Share this article

print logo

Miss Manners: At divorce, you start being single

Dear Miss Manners: When do you stop being “divorced” and start being “single”?

Gentle Reader: At precisely the same time.

When people start treating you as single, as opposed to divorced – which is what Miss Manners suspects you really mean – depends on how intriguing the details of the separation were. And how much one or both of the relevant parties continue to publicize them.

Time out to wash dishes

Dear Miss Manners: My husband and I feel very fortunate to have several couples with whom we occasionally get together for a meal at one of our homes. Sometimes it is just to be together; sometimes it is for a little celebration like a birthday, or to share a movie or play games.

We are fairly casual, with an occasional “special” event. The dishes are usually quickly dealt with by two or three of us, so that we can get down to visiting, celebrating, playing, etc.

One person we socialize with refuses any assistance with the dishes, and the rest of us find ourselves uncomfortably twiddling our thumbs, waiting until she is finished cleaning – especially when we will be opening gifts, watching a movie, etc. We would rather she accept some help or that she wait until we have left.

When close friends gather for a meal at one of their homes, what is the proper dish clearing-and-washing etiquette?

Gentle Reader: If the hostess wants to sneak a few dishes into the dishwasher as she is clearing them, Miss Manners would not find fault. But to leave the guests for a lengthy amount of time borders on rude and conveys to the guests that she would rather have a clean house than their company.

If your friend persists despite your offers to help, ask if it is all right if you begin the merriment without her – and she can join when she is ready.

Introducing new husband

Dear Miss Manners: My grandmother has dementia and is slowly dying. Hospice is there with her off and on these days. I am planning a visit to see her.

I would like my husband to be with me when I visit her, but they have never met, nor does she know that he and I are married. We married after she developed dementia, and I never introduced the two, so as to not overwhelm her any.

If I were to introduce them this weekend, there is no guarantee that she will remember him in any future visits. There is also the chance that she won’t even remember who I am. Your thoughts?

Gentle Reader: If it is important to you and your husband, then Miss Manners would encourage the introduction.