Dear Miss Manners: I’ve always ridden buses and subways to work, and make a conscientious effort to make my seat available for the elderly, for pregnant women, for people with obvious disabilities and for small children.
In fact, I look up from my paper or phone, scan those entering the train at each station to assess need, and if I see only young, healthy people, I keep my seat — which I, frankly, enjoy, as I am often fairly tired and enjoy the reading time.
My boss told me that when he’s on a bus (which is seldom, as he’s not from the city), he glares at men who are seated whenever ladies are standing — even young, healthy women. I was embarrassed to admit he might be glaring at me in those situations.
Have I been incorrect to keep a seat as long as there is any woman standing? I certainly never refuse a seat when anyone asks — as I figure appearances alone do not determine one’s particular comfort or ability — but now I wonder if I’m deserving of his glare for not insisting a woman take the seat.
Gentle Reader: How fierce is his glare? Does it work? Do countless male riders blush and jump to their feet?
At best, this is a questionable technique. And your boss seems to have missed the evolution of the precedence system. We have indeed moved from a strict Ladies First order to that based on age and need, which Miss Manners is pleased to note that you have faithfully observed.
She worries that your well-meaning but anachronistic boss will be in for a shock when a equally well-meaning but up-to-date lady offers him her seat because he is her senior.
Dear Miss Manners: I was the only nonfamily member to co-host a baby shower. I made and presented gifts, made decorations and created parting gifts for partygoers.
The expectant mother, who has previously sent thank-you notes like clockwork, did not acknowledge my participation. I know your stance about gifts being too big a burden to be acknowledged, but where do I stand now? It will be several years before the little one can give thanks on her own. Should I stop the gifts until then?
Gentle Reader: WHAT? Surely you cannot be attributing to Miss Manners the foul idea that presents are “too big a burden to be acknowledged.” Rather, she believes it should be considered a privilege to express the gratitude that must be rising within anyone fortunate enough to have generous friends.
But perhaps you are referring to her belief that if there is no such expression, the recipient must consider that receiving generosity is more of a burden than a pleasure. In that case, which seems to fit your friend, the considerate thing to do is to cease creating that burden.
Please send your questions to Miss Manners at her website, www.missmanners.com; to her email, firstname.lastname@example.org; or through postal mail to Miss Manners, Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.