DEAR MISS MANNERS: As a 39-year-old single father who has a beautiful 4-year-old girl, I would like to know what is proper etiquette for taking my daughter shopping for clothes and then having to take her to try them on in a fitting room.
I went to the women's dressing room and didn't know if I should go in. There were moms sitting down waiting for their children to come out of rooms. My child still needs a little help.
GENTLE READER: This is an adorable daddy-daughter ritual, and one with which Miss Manners is certain the waiting mothers would sympathize. You need only apologize for intruding and state your dilemma to have them offer to help, or to cordon off an area for your use.
But it is also possible to avoid the awkwardness completely by taking advantage of the many Internet options and liberal return policies the modern world offers. The two of you could pick out returnable clothing together on the Internet and have it sent. Or you could choose clothing in stores and have her try it on at home.
When the time comes for her to try on prom and wedding dresses, she presumably will be old enough to work the zippers herself and to emerge from the dressing room for your approval -- also a charming ritual.