Dear Miss Manners: An annoyance that I have run into consistently since I was in high school is how to respond to comments made about my body and face. (I am fluent in sarcasm, but attempt to keep those comments to myself.)
These comments are insufferable. "Skinny-shaming" is just as prevalent as fat-shaming, and while I lead a healthy lifestyle and have no body image issues whatsoever, I am tired of hearing that I am the "skinny one" or that I need to "eat a cheeseburger."
I eat many cheeseburgers, thank you very much, and to have the hard work I put in to keep myself fit denigrated is extremely annoying. My body mass is nobody's business but my own, but I am constantly subjected to other opinions anyway.
Youth and slimness are unduly valued in Western society, and annoying as they may be, comments to that effect are meant as high praise.
Take them for how they are kindly, if awkwardly, intended. A curt, weak, tight-lipped smile is all that is needed in response.
Miss Manners has decreed over and over again that one must refrain from commenting on others’ personal appearance, especially the relative size of the human form, but to little avail. She will continue the fight, if you will promise not to fuel the battle.
Dear Miss Manners: I am the only person in my family to move out of state, having moved across the country to find work. Everyone in my family feels that it is my obligation to make a yearly trip home to visit.
These trips are financially taxing, but I have made them regardless. The last visit, most of my family did not take time off their work or extracurricular activities to spend time with me. In fact, not a single member of my family went out of their way to spend time with me.
The last day of my visit, no one was available, so I decided to leave a day early. This caused an uproar with my family, who felt I was being selfish and immature.
I had several cousins message me with woeful, "Why didn't you come see me while you were here?" messages. Miss Manners, I drove 1,500 miles. I feel that they could have managed 15!
I am fed up with their feeling entitled to my presence and treating my moving away as some horrible crime against the family that I must rectify with yearly trips. I told my family that I would host anyone who wished to see me in my home state, but I will not be traveling home next year. They think I'm being unfair.
Is it possible that while your family may well want to see you, it just might be difficult for them — as it would be for you — to drop everything when you are there? Miss Manners fears that your anger and perception of their resentment is coloring your more reasonable judgment here. Before your next trip, try to make concrete plans with any interested members — and do your best to rid yourself of the angry subtext that is making it more strained for all.