DEAR MISS MANNERS: An acquaintance insists upon inserting sharp knives in the designated drying receptacle beside the sink with handle down / point up whereas I always insist upon such items to be placed point down / handle up.
My position is predicated on issues of safety whereas he insists that his elected modus operandi is dictated by issues of a sanitary nature.
I fear my relationship with the particular gentleman may be approaching a rather sad end should this matter not be resolved by a universally accepted arbitrator such as yourself.
GENTLE READER: This is a sink-side version of what is known as the traditional Newlywed Dishwasher Fight, because it often involves what should go into the dishwasher as well as how the flatware should be placed. Even if nothing else is left for after marriage these days, this conflict should be. Only the legal bonds of matrimony are strong enough to hold together couples of such opposing views.
Miss Manners is not going to take a position on which way the knives should face, as long as the two of you do not hold them facing each other. Since your gentleman is merely an acquaintance, she advises you to set them his way in his kitchen and him to set them your way in yours. Should the relationship lead to a shared household, get back to her.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: I think I have had it drummed into my head that the "hosting" of potluck parties, dinners, etc., is not appropriate in general.
But is there ever a polite way to "host" such a gathering? If it is not presented as an event with an invitation, but rather a group of friends at lunch one day bringing up the subject of, "We should do this more often -- what about a potluck dinner," is it more acceptable?
If not, what do you think of events like church socials, where everyone brings a "covered dish to share?" Do events like that fall into the "potluck" category? If not, is it only because they are not hosted by one individual?
As you can see, I'm a little confused. Any light you can shed on the subject would be greatly appreciated.
GENTLE READER: There are a number of terms being misused in this situation. While "potluck" once had the jolly connotation of always being ready to share whatever was on one's stove, it came to be used for a cooperative meal -- which can also be charming, provided nobody squabbles over the leftovers.
But now the term is used by people who fancy themselves "hosts" when they invite other people, whom they call "guests" to cater a meal for them. Free. And sometimes without warning, as the cooking requirement is mentioned only after the invitation is accepted.
Miss Manners has no objection whatsoever to cooperative or covered dish meals, provided that no one pretends that these are host-guest situations. One person may organize this and volunteer to provide the setting, but nobody is host in the sense of throwing a dinner party. Or everyone is.