Antelope Valley Press (Sunday) - - Classified­s - By Ju­dith Martin, Nicholas Ivor Martin and Jacobina Martin Ad­dress your eti­quette ques­tions to Miss Man­ners at her web­site, www.miss­man­ners. com; to her email, dearmiss­man­[email protected] com; or through postal mail to Miss Man­ners, An­drews McMeel Syn­di­ca­tion

Dear Miss Man­ners: I have posed this ques­tion twice, and re­al­ize that you don’t want to an­swer. Would you mind telling me why women and chil­dren loudly say “mwah” when they kiss a per­son on the cheek? It is only done in this coun­try and is a rel­a­tively new cus­tom.

Also, since when do men in­sist on kiss­ing women on the cheek in­stead of shak­ing their hand? It is done by both young and old men. I re­ally would ap­pre­ci­ate an an­swer.

Dear Gen­tle Reader: Yes, yes, Miss Man­ners wants to an­swer. But this is not an emer­gency hotline, you know. It is true that she can spout any eti­quette rule in­stantly, but there are sit­u­a­tions where she thinks things over, as rare as that is in this Twit­ter-y age.

What has her mus­ing is why she rather likes the “mwah” sound (and whether it shouldn’t be spelled “maaaaa”).

Cheek kiss­ing it­self, as an or­di­nary greet­ing, is rel­a­tively new in the United States, and not lim­ited to males. If any­thing, they do less, as they tend not to kiss one an­other. And the rule, which no­body re­mem­bers, is that ladies are sup­posed to ini­ti­ate the form of greet­ing, so it is their choice.

Back to the sound­track: As this sound is made with the mouth open, it can­not be man­aged while the lips are planted on a cheek. There­fore, it goes with the so-called air-kiss, de­liv­ered just be­side the face, rather than on it. To Miss Man­ners’ mind, that is a good sub­sti­tute for the touch-kiss that not ev­ery­one wel­comes from ac­quain­tances.

Dear Miss Man­ners: Is it tra­di­tional for the fu­ture bride to pick her friends as brides­maids, or can the fu­ture groom sug­gest a fam­ily mem­ber?

Dear Gen­tle Reader: Tra­di­tion­ally, it is the bride’s choice. But while it may not be tra­di­tional for her to take into con­sid­er­a­tion the bride­groom’s wishes, Miss Man­ners con­sid­ers it a re­ally good idea.

Dear Miss Man­ners: My daugh­ter-in-law bought me a de­signer purse for Christ­mas. I re­ally do not like it and will never use it. It is not any­thing close to my style, and I know she paid a great amount of money for it.

How can I get rid of this thing with­out hurt­ing her feel­ings? I am just sick about this, as I do not want to hurt her — but on the other hand, I would be ill my­self try­ing to use this mon­stros­ity.

Dear Gen­tle Reader: How of­ten do you see your daugh­ter-in-law? And how will you dis­pose of the bag when you de­cide, as you are on the verge of do­ing, that the pain of wear­ing it is stronger than any pain you might cause her?

Miss Man­ners would like to spare both of you. The only sac­ri­fice she asks is that you keep it for a while, although that would pre­clude re­turn­ing it to the store. This is so that if your daugh­ter-in-law men­tions it, you can pro­duce it and say that you are sav­ing it for a spe­cial oc­ca­sion. That the oc­ca­sion is enough time hav­ing passed for you to sell it or give it away need not be men­tioned.

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