Miss Manners: No Need to Waste Hospitality on Boorish Neighbors
Dear Miss Manners: We have moved to a small town in a popular wine-growing region, and our next-door neighbor is a well-known winemaker. We invited him and his wife over for dinner, and I shared a bottle of one of my favorite (and not inexpensive) wines that I have been collecting for years.
It was delicious, but he drank only a few sips and went into the kitchen and poured his almost-full glass down the drain right in front of me!
Another time, I brought to his house a well-regarded, expensive wine that I had hand-carried back from a visit to a winery in South Africa.
He hardly tasted it, and after dinner I took the open bottle back home rather than have him dump this one too.
We may have different tastes in wine, but I’m thinking that I should not waste my generosity and hospitality on this boor. I should add that he and his wife are often loud and drunk. Am I overreacting?
Gentle Reader: Well, if you really need Miss Manners to tell you that your neighbors are not ideal drinking companions, she cannot say that your reactions are sharp.
Nor are your neighbors’ reactions likely to be, if they are in the habit of over-sampling their product.
You cannot decrease the geographical proximity of your neighbors, but you can increase the social distance.
Reducing it to an occasional wave from across the fence should be about right.
But first you will have to let go of the idea of impressing them with your knowledge of wine.
Dear Miss Manners: I underwent a breast augmentation surgery during the summer, when I was off work anyway for holidays, so I didn’t need to explain to any co-workers why I wasn’t at work.
Some friends and family were aware before, but otherwise I consider it a completely private matter.
I’m surprised to find how many acquaintances and co-workers have asked me about my breasts. (It was a modest increase and I dress very modestly as well … although even if I didn’t, I don’t think that would excuse them from asking.)
Is there some way I can save face in front of people when they ask me if I’m on a new birth control, wearing a new bra or if I’ve had surgery? I don’t want to lie, but I also feel like it’s none of their business.
Gentle Reader: Really? You feel that the size of your breasts is none of your co-workers’ business?
In that case, Miss Manners would expect you to have a bit more conviction about rebuffing these inquiries.
They do not arise from compassionate concern about your health.
They are lewd, as well as nosy, and the correct response is nothing more than a frosty “I beg your pardon!” followed by a silent stare. Far from being meant literally, those words are an indication that the questioners should beg yours.
D ear Miss Manners: On the invitation for a birthday party for a 2-year-old, the parents had the child registered for gifts.
I was under the impression that you register for a bridal shower or first baby shower. I thought it was quite rude to ask for gifts for a child’s birthday.
I was not brought up this way. Am I wrong or were they?
Gentle Reader: All right, everyone, that is quite enough. Has Miss Manners been too subtle about her position on Gimme Lists?
Registries are never proper. Not for weddings, not for baby showers and not for birthdays; not for christenings, bar mitzvahs, quinceaneras, sweet sixteens, graduations, engagements or debutante balls; not for announcing gender, changing gender, getting a job, losing a job, buying a house, divorcing, retiring or dying.
It is simply never polite to ask someone to buy you a present.
Everyone is just going to have to go through life’s milestones without thinking of them as free shopping sprees.
Miss Manners is written by Judith Martin, her son, Nicholas Ivor Martin, and her daughter, Jacobina Martin.
You are invited to email your etiquette questions from www.missmanners.com, if you promise to use the black or blue-black ink you’ll save by writing those thank you, condolence and congratulations letters you owe.