DEAR MISS MANNERS: Under what conditions do you consider it appropriate for an elderly "lady" to drink beer directly from the bottle?
Specifically, in an upscale retirement facility, we have "happy hour" every Thursday afternoon from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. in a casual all-purpose room. Dinner is served in a very nice dining room following. A glass of wine is served with dinner if one wishes to have it.
Some residents leave the happy hour and bring their last cocktail, highball or beer with them to the dining room (which is OK).
One woman (age 70 to 75) brings a beer and drinks it from the bottle during her dinner. I contend that anyone who brings the beer with them should have it poured into a glass -- particularly an elderly woman.
Am I old-fashioned and behind the times? A picnic or watching a ball game at a sports bar might be OK.
GENTLE READER: Less seemly than drinking beer from a bottle in a proper dining room would be one diner chastising another over her table manners. Miss Manners trusts that you do not intend to do that, but that you merely want confirmation that chug-a-lugging is not becoming in such circumstances. No, it is not. For anyone of any age or gender.
However, you may also hope to reform the lady. Miss Manners insists that you not attempt it directly, but presumably you know the dining-room waiters. You might gently suggest that one of them make a habit of appearing with a glass saying, "Allow me to pour this for you, madam," and then removing the empty bottle.
This would make it a point of good service rather than bad manners.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: Does a request have to include the word "please" to be considered polite?
I certainly try to use the word "please," but I think it's OK to word a request differently, as long as it's still delivered nicely. For instance, "Would you mind getting me a glass of water while you're up?" or "Could you give me a hand with these groceries?"
My boyfriend feels differently, though, and when I say things like that, he says, "Please?" and then I say, "please!" and then he helps.
I'm OK with putting up with this rule of his, but I'm sure I say similar things to other people, and I wonder, do people think I'm rude?
GENTLE READER: This rule of his? You mean that you actually know the gentleman who is responsible for generations of children not being able to pry cookies out of their parents' hands without first saying "the magic word"?
Yes, people who make requests without saying "please" are considered rude. It sounds as if they are giving orders rather than asking favors.
But although Miss Manners does not understand your objection to the word, she will provide you with an acceptable substitute. You can get away with saying, instead, "I would be very grateful if you would be so kind as to..."