DEAR MISS MANNERS: I have a quick question regarding when an engagement ring should be worn and who should be wearing it. I have struggled with my fiance and this issue for about a year. I need help.
GENTLE READER: What do you mean, a quick question? Miss Manners will be pondering for days what on Earth it is that you and your fiance are quarreling about. Is he not handing over a ring, and is it because he doesn't want to buy one or because he wants to wear it himself?
An engagement ring is worn by a lady who is engaged, although it is perfectly respectable to be engaged without one; she may wear it ever after if the engagement leads to marriage.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: I was invited by friends to spend a day boating on a local river. It turned out to be a sunny, clear and quite humid day, and as we were on an open-console boat, there was no cover under which to take refuge from those overpowering rays. I was wearing shorts, a T-shirt, and sunglasses, but the heat still overtook me and I grew quite concerned that I would become sick. We had not planned on swimming and did not have bathing suits.
I politely suggested we return to land where I might find some air conditioning. My friends suggested that, instead, I remove my shorts and T-shirt and sit or swim in my undergarments since "they look just like a bathing suit."
My undergarments may be modest but they are, well, undergarments and not a bathing suit. In fact, my actual bathing suit is also modest and looks nothing like my undergarments.
Not only that, but I was the only single person on board; everyone else was part of a couple. I didn't think it appropriate for me to expose my undergarments, particularly around the men. I said nothing about my true feelings -- I was actually horrified -- but I did decline the suggestion.
Everyone onboard began to chide me for being "so tight and prudish." It didn't matter how many times I said I was uncomfortable removing my clothes, the teasing continued until we finally reached dry land.
It's certainly rude, but is it not also a bit strange that a party of people was encouraging a woman to remove her clothes? No one else seemed interested in doing the same. If they were interested, I still would not have done it. Because of this incident I have severely limited my time with these people, but my roommate says that I'm overreacting.
GENTLE READER: One cannot help reacting to the discovery that friends are indifferent to one's welfare. Miss Manners was willing to believe that yours were only concerned with your physical welfare (somewhat mixed with a reluctance to dock) when they made the suggestion. But when they began to taunt you, it suggested a less wholesome motive that you, with the advantage of knowing them, may have good reason to suspect.