DEAR MISS MANNERS: On a recent two-and-a-half-hour flight, I had the "pleasure" of sitting next to a couple who insisted on kissing and smooching the entire flight. Believe me, it took all of my willpower not to shout at them to "take it to a hotel room!" Obviously, being on a full flight meant I could not remove myself from the situation but could do nothing more than simply endure the behavior. I also did not want to cause a ruckus by confronting the offending couple while the flight was in the air. Would it have been too rude of me to have given the couple a scolding remark after the plane landed and there was no longer any worry about causing a problem on a flight in progress? I really wanted to say something but decided it was not proper etiquette and just quickly scurried away, happy to be back home.
GENTLE READER: Once there was no longer a possibility of their annoying you, what would have been the point of saying something?
Oh, wait. Miss Manners understands. You wanted to embarrass them, as they had embarrassed you.
She will not allow you to say something critical, which would be rude. However, saying pleasantly, "Congratulations on your marriage" would have accomplished your purpose if the subject of marriage had not arisen in this courtship.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: A member of one of my ladies' clubs has a son who was ?recently charged with a rather unforgivable crime. ?Although this woman is not someone I would refer to as ?a close friend, we have enjoyed each other's company ?at club events and have worked together on various ?charity functions. Perhaps understandably, however, ?she has stopped attending these events since her son's ?arrest.
Naturally, the actions of her son in no way detract ?from my feelings for this woman. I would like her to ?know that she has my support and that I would be happy ?to help her in any way I can should she so desire, but ?I am unsure how to communicate this. Would a card ?suffice, saying that I am thinking of her and her ?family without mentioning the actual crime of her son? ?Should I call? Or, not being a very close friend, ?should I remain silent as if I knew nothing of this ?event?
GENTLE READER: It saddens Miss Manners to think how many kind impulses are stifled because of the sort of qualms you express: Are they inadequate to a tragic situation? Would they be intrusive?
Not if you express neither more nor less than your relevant sentiment, which is that you have missed this lady at various activities and hope to see her again. It is not a matter of ignoring the crime but of having nothing encouraging to contribute in that matter, as you neither know the son, nor have any idea whether or not he is guilty. The lady will be grateful simply to know that she is not being shunned because of her troubles.