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Miss Manners: The difference between people-watching and staring

Dear Miss Manners: My husband and I dine out about once a week. He is fond of “people-watching” and likes to look at other diners while we are eating. I think, however, that he tends to stare at people. He says one cannot have an expectation of privacy in a public restaurant. I think it’s rude to stare.

Can Miss Manners please explain the difference between staring and people-watching?

Gentle Reader: Staring is when you get caught.

Dear Miss Manners: My 3-year-old daughter was asked to be a flower girl for the wedding of her father’s cousin. Her father and I are no longer together.

While I understand my not being invited to the reception, I feel like I should have been invited to the ceremony to see my daughter as a flower girl (this is her first, and maybe only, time). I know the couple personally, although we are not friends. Space would not be an issue, as the venue is quite large.

Am I being unrealistic with this feeling, or is the couple in the wrong?

Gentle Reader: While it is understandable that you would want to see your daughter in the “role” of flower girl, this is not a pageant, but a family event – a family of which you are no longer a part.

Miss Manners understands that people confuse weddings with entertainment nowadays, what with wedding parties being chosen for their looks and guests all but charged admission under the guise of “honeymoon funds.” Nevertheless, weddings are not intended to be theatrical events, and stage mothers are not required.

So please send your daughter off cheerfully to enjoy herself at the wedding. There will be plenty of her relatives there to look after her.

Dear Miss Manners: I have golfed for over 30 years and am female! I love the game and the etiquette of the sport, rules, peacefulness, etc.

In the past two years, I have experienced folks, male and female, who play music on the course! When asked to shut off the music, some do -- however, most are offended!

Please ask new and old golfers to bone up on rules of golf course etiquette! I am tempted to start singing at the top of my voice next time! Trust me, they don’t want to experience that!

Gentle Reader: They should try corresponding with you! The experience might be similar!

Miss Manners presumes that the music being played is portable and not piped in through speakers on the golf course. You could politely ask management to make and enforce a blanket policy about music so that you are not put in the position of policing and educating your fellow golfers. Miss Manners fears that that is why these players are taking offense, more than at the request itself.