The Dallas Morning News

Secret valentine isn’t her husband


It was gracious of him to thank you the first time, but he does not seem to have suggested that you run away together.

Dear Miss Manners: Can I send a simple Valentine’s Day card to a man I admire, but from whom I do not expect a response? The card would just wish him a happy day, with no mention of love or romance.

He does not know me, but he has a high-profile public image, so I know of him. I would send it in care of a profession­al associatio­n he is involved with, not to his home address.

I have no intention of following up, although I did send another simple card 20 years ago to this same man in the same way. He thanked me in writing. We have never met.

I would like to sign my name, but I also don’t want to creep him out. He is unattached, while I am in an unhappy marriage, which he would know nothing about. I am torn.

Gentle Reader: Why didn’t you just send him a New Year’s card? As you say, you wouldn’t want to suggest that this is about love or romance.

If you can’t fool naive Miss Manners, you may be sure that you will not fool the recipient. But as he is apparently a public figure of some sort, you may not be the first unhappy wife who has approached him. It was gracious of him to thank you the first time, but he does not seem to have suggested that you run away together.

So you are talking about fan mail. That seems harmless, although not flattering to your husband — if you care, or he would.

Dear Miss Manners: Whenever I finish my meals at a restaurant or club, I always fold my used cloth napkin into a square or rectangle and place it neatly on the table. My dear wife (my manners and social behavior critic for many years) now informs me that this is in bad taste and is evidence of a low-class upbringing.

Of course, I value the considerab­le judgment my wife has rendered over the years, yet every time I think I have solved the issues emanating from my lesser birth, something like this pops up. What do you think?

Gentle Reader: If not for that crack about being lowclass, Miss Manners would have sided with your wife. The state of manners is not related to the state of one’s finances. There are plenty of rude people up above, as we all know.

If anything, folding your napkin would suggest that your family used cloth napkins at dinner — not a given for a long time now. Napkin rings would have been issued, and you would have been expected to place your napkin in yours neatly. Folding the napkin might also indicate that your family did not have a laundress, and so the napkins were used for several meals before washing, but that is hardly what one would call low-class.

However, when one is dining out, there is no question of the napkins’ being reused. (At least, there should not be.) That is the reason not to attempt to make the napkins look as if they are fresh.

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