DEAR MISS MANNERS: I date strictly outside of my race, and I am never sure how to inform people politely that my family is interracial. My children do not look mixed at all, which creates a problem as well.
When men who are not of my preference approach me on the street, I try to tell them politely that they are not my type, but they continue to press the issue. I hate to be so blunt about it when I tell them that I do not date men of my race, but sometimes this causes even more problems. How can I politely inform people of this without being offensive?
I would also like to know how to bring up my preference at the office. I am working at a new office where everyone is very laid back and social with each other. My co-workers are constantly having get-togethers, which include their families. Since I am not currently seeing anyone, I am becoming the subject of matchmaking.
How can I tell my co-workers that I date exclusively outside of my race? Please try to find time to address this. I know there are others out there like me.
GENTLE READER: Let us hope not. Miss Manners is not crazy about racists (even self-referential ones) who pick up their social life on the street.
There is no polite way to declare that this is what you are. She can only suggest that you keep it decently hidden from your co-workers by merely letting it be known that you do not care to be the subject of any matchmaking. As for those who attempt to pick you up on the street, you could pretend to be respectable and ignore them.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: We live in an apartment in a large apartment building and try to be considerate of our neighbors, in part by not making loud noises during inappropriate times of day. Please tell us, when exactly are those times?
If you would be so kind, please address the use of a vacuum cleaner specifically. After what hour of the morning and before what hour of the evening is it appropriate to run the vacuum cleaner in an apartment? Also, are these times the same all seven days of the week, or are there extended hours on weekends?
We assure Miss Manners that we do avoid making loud noises at all times throughout the day, but we would like some advice for those times when it is unavoidable.
GENTLE READER: The advice is: Talk to the people who live in the apartment next to yours on the right. Talk to the people who live in the apartment next to yours on the left. Talk to the people who live in the apartment above you. And talk to the people who live in the apartment below you. If you know their habits, you may be able to work out a vacuuming schedule that suits them without unduly inconveniencing yourself.
Miss Manners realizes that this involves making four inquiries as opposed to the one that you made to her. But she can only tell you the generalities -- that reasonable quiet should be maintained approximately from 10 p.m. until 8 a.m. and until 10 a.m. on weekends. It may turn out that your actual neighbors are on the night shift, have invalids or babies who keep odd hours, or were hoping themselves to vacuum at midnight.