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

No, Men Are Not Exempt From Washing Their Hands

DEAR MISS MANNERS: My 75-year-old husband insists that men do not have to wash their hands after a trip to the restroom if they only urinated. I think that every trip to the restroom should be followed by hand-washing. Can you tell us who is right?

GENTLE READER: In these days, when even a trip to the mailbox involves washing one’s hands, there can be little argument who is right. But even in pre-pandemic days, Miss Manners agrees that a gentleman washes his hands after a visit to the restroom, if only because a gentleman does not discuss the specifics of what took him there.

DEAR MISS MANNERS: Following a pricey destination stag party, our friend married the wrong person in an extravagant destination wedding, complete with various live performances and expensive accommodations.

Upon returning to the U.S., the couple procrastinated filing the marriage license, admittedly because the relationship was in trouble. They continued living together for about a year and half, then separated for good.

Should they return the cash gifts given to them by their friends and family? Does the fact that these guests traveled far and spent a lot of money to attend the over-the-top affair before bestowing said gifts have any bearing?

GENTLE READER: Miss Manners assumes that, in saying your friend married the wrong person, you mean someone who was not his soul mate, and not a guest disoriented by the extravagant entertaining.

Wedding gifts are only returned when the wedding is canceled before, not after, it occurs. So with the above stipulations -- and notwithstanding the complication with the license -- your friend was married, and no return of gifts should be expected.

DEAR MISS MANNERS: Assuming it is edible, is it proper to eat any garnish added to a plate of food?

GENTLE READER: If it is on a food platter and is edible, sure. Just promise Miss Manners that you are not reaching for the flowers in the centerpiece.

DEAR MISS MANNERS: My mom and I hosted a birthday party for my dad at our home, and invited about a dozen people. We arranged to have food catered from a local restaurant, and we supplied most of the beverages, although many guests did bring a bottle of wine as a hostess gift or birthday gift.

After we had cake around 9:30, most of the guests announced that they had to leave due to the late hour. They left my mom and me with the cleanup of the serving dishes, dinner and dessert plates, cutlery, and wine and champagne glasses -- not to mention the leftovers, which were not insubstantial. None of them offered to help clean up.

Is this the norm and to be expected, or did our guests take advantage of our generosity?

GENTLE READER: It may not be the norm, which is the reason Miss Manners is called upon to explain that it is the rule. Proper guests respond to invitations promptly; arrive reasonably on time; behave sociably; leave before they, or their hosts, lose interest; and send handwritten thank-you letters for the hospitality. Proper hosts do everything else.

(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.)