DEAR MISS MANNERS: People pressed for time in the morning do all manner of things in their cars on the way to work: They eat breakfast, pluck their eyebrows, floss and apply makeup. While visible to their fellow commuters, they seem to think themselves in an isolation field.
I, on the other hand, walk to work, and not unlike the commuters above, I like to make productive use of the 15 minutes by shaving with an electric razor as I go. My wife tells me this is totally socially unacceptable. It seems, oddly, to be an issue one does not find addressed in etiquette references. What's the buzz?
GENTLE READER: Other than the one coming from your electric razor? (Miss Manners feels sure that you intended to set her up for this punch line and is ashamed of herself for taking the bait. She is further under the impression that you are being cheeky with the question, but will nevertheless attempt to take it seriously.)
Although dangerous, sometimes unlawful and always unsavory, grooming in a moving vehicle is not necessarily a breach of etiquette. There is an illusion of privacy when one is behind closed doors, even if there are glass windows that shatter it. After all, inadvisable as it may be, people do personal things in their homes behind open shades all the time.
Walking down the street, however, is completely public, and shaving is therefore not permitted there. Further, having been in the path of many a pedestrian distracted by a cellular device, Miss Manners shudders at the consequences of being in that of an oncoming shaver.