DEAR MISS MANNERS: There is a strange phenomenon that occurs with my wife, mother-in-law and sister-in-law: When we go out for meals together, my father-in-law, brother-in-law or I will hold the door of the restaurant open to allow the ladies to enter the building ahead of us. Inevitably --and it happens no matter the combination of couples -- the ladies will come to a complete stop immediately upon crossing the threshold, rather than moving to either side.
This prevents us from moving around them in order to get in front of them. I am assuming they stop because they want us to lead them. In reality, this makes us try to squeeze around them somehow. Quite often it creates a backup of other patrons, who are also trying to enter the building.
These scenes can sometimes be frustrating and embarrassing, as if this is our first time out in public. How can I address this with the most important women in my life without being insulting?
GENTLE READER: Ah, yes, Miss Manners has met these ladies. They are the ones who stand at the top or bottom of the escalator after they get off. They don’t realize what they are doing until the bodies pile up behind them.
But they are your relatives, and should not take it amiss if you gently take their elbows and steer them clear.