DEAR MISS MANNERS: I am just entering the dating world after the end of a 25-year marriage. With careful consideration, I find that Internet dating sites are a viable way to meet potential suitors.
It seems that the standard practice is to exchange e-mails at first, followed by telephone conversations, and it may progress to a daytime meeting, perhaps at a coffeehouse. Presumably this is so that if the first meeting has you realizing you have made a mistake, it will not drag on for hours.
The other reason is that you can still remain somewhat anonymous and be in public for the sake of security. I really do not see anything wrong with the arrangement, since I do not see myself meeting strangers at bars, and that waiting for my married friends to introduce me to someone has not been successful.
However, sometimes I find myself at the public meeting place knowing that (a) the person has misrepresented himself in some way, usually by using a photo of a more fit and youthful time in his life; (b) I have failed to find out some information about this person before the meeting that is obviously a "deal breaker" in my quest for the right person; or (c) I do not feel any chemistry between us; perhaps the conversation is awkward and a chore to find pleasant things to talk about.
Several times in one of these instances, the gentleman has shown an interest in going out on a real date. They have all been very nice men, but just not someone that I want to spend any more time with. What is a nice way to tell them that I just don't see any point in going out again?
GENTLE READER: "Nice" is not usually the method of choice in such cases. When Miss Manners advocates anything remotely gentle, she is taken to task by the Blunt and Brutal school, who argue that nice is too subtle to be effective, that it prolongs the pain or that it is too good for people who have wasted one's time. And who, she suspects, feel emboldened by the fact that these are strangers.
None of this convinces Miss Manners that it is decent to tell another human being, "I could never have the remotest interest in you, so just go away."
She still prefers something vague and face-saving, such as "I find I have a lot of obligations right now, which I hadn't fully realized when we got in touch. But it was very nice meeting you."
If this results in an unwanted invitation, it may have to be repeated. But it is still preferable to slash-and-run.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: Is there a proper color choice for thank-you notes? I am ordering for my son's high school graduation, and the choices are wt/silver, wt/gold, or ivory/gold. Also, I heard one time a thank you note should not have 'Thank You' printed on it. Is this true?
GENTLE READER: Black or blue-black. That is to say that it is the ink your son uses that matters. As you have heard, the words "thank you," should never be printed, but must be written by hand, along with some elaboration. If the choice you have been offered does the job for him, Miss Manners urges you to reject it, despite the fetching colors.