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Miss Manners: When girl, 4, and her dad go shopping

Dear Miss Manners: As a 39-year-old single father who has a beautiful 4-year-old girl, I would like to know what is proper etiquette for taking my daughter shopping for clothes and then having to take her to try them on in a fitting room.

I went to the women’s dressing room and didn’t know whether I should go in. There were moms sitting down waiting for their children to come out of rooms. My child still needs a little help.

Gentle Reader: This is an adorable daddy-daughter ritual, and one with which Miss Manners is certain the waiting mothers would sympathize. You need only apologize for intruding and state your dilemma to have them offer to help, or to cordon off an area for your use.

But it is also possible to avoid the awkwardness completely by taking advantage of the many Internet options and liberal return policies that the modern world offers. The two of you could pick out returnable clothing together on the Internet and have it sent. Or you could choose clothing in stores and have her try it on at home.

When the time comes for her to try on prom and wedding dresses, she presumably will be old enough to work the zippers herself and to emerge from the dressing room for your approval – also a charming ritual.

Not pleased with yoga music

Dear Miss Manners: I have been attending yoga at a studio that plays music that is not very conducive to the practice of yoga.

I realize that there are more nontraditional studios these days playing everything from ’90s grunge, to current R&B, to DJs performing during yoga classes. But as a musician myself, I feel that the teachers are missing an opportunity to use music in a healing way.

Maybe it just comes down to personal preference, but is it too selfish to ask the instructor to change the music?

Gentle Reader: Yes. As a musician yourself, how would you respond if after advertising and playing, for example, your finest Stravinsky, a patron suggested that you play something a little more soothing?

If you don’t like the music at your yoga studio, Miss Manners urges you to change classes. But please don’t offer your unsolicited critiques to a place that has already asserted and established its own artistic vision.

This column was co-written by Judith Martin’s son, Nicholas Ivor Martin. Please send your questions to Miss Manners at her website,; to her email,; or through postal mail to Miss Manners, Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.