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?
DEAR MISS MANNERS: A few years ago, I had medical treatments that caused the loss of my hair. My hair has grown back, but the hair above my forehead is now short and wispy.
I recently went to a hair salon for a trim. The hairdresser pulled the short strands of hair, started laughing, and said, “What’s this?” I didn’t think she would ever stop laughing. I was so shocked that I didn’t know what to say.
I don’t think this will happen again, but if it does, what should I say? I don’t want to mention my health problems.
GENTLE READER: “Oh!” -- said with a genuinely stricken look -- “I must be in the wrong place. I came to you thinking that this would be something you were qualified to fix.”
DEAR MISS MANNERS: The snow is upon us in my area: yay! It is cold, and I am getting old and graying: yay! One little reward for persevering in life and marriage (33 years) is a small status symbol: fur. (I know there are lovely faux furs available these days. I have had my share of faux luxuries most of my life -- zirconia, vinyl, micro-suede -- and have been truly grateful for all of them.)
So my beloved gifted me a removable fur collar. It’s neutral and perfect for four of my coats, and truly keeps me warmer than I had hoped.
How do I remove it, and my coat, gracefully? The collar has a hook-and-eye closure, but cannot be attached to my leather or wool coats unless I pin it, and I’m not sure how to do that, either.
GENTLE READER: Treat it like a scarf, carefully unhooking it and then stuffing it in the sleeve of your coat so that it does not get separated. If forced to check it, however, Miss Manners would recommend that you instead attach it to your purse or keep it around your neck -- as long as you are confident that it will not appear that you are being escorted or attacked by something still living.
(Please send your questions to Miss Manners at her website, www.missmanners.com; to her email, email@example.com; or through postal mail to Miss Manners, Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)