DEAR MISS MANNERS: I have always been under the impression that when a person makes a telephone call, it is the caller who assumes financial responsibility for the conversation, except in situations where the charges are specifically "reversed." Cell phones seem to have changed these rules.
Many people now have "unlimited long-distance" plans with their cell phone company when calling other cell phone users within the same company. I do not have this kind of plan with my company and pay a high price for my minutes, whether I'm making or receiving a call. (This plan is most economical for me since I very rarely use my phone except for emergencies.)
People with these unlimited long-distance plans will call me on my cell phone because it's "free" for them, but it's rather expensive for me. What's the most polite way to ask them to call me on my landline, even though it will cost them more to do so?
GENTLE READER: "Would you mind calling me back on my landline, please?" If the caller demurs, Miss Manners suggests a chorus of "What? What? What did you say?"
There are other phrases you might find handy:
When you are asked for your cellular telephone number, it is perfectly proper to say, "Oh, I never have it on. It's quicker to reach me by -- " home telephone, office telephone, e-mail address, regular address or whatever method you prefer. Or you can say, "I'm afraid it's hard to reach me. Why don't you give me your number?"
DEAR MISS MANNERS: My husband and I have been married for six wonderful months and we are both attorneys. I have been intending to order some formal stationery but I am confused about how to properly identify ourselves.
I had been advised to write out our names as Mr. and Mrs. John Doe, Esq. -- however, this implies that only my husband is an attorney.
What would be the proper way to identify the both of us as being attorneys? Or should I leave the Esq. off the letterhead all together?
Some of my friends have suggested that including the title is a dated and/or pretentious concept. I don't want our stationery to look like we are running a law firm from our home, but at the same time, I would like to recognize our joint achievement of having worked very hard to become lawyers.
GENTLE READER: Don't you mean that you want others to recognize it? You and he already know.
Miss Manners understands that there are occasions when you would. These would include almost all would-be business matters, and you may want the neighbors to know that you are lawyers when you politely point out that the extension they are building is on your property.
However, social writing paper does not have a joint name, because only one person can write a letter, however, many regards from the other person are mentioned. A business letterhead should not be confused with social paper, which is marked by the name, monogram or initials of the writer.
So you are probably talking about cards that would be used for invitations and enclosures with presents. Those go to friends, and reminding them that you are lawyers seems not just pretentious but ominous.