Miss Manners: I’m a woman in leadership and I’m sick of being asked at events if I’m someone’s guest

DEAR MISS MANNERS: I am a woman who works in a male-dominated industry, where I have earned a leadership role. I regularly attend industry events where spouses are included, and I love meeting my co-workers’ spouses.

However, I am frequently asked who in the room I am married to, or whether I am married to my (male) boss. Sometimes other people in the industry will even ask these questions.

I usually say something along the lines of, “I work for Company X,” but it doesn’t feel like enough. I’ve worked hard for my position, and it is frustrating for people to assume I’m a guest.

Do you have any suggestions for how I might respond?

GENTLE READER: Include your title when introducing yourself. Miss Manners trusts that that will be shaming enough, and can therefore be done subtly: “I’m the vice president of Company X,” rather than “I’m your boss.”

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DEAR MISS MANNERS: I am 69 years old, with a 29-year-old daughter who lives at home with my husband and me. Growing up, my family always expected us kids and young adults to help out around the house whenever possible. We were never asked; we were told we should offer at all times.

Well, I brought my daughter up that way. However, for the last four to five years, she has never volunteered -- she says she should be asked!


I disagree, and this has caused a tremendous strain on our relationship. Is it proper to offer to help, or to wait until asked?

GENTLE READER: It would be more polite of your daughter to volunteer, but she has not thought this through. Perhaps what you have chosen to object to (her not volunteering to help instead of not actually helping) has led her to believe she will never be asked.

Miss Manners would have you ask kindly, but constantly, which will lead to one of two outcomes: Your daughter will get tired of being asked, and simply do the work. Or, she will object to having to contribute, which will lead to a more substantive discussion about family responsibilities.

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DEAR MISS MANNERS: I am an avid magazine subscriber and reader. When I am done with my magazines, I pass them on to several people, depending on their interests. If I want to keep an article or a recipe from one of them, I have been making copies of those pages, but I would prefer to just tear them out (as the recipes often have side notes, etc.).

When one passes along a magazine, should it be whole? If I tear out recipes or articles, should I just recycle the rest of it? I am the one paying for the subscription, so I feel that I may use the magazine as I want before passing it on. Or does the recipient have a right to receive a whole magazine?

GENTLE READER: Rights are something to which a person is intrinsically entitled -- or, if Miss Manners may be permitted to move from constitutional law to etiquette, something you are not required to say “thank you” for (though you still may).

All your beneficiaries should expect is a friendly warning that you retained the dessert recipe. Better that than a whole magazine covered with chocolate stains.

Miss Manners | Judith Martin, Nicholas Ivor Martin and Jacobina Martin

Miss Manners, written by Judith Martin and her two perfect children, Nicholas Ivor Martin and Jacobina Marin, has chronicled the continuous rise and fall of American manners since 1978. Send your questions to