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

Reusing Cloth Napkins for a Week

DEAR MISS MANNERS: I received a bachelor’s degree in art history and am currently finishing up a master’s in another art-related field. For many years, I have often had to put up with people’s rude comments regarding my career choice.

When I tell people what degree I am pursuing, I have received responses such as (literally) “So, you want to live in a box for the rest of your life?”, “So, you want to be poor?”, “So, you want to starve?” Unfortunately, they are often not saying this in jest, and will continue to demean my profession for several minutes.

I try to make a joke out of it and direct the conversation elsewhere, but I am losing patience. Any suggestions for how to avoid this ugly situation or deal with it appropriately are appreciated.

GENTLE READER: “Yes, I suppose that’s a possibility, but at least I will live poor and starving in a beautifully decorated box.”