Dear Miss Manners: Last week I joined a popular online dating site and went on a first date. He picked me up at my house and took me out to dinner. Unfortunately, from the moment he opened his mouth, I knew we would not be compatible.
I spent the entire evening with a pleasant expression, feigning interest, and counting down until I could go home. He had a good time, and upon following up was shocked to hear that I did not share his feelings.
In retrospect, I felt trapped and helpless on the date and wound up pretending everything was OK.
Is this the appropriate approach, or is it better to be upfront with my feelings and save us both time and the emotional runaround?
Gentle Reader: An activity that used to have the charming and perhaps fanciful name of courtship has become so businesslike that there is a frightening logic to your suggestion.
Yes, announcing, “Sorry; you won’t do” at that moment when the gentleman first opened his mouth would have allowed you both to move on to the next candidates. But at what horrifying sacrifice of the decencies of social behavior? Miss Manners is no advocate of dating services, but even she can recognize that you violated its implicit cautions. You accepted a dinner date with a stranger after – at most – a week of the usual preliminaries, such as exchanging emails and eventually arranging a short meeting on neutral territory.
Having made that commitment, you were obliged to see it through. At what point do you think you could have bolted? On your doorstep, when he introduced himself? During the soup course? Or the dessert? The proper dismissal would have been at the end of dinner, when you express regret that you have a full schedule in the foreseeable future.
Dear Miss Manners: My son is proposing tonight. I want to send her flowers tomorrow. What should the card say?
Gentle Reader: Miss Manners certainly favors welcoming a bride into the family, but recommends allowing the couple to break the news to you together first.
Don’t use teeth
Dear Miss Manners: Please tell me the proper way to open a cracker package in a restaurant.
I know using your teeth is probably not right, but I don’t know the proper alternative.
Gentle Reader: Miss Manners realizes that restaurants are required by health laws to present some items in their commercial wrappings, but that prevents them from being models for correct service.
However, she does agree that using your teeth is not an attractive solution.
If the designated “tear” part of the packaging doesn’t yield, as is so often the case, she recommends attacking it with knife edge or fork prong.