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Miss Manners: A delicate problem with the boss

Reader’s male supervisor is showing his underwear, and she wonders what to do.

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Dear Miss Manners: My boss tucks his shirt into his underwear so that you can sometimes read the underwear brand on the elastic in the front. Is there anything to be done?

A lady does not discuss a gentleman’s underwear — unless she is his wife and is letting him know that she is throwing it out. If a gentleman co-worker is available, Miss Manners recommends you enlist his help in pointing out the problem — as long as he promises to do so discreetly.

Dear Miss Manners: My niece and her husband were married nearly two years ago, and we have been made aware that they never sent thank-you cards for many of the gifts they received. This breach of etiquette was made known from guests inquiring of us about whether we knew if the couple had received their wedding gifts.

Now they are expecting their first child, and I know they will want the aunties to host a baby shower, as is our family custom. Frankly, we are embarrassed and reluctant to send out invitations to another gift event for them, knowing how hurt/ignored many felt not to have their previous gifts acknowledged. I know of no polite way to tell my niece that this is a problem, and yet I really don't want to host and thereby sanction their rude behavior.

As loving aunties — and soon to be grand-aunties — you are in the unique position to help this couple maintain goodwill among friends and family.

“We would love to host a shower for you, but want to make sure that you have the time to acknowledge presents if the guests bring them. Perhaps we can help you gather addresses and facilitate letter-writing.”

If this plan is met with resistance, then Miss Manners authorizes you to defer hosting the party, saying that you simply do not have the time — perhaps politely pointing out that it is probably the same excuse the couple had for not sending those thank-you letters in the first place.

Dear Miss Manners: I invited my sister and two cousins out to lunch. When it came time to order, I ordered first, and then the waiter asked for my guests' orders. Later, my sister said she was mortified, because the hostess always orders last.

Did I commit a social faux pas? Usually I will order first so as to set the tone of the price.

Proper manners would be for the host to ask their guests what they wanted first, and then to order for the table. But Miss Manners has noticed that this has gone out of favor, particularly when it is abused by menu-splainers too eager to show off their culinary knowledge and ignore their guests’ tastes.

However, making recommendations and setting the tone for, if not price, then certainly the breadth of the menu, is an excellent idea. It helps cue guests that three courses may be encouraged, but ordering carryout for the week is not.

New Miss Manners columns are posted Monday through Saturday on washingtonpost.com/advice. You can send questions to Miss Manners at her website, missmanners.com.

2018, by Judith Martin

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