DEAR MISS MANNERS: I am a female graduate student at a theological school, where my daily life involves much reading, studying and writing. I use the library every day.
What is one to do when there are others using the library who obviously have a cold or sinus issues, but who seem completely oblivious of the disturbance -- not to mention disgust -- caused by their constant snorting and snuffling? And why does it seem that primarily men are guilty of this? As I write, there are two men snorting and hawking loudly -- one man in his late 20s and another in his late 50s. Didn’t their mothers teach them to go to the bathroom and blow their noses?
Would it be rude to bring to their attention their disturbance of other library patrons? Or to offer them -- politely -- some tissue?
GENTLE READER: Not if you do so sympathetically.
Miss Manners is relieved to hear that your complaint is about the public nature of the sniffling, not what to do about the handling of the books themselves. Uh-oh. She just made the whole thing worse, didn’t she?