DEAR MISS MANNERS: Is it considered rude to dress in weather-appropriate shorts and T-shirts if doing so reveals scars that are obviously self-inflicted?
By JUDITH MARTIN
My hard times are long behind me, and the scars are all faded and white, although theyll always be pretty obvious. For many summers, Ive tolerated the discomfort of wearing long pants and sleeves through the heat waves, and Im tired of (falsely) insisting to well-meaning people that, no, Im not too hot in these clothes.
Im aware that if I wear clothing that makes the scars visible, Ill get even more questions and looks from (less well-meaning) people. I dont want to burden anyone with troubles from my past, but Im tired of roasting through summers.
Would it be improper of me to wear clothing that exposes my arms or legs on a hot day? What is a polite way to deal with stares and questions, whether about scars or excessive clothing in high temperatures?
GENTLE READER: As you are already spending summers dodging annoying questions, you should at least make yourself comfortable.
Many factors determine proper dress: the season, the weather, the occasion; national, regional and social customs; the prevailing symbolism, and so on. However, Miss Manners is outraged at demands that disfigurement or heavy weight or signs of age should prevent people from wearing bathing suits or other revealing but respectable clothing in the proper context.
Of course it is not rude of you to wear short-sleeved shirts and shorts under informal circumstances. It is rude of others to stare and ask questions.
But you know they will. You need reply nothing more than, Youre kind to worry about me, but Im fine. These are very old scars.
© Universal Uclick 7/24
Send your questions to Miss Manners at her website, MissManners.com, or through postal mail to Miss Manners, Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.