DEAR MISS MANNERS: My wife recently received a phone call out of the blue from a salesperson who wanted to make an in-home sales visit. He was very polite and introduced himself by identifying a friend of hers as the person who gave him her name and phone number.
My wife did not object to receiving the phone call despite the fact that she was not informed of this by her friend beforehand. The visit went well, and now my wife wants to refer the salesman to a number of her own friends.
I caution her that not everyone appreciates being called unexpectedly by salespeople. Although these are her own friends, it is still good etiquette to get their consent before giving their names and phone numbers to the salesman.
She disagrees. Do you think I am overreacting?
GENTLE READER: If your wife believes that no one objects to receiving unsolicited calls from salespeople, tell her about the Do Not Call List. There was a stampede to get on it by people who considered such calls to be a major nuisance in their lives.
But Miss Manners hates to take sides in marital disputes, and there is a simple solution here that should satisfy you both.
Your wife may have reason to know that her friends would be receptive. In such cases, she could give her friends the salesman's number, instead of the other way around.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: My brother is getting married in a couple of weeks, and I have a friend who will be attending the wedding with his life partner. I am not sure what the proper etiquette would be for introducing a gay couple to other friends and relatives. Such as: "Hello, Uncle Al, this is my friend Peter from college. This is his life partner, David."
Would that be appropriate? In normal circumstances I would probably ask my friend ahead of time how he would prefer to be introduced, I'm just not sure if I will be able to get hold of him before the wedding.
GENTLE READER: These are normal circumstances, and the word in use is "partner." Given the statistical likelihood of any couple staying together for life, Miss Manners considers it foolhardy to add the extra word.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: I have a last name which, when I introduce myself to strangers, inspires jokes. While not wanting to seem like a bad sport, I've spent my entire life hearing the same jokes and I am no longer amused. What is the appropriate response?
GENTLE READER: Not to be amused. Not even to pretend to be amused. Miss Manners has a firm rule against joking about people's names, but she is afraid that it is only when faced with a deadpan expression that people understand that this is neither as original nor as cute as they imagine.