DEAR MISS MANNERS: My lovely wife and I have been married for two months now. We were both virgins before we wed. I mentioned this detail to my mother a few weeks before the wedding, and since that time she has told everybody she knows. (She has since apologized.)
Therefore, we will be in the supermarket or something and someone will walk up to us and say, "Hey, I heard you two were virgins before you got married. That's great!" Then they want to chat about it, in a casual-topic sort of way. It is intrusive and mortifying. I know my mother told whoever she came into contact with, but I feel that info like that should be kept private! What do we say to these people?
GENTLE READER: "We didn't know we had a choice."
Now wait. Before you shouted "WHAT?" you paused for a minute, didn't you? That's because you were dumbfounded by Miss Manners' suggestion.
This is exactly the effect she intends. You don't want to deny the truth of their comment, but you don't want to admit it, either, because, as you have found, that leads to even more intrusive inquiry and patronizing observations. In that moment that they stand open-mouthed, trying to process the implications of that rejoinder, you should say, "I think the produce aisle is this way" and move on.
Now let's go back to the chief culprit. As preposterous as it is for anyone to make such comments, your mother's monstrous indiscretion misled them into believing that you agreed to make this public knowledge. That she apologized is a good thing, but Miss Manners cautions you to preface any other confidences with warnings not to tell.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: A friend and I recently planned to meet for lunch. As she had been extremely busy at work, I offered to meet her on a Saturday at a location nearer to her home.
After I had waited 20 minutes on the appointed day, I left a voice message at her work (she has no home phone), wondering where she could be. I waited around 15 more minutes, then drove home. The drive and wait amounted to an hour and a half to two hours.
The following week, not having heard from her, I called her office expressing concern for her. I was directed to her extension, leaving me to assume that she was all right and at work. I left her another message wondering what could have happened and saying I hoped everything was OK.
After more than a week, I finally reached her and she informed me that she had been in an accident on the way to meet me. We had a genial conversation, and before we hung up I asked her why she hadn't called me. She answered rather curtly that she had been very busy and had a lot of things on her mind. We hung up on good terms.
I am thinking of terminating my relationship with this person, even though I have a feeling she won't even notice.
What do you think?
GENTLE READER: That she probably wouldn't, and that you probably should. But what worries Miss Manners more is that she often says that the only excuse for not showing up after accepting an appointment is being run over by a truck, and forgot to mention that the victim is supposed to apologize anyway, presuming she is conscious.