DEAR MISS MANNERS: Is it considered impolite to tie the string of one’s tea bag around the teacup? I usually do this to prevent the string and tag from falling into the tea. Whenever I drink tea at my friend’s home, however, she gets terribly annoyed by this.
GENTLE READER: The presence of the tea bag at all indicates an informal, perhaps family, meal. This broadens the options for disposing of the bag to include placing it on the side of the saucer or empty plate, or excusing oneself to the kitchen to toss it in the trash or park it in an agreed-upon spot for later reuse.
So long as your method does not result in the bag landing on your lap when you go to drink, Miss Manners has no objection. If the hostess does, she is free to provide a different method of disposal, or a proper teapot.