Dear Miss Manners: While staying at my boyfriend’s family’s cabin for a holiday weekend, we encountered a generation gap in diet styles. His parents, in their efforts to “treat” us, prepared three meat-and-potatoes-type meals each day, like bacon, pancakes and potatoes for breakfast, and dessert at each meal.
In addition, they asked us again and again to “finish up the last serving,” in many cases stuffing us to the point of indigestion. We arrived with some of our own groceries, primarily vegetables, yogurt and fruit, in an attempt to pre-empt some of this, to no avail.
How can we convey our healthier eating preferences without hurting their feelings? My boyfriend and I are both fit and active. His parents have heart conditions and high cholesterol.
Gentle Reader: That makes it easier. Not on them, of course, but on you. You should not be dealing with your appetites, but with theirs. Their son must start with an expression of serious concern about their health, and a plea that they at least try to eat more sensibly.
You must stay out of this, only jumping in enthusiastically when he asks that they let the two of you cook for them for a weekend, promising that you will both do your best to make the food enticing.
Miss Manners cautions you not to speak of this as a diet, and not to notice if they are sneaking food on the side. At the very least, you will have had a weekend to your taste, and perhaps even have benefited them.
Deflecting nosy queries
Dear Miss Manners: I am an artist and participate in many art shows. Generally these shows and festivals are on the weekends, open to the public. Often they are set up on city streets and in parks.
Many times, people will ask if my work is selling. It usually is, “Are you selling anything? Making any money?” Sometimes it is worse – people think nothing of asking if I am actually making a living. I want to be polite, but I also want to try to make them understand this is not an appropriate question.
How should I respond to these questions?
Gentle Reader: Try, “Yes, I went into it for the money. What I really dreamed of doing, ever since I was a small child, was to become a stockbroker.”
Wearing red to wedding
Dear Miss Manners: Is it inappropriate to wear a red dress to a wedding? Somewhere I heard that it was a statement to say that you opposed the marriage.
Gentle Reader: There has been a ban on wedding guests wearing red. It was considered too racy for a wedding. Now that brides want to look racy, Miss Manners considers that a lost cause.
Theatergoers are rude
Dear Miss Manners: I have noticed that during New York Broadway shows, there is an increasing habit by usually wealthy, older patrons to open candy and eat/chew during the show. These tickets are not cheap, and I am wondering what to do about this. I have tried the “stare,” asking ushers, etc., and still the shows are being treated as $5 movies by the patrons. What to do as the next step?
Gentle Reader: You are not alone in believing that attendees at more expensive events should have better manners, or in observing that they do not.
However, while Miss Manners sympathizes with your frustration she believes that courtesy should be as common in the cheap seats as in the boxes.
The next step, when complaining to the ushers about the audience doesn’t work, is to complain about the ushers to the management.