DEAR MISS MANNERS: My apartment is part of a large complex in a busy metropolitan area. Signs posted near the exterior doors indicate that each person entering should use his or her own key to ensure that nonresidents do not enter.
It seems unbearably rude, however, to let the door slam shut behind me when another person is following just after me or (somehow worse, because I might seem to simply be saving time) a few seconds away. An apology or apologetic look seems insufficient for "Can't hold the door, you might be a criminal." Yet I imagine that following a polite person is precisely how an unauthorized mischief-maker might enter the building. I worry about this every day on my way home. Miss Manners, what should I do?
GENTLE READER: Work on your apologetic look. You should apear to be horribly torn between your duty to obey the rules of the building and your duty to obey the normal courtesy of holding a door for someone behind you.
Miss Manners realizes that you actually are torn, or you wouldn't have written. But one must dramatize.
Turn around to face the other person, rather than walking away in front of the closing door. Draw your eyebrows together, open your mouth slightly, and hold out your hands helplessly. Then shake your head sadly.
Should the person produce a key and enter, you will be able to say, "Terribly sorry, I was just following the house rules." If no key is produced, you may consider that it is not rude to turn away an intruder.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: My son just got engaged to a wonderful girl that we just love. This will be his second marriage, his fiancee's first. Can you please tell me what is the proper etiquette regarding inviting guests that attended his first wedding?
My husband and I think it is up to the invited to decide whether or not they want to attend another wedding. The bride's mother thinks it is improper to invite people that have already attended his wedding.
What do you think? We want to do what is best for our son and future daughter-in-law without offending anyone, especially the bride's mother. What is the proper thing to do?
GENTLE READER: Is there someone in particular that the bride's mother does not want to see there? Such as the previous bride?
Otherwise, the custom is to invite those who are still your relatives and friends and to let them decide whether they have had enough.
Miss Manners does acknowledge, however, that anyone in the habit of marrying often would be kind to prevent wedding fatigue by having succeedingly smaller weddings.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: Is it appropriate for a company who has given out bonuses every year for at ?least seven years to notify the staff if they do not plan on doing that for this ?year?
I want to know to be prepared but am afraid that I will appear rude. ?Please let me know what you think. Thank you.
GENTLE READER: What you want to avoid is a "no more gravy train for you folks" tone. But yes, if the employees seem to be counting on their regular bonuses, it is well to warn them.
Miss Manners advises putting it in the form of an apologetic appreciation: "As you all know, we've had a tough year here in spite of your good work. I am sorry to say that bonuses will be impossible, although you certainly deserve them. With your help, I'm sure we'll pull through and have a better year next year."