DEAR MISS MANNERS: Is there any dress etiquette for a college classroom? How-much-skin-is-too-much-skin is a frequent subject of debate, of course, but what about pajamas?
I graduated about two years ago. During my entire time at school, there seemed to be at least one of these offenders in almost every one of my classes, yet professors, other students, and even special speakers never seemed to notice.
Doesn’t it give the impression that the class is unimportant, and that the most the student could do was show up for class on time (if that)? What happened to dress as a reflection of respect for others (let alone oneself)?!
GENTLE READER: Even Miss Manners is not so foolhardy as to propose a dress code for college students.
It is not that she disagrees with you. Indeed, clean, neat and nonprovocative (politically or otherwise) clothes would be respectful not only of the occasion, but of others in their community.
But most people discount the fact that clothing is symbolic, and she feels that heated arguments with teenagers about self-expression and comfort are futile, and hardly worthwhile in such a relatively secluded environment. She suspects that the adults who seem to be ignoring the issue feel the same way.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: We no longer wish to have company stay more than three days. It’s just too hard on us to be “on” and take responsibility for guests’ welfare.
How can we tell people whom we have invited to come see us that we have a three-day rule?
GENTLE READER: Not by quoting Benjamin Franklin (who may have been quoting an earlier source): “Fish and visitors stink after three days.”
Miss Manners suggests a more positive approach: “We would love to have you stay with us from the 5th until the 8th.”
DEAR MISS MANNERS: When did having a bad day become an excuse to be rude in the customer service industry?
Frequently, I come across things online that state, “Maybe the person was having a bad day ... you never know what someone is going through.”
Yes, I agree that we never know what someone is going through. Isn’t that more of a reason to be kind, regardless of your own troubles? If you’re in the customer service industry, you don’t take it out on patrons.
Is kindness in the face of personal adversity not a sign of maturity? When my mother passed away, I still smiled and welcomed everyone warmly. I have suffered from major depressive disorder my whole life, but no one would know it.
It just seems that nowadays, people would rather be a victim to themselves and their troubles, and that makes it suddenly OK to take it out on others.
When we come home from work, we’re told to leave our work troubles at the door, so why does the same not apply to personal problems when you reach work?
I doubt anyone would give the go-ahead to be rude if someone said they were having a bad day, yet that is the idea being enforced when we tell people to excuse behavior because of a bad day. Where do you stand on this?
GENTLE READER: Right beside you, cheering.
(Please send your questions to Miss Manners at her website, www.missmanners.com; to her email, firstname.lastname@example.org; or through postal mail to Miss Manners, Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)