DEAR MISS MANNERS: What am I supposed to do with an iced tea spoon after stirring my iced tea? Usually, there is no saucer to put it on, and I don't want to leave a spot on the tablecloth.
My husband insists that you said to leave the spoon in the glass while drinking, but, having a history of clumsy, unintentional, self-inflicted wounds, I am truly afraid of the damage I might do. (It's scary enough having to manage sharp objects like knives and forks; please don't make me hold a stick that close to my nose and eyes!)
The same messy spoon problem arises when I'm presented with a mug of tea, except then I also have a dripping teabag to deal with. Where is that supposed to go?
GENTLE READER: Please inform your husband that Miss Manners said no such thing. If she had to choose between drinking with a spoon in the glass and ruining the tablecloth, the tablecloth would have to go. Those are more easily repaired than noses and eyes.
Your hosts should not have forced you to make that choice. Saucers -- or small, silver spoon rests, which were invented at the same time that putting ice into tea was -- should be provided. In their absence, and the absence of any nearby plate or coaster, you may inquire of them where they would like you to park your spoon or (ugh) wet tea bag.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: My husband is Iranian and has a thick accent. When we visited some friends whose daughter was playing on the computer, he jokingly said she looked like "a mini hacker." Unfortunately, it came out sounding like "a mini hooker."
Our friends were horrified and insulted -- they started defending her "trendy" clothing and hairstyle to my very confused husband. I told them "she looks lovely" and tried to change the subject, but I feel we have done permanent damage.
My husband didn't realize his mistake until we were driving home, when I told him.
What do we say? I said he should apologize for saying she looked like a "hacker" and hope they will figure out the rest. Please help.
GENTLE READER: Why didn't you help him when you had the chance? Surely it is the first duty of a spouse to throw out a lifeline when husband or wife has ventured out too far and is flailing around helplessly in danger of drowning.
You should have burst immediately into gales of giggles, saying, "Did you think he said 'hooker'? He said 'hacker'! He's talking about her computer skills, not her sweet looks. Honey, do you realize what they think you said?" And he could have added his horrified protest, to the amusement of all.
Now Miss Manners is afraid it will have to be done seriously. Your notion of pretending not to have realized their mistake will be workable if he doesn't just substitute the word -- let's not add any handwriting confusion here -- but apologizes at length, explaining that he did not in the least mean to suggest that their daughter broke into other people's computers.