DEAR MISS MANNERS: A friend and his wife invited me out to dinner last night with another lady. When the lady seated next to me rose two or three times during the meal, I stood up, as I was taught, but my host did not.
Was I right to do this? It is not my place to teach other people etiquette, and I also did not want to embarrass my host or put him ill at ease. Perhaps I should do this only when I am the host.
GENTLE READER: While manners dictate that one does not directly point out the lapses of others, they certainly never discourage leading through example. You are perfectly correct to stand when a lady leaves the table -- and since you are her dinner partner, it is reasonable to have that duty fall to you rather than the host of the evening.
Miss Manners will only add the caveat that if the lady is leaving two or three times during dinner, your frequent bobbing up and down, while technically correct, may start to feel excessive -- and draw undue attention to your partner’s continual need to be somewhere else.
(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.)