DEAR MISS MANNERS: I know this is trivial but curiosity got the better of me. I wore a pair of traditional lady's profile cameo earrings to lunch with six other women, all of whom admired the earrings.
However, a discussion ensued as to how they should be worn. Three of the women said that the profile should be facing my head. Two of them said that the profile should be facing outward, away from my head. The sixth woman didn't think it really mattered, and I have absolutely no real opinion on the subject except to say that it's been my habit to wear them with the profile facing away from my head.
So, trivial and trite as I feel the question may be, apparently there are people (at least five that I know of) to whom it does matter. So, Miss Manners: Should the profile be facing the wearer's head, facing away, or doesn't it matter?
GENTLE READER: Trivial, you say? Compared to world hunger, you mean?
In that case, we would never ponder anything else.
The question not only interests but worries Miss Manners. Please position the earrings so that the cameo ladies look forward, in the same direction as your face. Otherwise, they would be turning away from everyone you encounter and even appear to be attempting to escape you. Cameo ladies would never want to be guilty of such rudeness.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: In this electronic age, most of us are using cell phones often, either for calls, texting, or both. I have had friends complain to me about taking so long to return messages when they have tried to contact me.
Although I do try to be responsive in a timely manner, I sometimes am in places where it would be rude to take the call. And if I am visiting with people at the time, I am not sure it would be polite to be sitting there texting away. But I would be curious to get your opinion on how soon one should return messages.
GENTLE READER: What is the nature of your relationship to these people, that they feel that they have the authority to keep you on such a short tether?
Miss Manners would have thought that even a boss or a lover who refused to admit your privilege of having a life would quickly inspire rebellion.
She is aware, however, that people with no such claims now believe that they should be able to command your attention at any time merely because it is technologically possible.
Another curious result is that many people no longer know how to prioritize electronic approaches, the way they once sorted their mail: invitations answered quickly, love letters sooner or later depending on one's emotions about the writer, chattiness when one has the time to chat, and so on. Instead, everything is classified as a potential emergency. (Emergencies were not formerly sent by letter, and Miss Manners doubts that many of them arrive by other means.)
Your choice is between being polite and thereby disappointing rude people, or satisfying them by being rude to others.