DEAR MISS MANNERS: I am at a loss to come up with a polite reply to a rather common observation. Friends and acquaintances who have not seen me in a while seem to feel compelled to tell me that "Your hair is long."
As I have, indeed, been growing my hair out for a few years now, I am quite aware that it is longer than it used to be.
Their failure to add even a modest compliment to this rather pointed observation leads me to suspect that they do not like my new hairstyle. I am loath to say something to the effect of, "Yes, do you like it?" because, frankly, I do not want their opinion (it is hard enough for me to decide on personal grooming matters; I do not need input from everyone I know), and in any case they seem to have already made their true opinion known by their rather loud silence.
Reminding them of their mothers' admonition ("If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all ...") seems a bit much. I notice that gentlemen who shave, or add, facial hair are often subjected to the same insensitive observations. Any thoughts on how best to respond?
GENTLE READER: In assuming that such comments indicate disapproval, you fail to allow for the propensity people have for stating the obvious. It is common, as well as idiotic, for people to be constantly informing others that they are tall or short or red-headed.
Miss Manners would allow you to reply in the same spirit by validating their observations. The response to "Your hair is long" should be, "Yes, it is." If you want to be chummy, you could add, "I grew it."