What should I say when a friend says "... because I'm fat" and then pauses for my reaction?
Your object must be to get out of that line of conversation immediately. Miss Manners assures you that no good will come of it.
Paradoxically, people who fish for such contradictions are unable to accept them. Saying “No, you’re not” will only make you look like a weasel, even if the person is not what you would consider fat. Offering euphemisms such as “You’re just pleasingly plump” will only serve as a confirmation rather than a contradiction.
So make good use of that pause to ask an irrelevant question.
Dear Miss Manners: What is the origin of the practice of a man kissing a lady's hand? Also, are there rules about it? Etiquette do's and don'ts? Married, single, old, young, time, place? Other guys' girlfriends or wives?
This was a medieval gesture of respect for a lady — not practiced in America, and barely surviving elsewhere today. (Miss Manners is speaking of the ritual greeting, not of any nibbling that might be practiced by amorous gentlemen.) It is properly directed only to married ladies, and the kiss is not supposed to land on the hand, but just above it.
Nowadays, a lady who offered the back of her hand to a gentleman would only bewilder him. Rather, if she is meeting an elderly foreigner whom she suspects of old-fashioned gallantry, she should be on the alert to put out her hand at a slight angle so that he may either kiss it or shake it.
Dear Miss Manners: I am 10 and I sent my cousins presents I bought online. Each present was around $20, and they were supposed to arrive on their birthdays and had notes typed by me on them.
When it was their birthdays, I asked them about the presents and they didn't say "thank you" to me. I also visited virtually with them a few times after that, and they didn't say thank you or even mention the presents, which made me sad.
To help resolve this, should I let them know how I feel, or should I not send them any more presents so that I don't feel bad?
Yours is one of the most frequent questions Miss Manners is asked, but this is the first time a young person has done so. Usually this is cast as a generational problem — that the young fail to respond to the generosity of their elders.
But perhaps that is because the young are given presents before they are in a position to give presents to others. If they have not been taught gratitude, they simply fail to consider that their benefactors deserve feedback.
Forced thanks would not be genuine, and it seems a waste to give presents to people who do not appreciate getting them.
2021, by Judith Martin