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Miss Manners: What do I say when they bug me about my hair?

Judith Martin  DEAR MISS MANNERS: I have shoulder-length hair that I wear up in a simple twist style. At least several times per week, an acquaintance asks me, “Why don’t you ever wear your hair down?” or exclaims, “I’ve never seen you with your hair down!” They then follow up with, “You should really wear it down more often!” or even, “Will you wear it down to the event I’m hosting?”
What does one do with these types of comments and questions? Frankly, I find them insulting. I’m tempted to reply with such sarcastic retorts as, “I do wear my hair down, but only at intimate moments,” or “And I’ve never seen YOU naked!”
How can I politely tell them that it’s really none of their business, and if they don’t like my hairstyle, they need not look at me?
GENTLE READER: The etiquette infraction you describe is known as being “overly familiar,” and has itself become all too familiar.
Miss Manners’ solution is to balance it with increased formality. Think of it as taking a step back when someone gets too close:
“Why don’t you ever wear your hair down?”
“I do.”
“I’ve never seen you with your hair down!”
“Oh?”
“You should really wear it down more often!”
“I prefer it this way.”
“Will you wear it down to the event I’m hosting?”
“We’ll see.”
DEAR MISS MANNERS: I received a “save the date” for the wedding for a family friend, a young man I used to baby-sit and have watched grow up. Unfortunately, I will be out of the country on the big day.
Should I send my regrets now, to save them the time and trouble of sending a formal invitation, or wait for that formality?
GENTLE READER: As the “save the date” card is not, technically, an invitation, you are not, strictly speaking, required to respond. Before she is deluged with letters by irate brides, Miss Manners adds that it would nevertheless be both courteous and considerate to express your regret.
Readers have alerted Miss Manners to an inexplicable practice of subsequently neglecting to invite all the recipients of “save the date” cards, but she trusts you know your friends well enough to be confident they will not respond by telling you who will be taking your seat or how much money you have saved them.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: When I had dinner with a friend who lives in a retirement community, a female friend of his stopped by our table to greet him. I reflexively stood, as I was taught to do for a lady older than I. I resumed my seat as we all chatted for a while and then, as she took her leave, I stood again. Nothing odd in this — at least not for someone of my generation — but it occurred to me that, in the context, this might have emphasized to others that they are unable to stand (not least to my friend, who is currently wheelchair-bound).
GENTLE READER: Ladies remain seated when people join the table, as do those for whom rising would be a hardship (or an impossibility). Miss Manners trusts that no one will be offended by your rising, so long as you do not suggest that you are doing so as the youngster at the table.
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.

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