Dear Miss Manners: I have worked as a custodian at a university dorm for over 15 years. I keep a professional and friendly relationship with students and staff.
Each year, it seems that the student population using the male restrooms has gotten worse. Increased biohazards from vomit and blood, broken liquor bottles — but the worst is the constant refusal to flush the toilets. Multiple people urinating and defecating in the same unflushed toilet!
I have talked with staff and students on the need for better hygiene for healthier restrooms for all, posted signs, etc. Staff have talked to students, all to no avail. Management refuses to educate because it isn't their job to teach restroom habits. What can I do?
While Miss Manners can sympathize with educators not wanting to teach this particular lesson, there is another solution: signage in the bathrooms, perhaps saying, “If this is the way you prefer the bathroom be kept, I will try not to disturb your arrangements.”
This will either amuse or annoy the students, but she would have thought that you would not much care which, so long as it brings the problem to their attention.
Dear Miss Manners: I will be receiving European guests who have never eaten lobster, but who are very much into the correct protocol of doing things.
Where is the proper place to put utensils such as sharp knives, picks or even nutcrackers that might be needed for the lobsters? I would like them to have the real maritime experience of eating lobsters.
Picks and nutcrackers go to the right, with the knives. Whether this will give your guests the real maritime experience of eating lobsters will, Miss Manners believes, depend on the energy and enthusiasm of your other guests.
Dear Miss Manners: I was verbally informed to "save the date" for a wedding 10 months in advance by the fiance of a young friend whom I have known since birth. This wedding is to take place overseas, which I readily agreed upon.
Long story short, it doesn't seem that I made the invitation list — and let me state, I understand weddings and am mature enough to not take any lack of invitation personally.
What I am asking for is a script to say to this young couple that will take the burden of any discomfort off them. I love them regardless of any invitation. This would not even be a situation, had I not been given the save-the-date request.
Again, I love them, support them and am not insulted in the slightest.
Be warned that the script requires you to act upon a polite fiction — addressed not to these rude, if (you say) lovable, people, but to yourself.
Miss Manners is using “fiction” here in the sense not of embellishment, but of intentional untruth. Tell yourself that you were invited, but that you were unable to attend because of a prior commitment. If you keep this in mind, you will then be able to say to the couple how happy you are for them and how sorry you were to have missed the wedding — without its causing the discomfort they deserve.