DEAR MISS MANNERS: At my drawing class, a few ladies in the class approached the nude model (yes, he was still naked at the time) and commented to him on how their abilities could not "do him justice."
This struck me as being rather improper, even though their intent was to pay a compliment.
What is the protocol in such a situation? When the drawing is not taking place, should one not acknowledge the existence of a naked man in the room unless he specifically addresses you? After the class was over, he passed by me on the street and I wasn't sure if giving him a quiet nod of recognition was appropriate, so I just acted as if I had not recognized him at all. Was this wrong?
GENTLE READER: On two counts. Your classmates should not be making personal remarks to a gentleman who is working, not to mention naked, and he may be assumed to be on duty until he is robed. You, however, should not snub a professional contact encountered outside of work.
Miss Manners dearly hopes that the gentleman assumes that you are nearsighted, rather than that in studying him you had failed to notice his face.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: I received several e-mails (as one of over 50 people on the address list of family, friends, neighbors and co-workers) during a friend's admission to the hospital and through her labor. I assume the expectant father had a laptop at the hospital.
I read more details than I cared to know, and I just about got ill when the e-mail regarding the mother's delivery mentioned that she was doing well but suffered a vaginal tear and episiotomy.
Whatever happened to the long-awaited phone call stating "It's a boy"?
The baby and mother are home and doing well, and I am very happy for them and their family and share in the excitement -- but now we receive weekly e-mails with pictures to be downloaded. This is a special time in their lives, I know, but I think that the new parents might want to cool it.
I hope that people will think about what they are sharing with the world before they click the "address book" button and send personal information to their entire mailing list. Our mothers' custom of sending out birth announcements via snail-mail was a nicer touch than these mass-produced communications, and I prefer getting an annual card with a picture of the kids instead of weekly downloads. Am I just being too prudish and old-fashioned?
GENTLE READER: Here's what happened to "It's a boy": They already told you. Don't you remember, weeks ago, receiving an e-mail with a prenatal picture pointing out the telltale sign?
Miss Manners trusts you have resisted the temptation to go along with the idea of sharing personal information by e-mailing back a picture of your physical symptoms when you saw their picture.