DEAR MISS MANNERS: After our divorce, my ex and I stayed very close friends -- honestly, best friends. He passed away in December. Even though I was his ex-wife, the family still looked to me to arrange everything.
I'd lost my engagement ring a few years after our divorce. Well, two weeks ago, I was cleaning out an old purse and found my engagement ring. It means so much more to me now. I had it cleaned and planned on wearing it. I also decided to have an inscription put on my wedding band with his name and his dates of birth and death. I want to wear the rings. He gave them to me.
I've had a few different opinions from friends. Some say it's sweet, but wear it on my right hand. One said don't wear the band and wear the engagement ring on my right hand. Others have said that since we were divorced, even though we were still friends and loved each other, I lost the right to wear them after the divorce.
GENTLE READER: Ladies are conditioned to notice one another's rings, as it would be churlish not to exclaim admiringly when a friend has a new sparkle on her finger (and in her eye). But it appears that many of them don't know when to stop.
Usually it is widows who tell Miss Manners that their friends have announced opposition to their continuing to wear their marriage rings. Yours is an unusual case, but the idea is the same.
Such friends do not argue the obvious point that prospective suitors (whom they may not even want) could assume that the widows are still married. Rather, it is declared, as you were told, that they have "no right" to wear such rings.
What can be the motives of such so-called friends, Miss Manners cannot imagine. But they are wrong. As long as you have not stolen these rings, you have the right to wear them as you wish.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: My local mall is very nice. It is quiet, tranquil, and has great prices. However, the people who work in some of the stores are extremely rude. If I do not enter the store in designer clothing and tote a status purse, I am plagued by rude and snooty employees.
It is a shame, because most of the stores have wonderful sales that a savvy shopper such as myself would hate to miss. Is there a way for me to address the employees if I am confronted again?
GENTLE READER: It is not only because these people are rude to you that they are bad at their job. Apparently they are so out of touch as to believe that rich people still dress up to go shopping.
You could try to shame them by asking politely, "Excuse me, did I do something wrong?" But rude people are notoriously oblivious to shame, so Miss Manners believes you would do better by talking calmly to the manager -- not about your clothes, but about your being treated rudely for whatever reason.
(Please send your questions to Miss Manners at her website, www.missmanners.com; to her email, email@example.com; or through postal mail to Miss Manners, Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)