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

Racism Discussion With Friends

DEAR MISS MANNERS: I have long wondered when, if ever, it is acceptable to supplement -- or even substitute -- a verbal request with hand gestures to improve communication. For instance, I once had a bartender chide me for gesturing for the check across a noisy bar.

My question has renewed importance now that the wearing of masks is obscuring vocal projection, and moving closer to be heard is not advised.

GENTLE READER: It depends upon what the gesture is and how it is administered.

Impatience is still recognizable, even under a mask. Which leaves Miss Manners wondering if it was that with which the bartender was taking issue, and not the gesture itself.