DEAR MISS MANNERS: Is my age showing when I feel that it is rude to be greeted, after I have placed a call, with "Hello, Dorothy"?
I know this means they have Caller ID, but I feel on the defensive, even before I have had a chance for them to hear my name.
GENTLE READER: They don't need to hear your name. It is right there in front of them.
But Miss Manners needs to know the identity of these people before she decides whether or not your complaint is legitimate. Some changes are sensible and necessary, in which case you are not excused from them on the basis of age -- but some are not.
While we are all used to having to identify ourselves on the telephone, there is increasingly less need to do so. When you visit someone you know, you are greeted on sight without having to state your identity.
The exception would be when you are telephoning someone with whom you are not on a first name basis or someone you don't even know -- for example, making a business call. No amount of time will rescue that from its being cheeky to call you Dorothy take advantage of technology to assume unwarranted familiarity.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: I am unsure how to respond to people when they compliment me and then pry as to how I do what they compliment me on.
I am of slight build on a tall frame and gave birth less than two months ago. I am already back into my pre-pregnancy clothing and have been for about a month. I don't work out and I don't adhere to some crazy diet to lose weight. I just can't gain and keep it on.
I am a stay-at-home mom, so I am always bringing our three children out with me to go shopping or to the playground. I live in a small community, so everyone knows everyone, somehow, and so they know me at least enough to feel it is OK to say hi and make small chitchat.
The compliment I don't know how to respond to is always about how I look so good after giving birth so recently. I always say "Thank you" and then get hit with "How did you lose the weight?" or something like it.
The truth is that I didn't do anything, and it is all genetic, but I don't want to seem like I am bragging. Should I lie and say that I didn't gain all that much due to morning sickness throughout the pregnancy (I only felt ill this time and never once actually was sick this pregnancy) or chalk it up to a hormone problem (I don't have one)?
Should I be adding something to the thank you to prevent this question? What do I do?
GENTLE READER: Certainly not make up stories about symptoms you did not have. Expectant and new mothers are hassled enough about their weight -- there is no need to encourage this by cooperating.
And Miss Manners finds it especially ludicrous to be apologetic for not having had problems.
You need only say "No special way" and move on or, out of comradeliness if another new mother is asking, "it's genetic." Or perhaps "I didn't lose that weight -- it's right there, in the baby carriage."