DEAR MISS MANNERS: Pre-pandemic, my fiance's dear friends came into town for a week, renting a beautiful home with gorgeous hardwood floors. When we were invited to a dinner party there and I was meeting the hosts (and most of the guests) for the first time, we were informed that the rental contract required all shoes to be removed upon entry.
Aside from being mortified by the hole in my sock, I was dismayed that all of the slippers provided by the hosts had already been assigned to others. We live in a city where nighttime temperatures are chilly year-round, and I typically feel colder than others under the best of circumstances. Regardless of my stocking feet, I found it chilly in the house, and I was not the only guest to drape their coat around their shoulders.
After an hour at the table, I could no longer feel sensation in my extremities. My fiance noticed my discomfort and turned toward me so I could rest my feet on top of his, but this provided little relief.
At one point, the heat came on for just a moment and I remarked, "Oh, that feels good!" But otherwise, I said nothing, and the hosts never inquired after their guests' comfort. Not wanting to make my fiance leave early, I suffered in silence for another two hours, but I was so miserable that I could not enjoy the company.
Is there a way he or I could have handled this so I could have been comfortable enough to enjoy myself?
GENTLE READER: This will not be the last time that one partner will find an evening out more tolerable than the other -- if not for the ambient temperature, then because of the food, the conversation, the entertainment, the decor, the company -- or a limitless number of other reasons.
Miss Manners advises you to develop a system of signals to alert each other to problems before the situation becomes so intolerable that it is evident to everyone. It is then incumbent on the unaffected partner to assist in ameliorating the problem or bringing the evening to a conclusion.
Your fiance's letting you warm your feet on his was a charming, if unsuccessful, attempt at the former. When that didn't work, leaning against him and insinuating your icy fingers just under his sleeve cuff would have been a good way to signal that, when the meal ended, it was time to go -- before you set fire to the tablecloth.