DEAR MISS MANNERS: I received a really beautiful pocket watch as a Christmas gift, and I was wondering what the proper way to wear it would be. I would like to wear it to an upcoming event where I will be wearing a three-piece suit. On one end of the chain is the watch, and on the other is a small gold pocketknife. Do I put each of them in a different vest pocket, or hang the knife end from a button?
GENTLE READER: Congratulations -- you are going to make anyone who flashes the clunky, rich-guy wristwatch he got for Christmas look crude.
But not if you hang a knife out. In a style set by dear Prince Albert, the chain is drawn across a gentleman's waist from one vest pocket to the other. It is not a clothesline on which anything is hung and the buttons are uninvolved. The chain is anchored by the watch in one pocket and a trinket, in your case the knife, in the other.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: My 26-year-old daughter, who has lived in the same city as I since she graduated from college, started dating a state police officer about nine months ago. We socialized several times, although the busy schedules of my daughter and her boyfriend didn't allow us much time to be together.
When my daughter decided to move about 90 miles away to go to graduate school, her boyfriend went with her and they started to live together. He, however, still works in the city where I live, as his transfer has not yet come through.
I've been a bit surprised that I haven't heard from him as he's in the city every day. I've thought he might call and invite me out to lunch. After all, he is likely to be a part of my daughter's life for some time -- maybe permanently. They have spent holidays with his parents -- I think my daughter has seen them, who live far away, as often as I have seen her boyfriend.
Am I wrong to think that it would be courteous and appropriate of him to give me a call? Or should I be the one to make the first move? (I mentioned this dilemma to a friend and she thought I was totally crazy to think that he had any obligation to make contact with me.)
GENTLE READER: You have no idea how difficult it is for Miss Manners to say, "Why are you standing on ceremony; why can't you just be friendly?" That's what everyone says when about to take unwarranted liberties. In general, the world could use a lot more attention to ceremony, and a lot less clumsy improvising.
However, in this case she can't help herself. Doubtless the young couple visited his parents because they were graciously urged to do so. Besides, unless the young man is making a formal call to ask for your daughter's hand, ceremony requires the elder to do the inviting.