DEAR MISS MANNERS: I have been summoned for jury service. What would be an appropriate dress code for the selection day? If selected, what is recommended for a female juror to wear while in court?
GENTLE READER: There is no shortage of popular role models whose fashion examples in ordinary life may be questionable, but who are impeccable when it comes to dressing for court.
Captains of industry may be confused about the difference between work clothes and sports clothes, and stars of rock and screen may be confused about what it means to get dressed at all, but you can rely on their good taste when they show up in court. To a defendant, they all agree that proper courtroom dress consists of suits with ties for gentlemen, and with knee length skirts for ladies, and little jewelry, none of it attached to unusual parts of the body.
True, citizens who are in court because they have been summoned for jury duty do not generally maintain such a strict standard of propriety. Regrettably, they often appear in the minimum their particular courts will allow, and even more regrettably, some courts allow a minimum just this side of decency.
As you have asked Miss Manners, however, she must declare her agreement with the conservative element, which is to say the celebrity defendants. She believes you should show symbolic respect for our court system, even if your life or liberty does not depend on it.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: When at a luncheon or dinner banquet, where is the proper place to set the used sugar or sugar-substitute package?
GENTLE READER: The same place you park your chewing gum.
No, no, not stuck to the underside of the table. Miss Manners means that you should crumple it so that any properties that might be disgusting to the touch are covered, and put it to one side of the table. Places that serve trash are responsible for collecting it.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: My fiance, Phil, and I have been living together for several months now. I became pregnant about eight months ago and have since developed some problems with social anxiety. Two to three times a week, Phil has friends over. I do not feel very comfortable around them and become nervous when they are over.
I have spoken with Phil several times about this issue, and he is then responsive and lets me know that they are going to leave at a specific time.
Sometimes these guests stay in excess of an hour or two past the pre-arranged departure time we set for them. Phil is too passive to say anything to the guests, but I am not, but also I do not wish to be rude in trying to "kick them out." We are basically looking for suggestions on how to make our guests understand when their presence in our home is no longer welcome, effectively but nicely at the same time.
GENTLE READER: Hang on there: Help is on the way. Miss Manners knows a raft of reasonably polite ways to speed the parting guest, but none so effective as handing them the baby and saying, "I'll be right back."