Miss Manners: Q: Do I need to change the sheets for each new guest? A: Ew!

DEAR MISS MANNERS: We are empty-nesters who always seem to have a guest stopping by for a night. I love having guests. What I don’t love is stripping and making the beds!

Do I need to provide each guest with a new set of sheets? Is it horribly rude and unsanitary to have two subsequent guests use the same set of sheets? Guests are sometimes cousins, if that makes a difference.

GENTLE READER: Are you asking if being cousins makes your guests less likely to think “Ew!” when they open the bed to used sheets?

Miss Manners doubts that. But being cousins does make a difference in that you are probably on more informal terms with them than you would be with an unrelated, infrequent guest. You can therefore leave a set of fresh sheets in their room the day before they depart and say, “Would you mind changing the bed before you leave?”

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DEAR MISS MANNERS: Some of my (grown-up) family members will pluck loose hairs off their shoulders and clothes, then drop them onto my carpet, without even trying to hide it!

I don’t say anything, but I wonder if I may ask them to put these loose hairs in the garbage can or compost container. I’m pretty grossed out by their behavior. Your thoughts?

GENTLE READER: First, that you need one of those vacuum cleaners that they make for people with hairy pets. Then -- Miss Manners presumes you would prefer to stop the habit -- you could pick up the offending hair and say absently, “Is this yours?”

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DEAR MISS MANNERS: Many people’s cellphones are set to show an image when they call. I have a friend who uses a full-face image of her husband -- who has been dead for over eight years -- as “her” photo when she calls someone.

She is in therapy, but still voices her heavy grief all the time. I realize grief has no proper timetable, and I respect her choice to speak about her husband and how much she misses him. But I find it profoundly jarring to see the face of this long-dead man whenever she calls me.

Is there a reasonable way to let her know the image is disturbing?


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DEAR MISS MANNERS: My father has passed, and we received many condolence messages, memorial donations, meal deliveries, flowers and assistance in other ways. My mother, sister and I all live in different cities.

My dad, sister and I share a last name, but my mother’s is different. I will be writing the thank-you cards on behalf of the three of us. What is the best way to sign them? My name first? My mother’s? We can’t sign with “the Smith family,” as my mom is not a Smith, so to speak.

GENTLE READER: Generally, there is only one signature to a letter, and others are included by preceding it with something like “Charlotte and Kevin join me in thanking you for ...”

However, Miss Manners will allow you to shorten this by identifying all of you as “the family of the late Horace Smith.”

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