I Love Talking About Religion With My Stupid Rude Friends Whose Religions Offend Me!
Miss Manners, 31 May 2013:
DEAR MISS MANNERS: I have a genuine fascination with cultures and religions that are not my own. I know it is incredibly rude to pester people about this, so I usually find answers to my questions online or in books. However, a somewhat close friend of mine shared a mutual curiosity about religion, and we had an interesting conversation about our (very different) faiths. Curious about the concept of Hell, I asked her, “If I was a good person all my life, a kind, giving, completely unselfish person, yet someone who believes differently, would I go to Hell?” She told me in no uncertain terms that I would. Was this rude of her? Logically, I know I asked for it. But it felt as though she was telling me I was going to Hell for having a different religion. Should I be offended? Must I avoid the topic of religion at all times in the future? I know that it is a largely personal and inflammatory topic, but I am eager to have open and honest conversations about it. Is this impossible?
I doubt you are ever going to have open and honest conversations about religion when your extremely rude, thoughtless conversation partners invariably choose not to tell you what you want to hear in order to make you feel better and shore up your worldview, which is an extremely inflammatory and personal thing to do to another person who just wants to be told that they’re right and everyone else is wrong forever.
“There are three possible parts to a date, of which at least two must be offered: entertainment, food, and affection. It is customary to begin a series of dates with a great deal of entertainment, a moderate amount of food, and the merest suggestion of affection. As the amount of affection increases, the entertainment can be reduced proportionately. When the affection IS the entertainment, we no longer call it dating. Under no circumstances can the food be omitted.”—Judith “Miss Manners” Martin
“Miss Manners' solution to adjusting the conventional salutation to an age in which women are as likely to be in business as men, is to use 'Mesdames' or 'Dear Madam,' under the assumption that a well-run business is run by women. If she sends a letter of complaint, she uses 'Gentlemen' or 'Dear Sir.'”—Miss Manners’ Guide to Excruciatingly Correct Behavior by Judith Martin, published 1983
“Some people are quite rude to women they meet socially these days, asking them right off "What do you do?" as if they wouldn't be worth talking to unless they had professional affiliations. Others are quite rude by not asking women what they do, as if to assume that they wouldn't be doing anything professionally. Social life is so much more interesting now than it was when there was only one way for a gentleman to insult a lady. Miss Manners herself has managed to alienate various gentlemen who have asked her, "Do you work?" or "Do you still work?" or "Do you work full time?" simply by replying to each, "Oh, yes; do you?" Gentlemen are so touchy. ”—Miss Manners’ Guide to Excruciatingly Correct Behavior, Judith Martin, published 1982. The origin of “gentlemen are so touchy.”
What Does A Man Do At A Restaurant, Part 4028
Miss Manners, 10 May 2013:
Dear Miss Manners:
Who should a husband seat first at the dinner table, his mother or his wife?
The one he loves the most.
“There are three possible parts to a date, of which at least two must be offered: entertainment, food, and affection. It is customary to begin a series of dates with a great deal of entertainment, a moderate amount of food, and the merest suggestion of affection. As the amount of affection increases, the entertainment can be reduced proportionately. When the affection IS the entertainment, we no longer call it dating. Under no circumstances can the food be omitted.”—Miss Manners (Judith Perlman Martin, Wellesley Class of 1959)
I am a gentleman in my 20s!
Miss Manners, 26 April 2013:
DEAR MISS MANNERS: I am a gentleman in my 20s and work in a very large office building. I am absolutely smitten (!) by a most angelic young lady who also works in the building. We cross paths in the lobby at least weekly and exchange repeated glances and smiles.
Unfortunately, I know nothing about her except that we work for different employers (she rides a different elevator bank), so getting a proper introduction seems impossible. I know from reading your column that a gentleman wouldn’t try to pick up a stranger in public, nor would a lady respond to such an overture. However, in such a situation, isn’t it permissible for a lady to “accidentally” drop her handkerchief in the gentleman’s direction, he picks it up and offers it back, thus giving these two strangers a legitimate reason to engage in conversation? If so, is there a similar maneuver that a gentleman may use?
Did I mention I am absolutely smitten (!)? I know you don’t dispense dating advice, but I would really appreciate your help here.
Have you considered casually tossing your monocle at her skirts?
“A ceremony is not a show, and the emotion connected with it is supposed to be derived from participating in a known ritual, not from being diverted by jokes and surprises. The tendency to undercut ceremonies -- which is being done frequently, not just at graduations but at weddings and even funerals -- all but directs the participants and audience to be bored. And by the way, it is not itself amusing.”—Judith Martin (Miss Manners)
“DEAR MISS MANNERS: What am I supposed to say when I am introduced to a homosexual "couple"? GENTLE READER: "How do you do?" "How do you do?”—
Judith Martin, Miss Manner’s Guide to Excruciatingly Correct Behavior
I love Miss Manners, for her unwavering desire to treat all people with respect. sometimes, she writes about how good it feels to respond to awful people with unflinching politeness, as a subtle form of shaming disrespectful behavior. here, Miss Manners has done just that. she fails to take the homophobic bait of the writer and instead provides them with an answer that is both correct and delightfully to the point- an excruciatingly polite smackdown that says Miss Manners is not going to give you her approval to be an asshole to gay people, gentle reader.
you can usually find a copy of this book for under $5 at thrift shops, and I reccomend it. you might think that someone with an encyclopedic knowledge of etiquette would be boring, but Judith Martin is a kind, witty woman who clearly enjoys what she writes about.