DEAR MISS MANNERS: There is a charity that accepts donated hair and makes it into wigs for children with cancer. I know this because I have waist-length hair, and people ask me if I would like to cut it off and send it to this charity.
In particular, my stylist has taken to asking me this every time I come in. I am considering changing stylists, though other women with long hair have told me they have had the same experience elsewhere.
I prefer to handle my charitable giving privately, and in a currency other than my own hair. Whenever I get this request, I feel as though my response is equivalent to saying that I don't care about dying children. It is awkward and becomes more so when people repeat the request every time we meet, or try to talk me into it, or add sad stories about children with cancer. (I notice that none of the requesters seem to be shipping off their computer, their TV or their car to a sick child who would appreciate it, though they are always quick to say that if they had hair like mine, they wouldn't think twice about donating it.)
Is there any graceful way to respond that will put a stop to this? If not, is there any graceful way to tell my stylist that he is losing my business, and to ask a potential new one if I can expect different treatment at their shop?
GENTLE READER: Have you considered asking your stylist for a kidney?
Well, no, that would not meet your requirement of being graceful. And Miss Manners supposes it would not be effective, either, as he is likely to miss the point about the audaciousness of his request under such circumstances, and argue that hair can be grown back.
So you must tell him outright: "I'm sorry, but I can't trust my hair to someone who keeps wanting to cut it off." By no means should you feel embarrassed to choose your own charities, as thoughtful philanthropists do, and to keep your choices private.
Unless he apologizes and retreats, you will have to find another stylist. You can begin with that one by explaining why you left your current one.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: The other evening after a few cocktails, I impulsively invited a gentleman to a dinner party being held by my mother. Later, I realized the mix of guests would probably not be a good one, and it would be an unexpected surprise for my mother. How do I take back the invitation without hurting the gentleman's feelings?
GENTLE READER: Normally you can't, but here you have someone to blame. After all, what are mothers for?
Miss Manners imagines that yours would rather you said, "I'm so sorry -- my mother thought she had an extra place but didn't, and would like to meet you another time" than announce that the invitation is void because you were tipsy when you made it.