DEAR MISS MANNERS: Our son (finally!) brought home a lovely young woman, a fellow attorney in his firm, to meet us. She is intelligent, charming and we were delighted with her.
They stayed the weekend, and my husband and I realized she has likely not been brought up with all the privileges my son has had. I tell you this as background to the following:
I stock each guest room with a range of nice soaps, a selection of toiletries of various brands, plus any necessary items (toothbrushes, razors) a guest may have forgotten. When restocking the guest room after their departure, I was surprised to find not a single item in the drawers -- they had been cleaned out. Even the basket of soaps.
The two will be guests at a partner's summer home in a few months. I feel this behavior will not enhance her future -- or my son's, should they share a room.
My husband says I should speak to the young woman at the first opportunity. I believe it would be more appropriate to speak to my son and let him decide what -- if anything -- is to be done. I feel very awkward about bringing it up with a young woman I hardly know.
What do you think? Him? Her? No one?
Miss Manners, I do not in any way begrudge the items -- I'd have happily gifted her with all of them.
GENTLE READER: You cannot, Miss Manners supposes, warn the young lady's other hosts before she cleans them out.
Evidentially, she is one of those people -- and there are great numbers of them -- who drive up hotel prices because they believe that the bathroom toiletries are little prizes for the clients rather than supplies to be used on the premises.
Still, she is a guest and a prospective daughter-in-law. As you get to know her, you may have occasion to give her a present, in which case a well-stocked travel case of toiletries might occur to you.
In the meantime, you might mention the situation to your son in a manner that does not require him to defend her -- "Zenobia is such a dear, and we hope she comes often. Incidentally, did you or she need the whole basket of soaps and razors and toothbrushes and such? I'm more than happy to give you whatever you want, but please let me know so I can replenish the supply. I only keep it in case a guest has forgotten something."
And lock up your jewelry case.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: The hostess served iced tea at a recent luncheon in her home. After the luncheon, the following question arose: "What do you do with your iced tea spoon if the tea is served in a glass without a coaster or saucer under it?"
One of the guests had carefully rested her damp spoon on her used sweetener packet. All of us agreed that we didn't know the proper etiquette, but that Miss Manners would.
GENTLE READER: The proper etiquette is to protect your hostess and her possessions from the consequences of her lack of foresight. It was her job to provide saucers or those stemless spoon heads that serve as spoon parking places. Since she did not do so, Miss Manners is grateful that you did not conclude that the lady was planning to tint her linens anyway.