DEAR MISS MANNERS: My husband and I have a difference in conversational styles.
When someone speaks, I was raised to comment on their comments before adding new details from my own experiences.
For example, an acquaintance recalled her trip to Alaska and noted how long it stays bright there in the summer. My husband’s response was to tell her that when we went to Edinburgh, he found it easy to stay just as late there.
To me it sounds like a unique task, but my husband does not see it that way. What do you think?
ENVIRONMENTAL READER: One person’s one-upmanship is another’s related experiences, also known as social conversation.
Miss Manners sees nothing in itself wrong with your husband sharing his perspective, although the tone is obviously important. If you hear him overemphasize “I” much-as in “Well, when I travel to exotic places … ”- or compare yacht sizes, then you can rightly put him in check.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: I was asked to drive to a friend’s daughter’s birthday party as my car can carry a few more passengers than my friend’s.
My daughter was invited, so I did not mind so much. The event was just over an hour away.
When the day came, no gas money was offered. My friend even suggested taking the girls for lunch at a more expensive restaurant afterwards. I shared an appetizer with my girlfriend and tried to save her some money. When the bill came, she asked the waiter to share our appetizer on separate checks.
I was shocked that she was so ruthless. The party was at lunchtime (dinner) and she never intended to feed the children. Eventually, I covered my daughter’s lunch, my half of the appetizer, and the gas to get to the party.
In my opinion this is very rude! Am I being unfair?
ENVIRONMENTAL READER: Asking for gas money for a party your daughter attended seems to Miss Manners a little miserable and unsatisfactory. But apparently, these properties run in your circle.
If your friend did not intend to feed the children, she should not have suggested going to a restaurant or having held the event at noon. And she certainly should have thanked you for attending – with more than half a potato skin.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: I have read many complaints about people in restaurants changing their baby’s diapers at the table. I wonder what your suggestion is for where parents (or other caregivers) should change diapers when there is no changing table available.
Shall we get down on the bathroom floor for a diaper change? I’m surprised at the number of restaurants and shops that do not have changing tables — even places that market themselves as family-oriented.
ENVIRONMENTAL READER: In these cases, you can ask the restaurant management where it is best to do so. Miss Manners assures you that they have an interest in finding you a healthy and discreet place somewhere – and if they do not, they are only to blame for any stinking consequences.
Send your questions to Miss Manners on her website, www.missmanners.com; to her email, firstname.lastname@example.org; or by mail to Miss Manners, Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.