Advice archives

DEAR MISS MANNERS: A new chairman was recently hired for my department. He and his wife have been in town a few months and are gradually getting to know the rest of the faculty.

Miss Manners, the wife's hairstyle is frankly grotesque. She wears it wildly teased and sprayed like a country singer from the '70s. She is a nice lady, but everyone is tittering and making derisive comments behind her back. Can she (and her husband) truly be unaware of how inappropriate she looks? How, if at all, should this be addressed?

GENTLE READER: Does your college have a coiffure code? And do you really propose to enforce one unilaterally?

Miss Manners warns you that to level criticism in any way will make your life a misery. You would only be asking people to judge your own stylistic choices.

Besides, there is only so much that can be done with hair, and therefore styles have a way of reappearing as if new. For all you know, the students, who weren't born in the '70s, might love and imitate this look, and you could soon see it all around the campus.

DEAR MISS MANNERS: My son will graduate from high school, and we intend to celebrate by throwing a joint party with one of his friends. This shindig will be on a Sunday at noon and include a buffet lunch, with our two families inviting our own family and friends as well as a group of families who are in both of our circles. My question is how we word the invitation(s).

At first I thought our family would issue an invitation to our guest list just mentioning my son and the celebration, and my friend would do the same for her son. But now I'm wondering if any of our guests who come would be made uncomfortable to arrive at our home to discover that another young man is celebrating at the same time.

But, by adding his name onto our invitation, would we be implying we expect some sort of recognition to both young men? What we really want is our guests to feel welcome to enjoy the food and friendship free of any expectations on our part. Should each family issue its own invitation, or should we do some sort of joint invitation to all?

GENTLE READER: Here is another way to honor your son and his friend: Have them issue the invitations, not to honor themselves, of course, but to celebrate their graduation.

Miss Manners would consider it a gracious sign, to them as well as to their guests, that they are growing up and have reached a milestone of independence.

DEAR MISS MANNERS: My very proper friend and her brother both tell me that it is rude to talk about how well (or poorly) one slept. I'm 66 years young, and I've never heard that admonition before. Have I been sleeping under a rock?

GENTLE READER: If so, you probably should tell someone who can help you to find more comfortable accommodations.

Otherwise, such bulletins should be addressed only to those who are presumed to have a real interest, such as hosts, doctors and people who are worried about your well-being. Most people don't even want to hear your dreams.

Also, Miss Manners must gently inform you that as you want to present yourself as young, this is not the way to go about it.

Miss Manners is the pseudonym of Judith Martin. Miss Manners runs Mondays and Wednesdays. Contact her at dearmissmanners@gmail.com.