Q: For many years now, my spouse has “played around.” I do not believe he has had any feelings toward the objects of his lust; it is more the thrill of the hunt. I have kept quiet for the duration of his disrespect of our relationship, but now my anger is at the boiling point.
Disregarding my obvious emotional handicaps in having not addressed this earlier, do I just look at him over the dinner table and unleash my rage? Or has the statute of limitations expired on that?
A: Has it expired on your rage? While tirelessly polite even in the most trying of circumstances, Miss Manners would not presume to deprive you of expressing your understandable and generously built-up anger.
The more important question here is what you plan to do after the explosion. If you intend to stay with your husband and think that things may change by this outburst — or at least make you feel better about the situation — then let loose.
However, if you are planning to leave, it might be more effective to write a well-worded note, preferably from your lawyer, and save your passion for a worthier gentleman.
Q: I don’t know how to ask guests politely not to clink glasses during a toast when I’ve set good crystal (really, really good crystal).
My husband gets embarrassed if I tell anyone how to do anything; he says it can sound like I’m chastising him or others, and I don’t want to sound that way. However, we are not in any financial position to prioritize replacing broken crystal over, say, impending retirement savings, and these are my family glasses that I’d love my grown son to have one day.
What do I say, short of embroidering a sign or having tacky coasters made that say:
“Raise a glass but please don’t clink
“The crystal is old, might develop a chink.”
A: Congratulations to your crystal for making it this far. Reasonable breakage is a natural consequence of hospitality.
But while Miss Manners loves an antiquated custom, clinking glasses is a particularly barbaric one. It is rooted in the idea that one should beware a host’s inclination to administer poison. If they are willing to exchange the contents of their glasses, then they must be trustworthy.
Which raises the question: Why are you drinking with someone who is trying to poison you? But far be it for Miss Manners to admonish a show of good behavior over true intent. However, she digresses.
She sees your only polite option, other than avoiding celebrations and toasting all together, is saying, when initiating a toast, “Let’s raise a glass,” indicating strongly that they should not be clinked. And if you are not the initiator, a hearty “Hear! Hear!” with your glass raised high, rather than clinked — and deliberately bad aim toward anyone else who tries — should set an example.
Q: When is it appropriate to wear yoga pants?
A: Well, not at Pilates. Unless you are looking to start a (very calm and core-centered) war.
Judith Martin writes the Miss Manners column with help from her son, Nicholas Ivor Martin, and her daughter, Jacobina Martin. 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.