Miss Manners by Judith Martin, Nicholas Ivor Martin and Jacobina Martin

Girlfriend Balks at Becoming ‘Delivery Girl’

DEAR MISS MANNERS: I live with my boyfriend, who recently needed me to bring lunch to him at work on a day that he forgot to bring it. I was more than happy to bring him a nice, freshly heated meal. Due to the circumstances of his work, I could not stay to make it a lunch together, so I was just dropping it off.

Today, when we woke up, he asked me to drop off lunch for him at work again. I told him that unless he forgot a lunch or was running late, this is using me as a delivery girl.

He then huffed that he would ask his sister instead. His sister has five to seven kids that she looks after during the day, so I told him that it would be unfair, and that it was also unfair to expect me to drop my schedule (even if it isn’t full like his sister’s) when he has every ability to bring his lunch.

He walked off without a response. He walks away without a response quite a bit, which is hurtful to me. Do I not deserve a response to at least say that he heard what I said, or that he disagrees, or agrees, or he’ll think about it? Was I wrong about it being presumptuous to expect me to deliver him lunch when he didn’t forget it and had time to pack it? And, if I wasn’t wrong, was my explanation rude?

GENTLE READER: As living together is often touted as a tryout period prior to a more permanent arrangement, it might be productive to examine the lessons learned about your boyfriend’s behavior, as Miss Manners assures you that your own was proper.

DEAR MISS MANNERS: It appears the modern way to serve coffee is in a mug. When being served this way, what do you do with the spoon after you stir in condiments?

I like the old, traditional (and more civilized) way to serve coffee to guests, that being with a cup and saucer and their own spoon for stirring cream and/or sugar.

GENTLE READER: You have two options, the choice of which will depend on how much you wish to create a teaching moment for your host.

The first is to place the spoon on the nearest available surface, which Miss Manners hopes is not the piano or the cat. As your host may object, whatever the surface chosen, it might instead be preferable to ask where you should put the spoon.

DEAR MISS MANNERS: I would like to know if it is considered rude to say please and thank you simultaneously.

GENTLE READER: “Please” and “thank you” are used to going out arm-in-arm, so an occasional, accidental collision may occur. Pushing them both down the stairs in an exasperated tone that makes clear the intention was to express frustration is less charming, though not, surprisingly, impolite. Miss Manners prefers it to more explicit declarations of annoyance.

(Please send your questions to Miss Manners at her website, www.missmanners.com; to her email, dearmissmanners@gmail.com; or through postal mail to Miss Manners, Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)