is a simple solution here that should satisfy you both.
Your wife may have reason to know that her friends would be receptive. In such cases, she could give her friends the salesman's number, instead of the other way around.
Feeling incorrect? E-mail your etiquette questions to Miss Manners (who is distraught that she cannot reply personally) at MissManners@unitedmedia.com or mail to United Media, 200 Madison Ave., New York, N.Y. 10016.
(c) 2005, Judith Martin