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Miss Manners: Is it “terribly rude” to ask for a glass of beer?
Miss Manners: Is it “terribly rude” to ask for a glass of beer?

Dear Ms Manners, My wife and I were at a casual outdoor party for a child’s birthday. As soon as we arrived, the hosts offered us cold bottles of good beer.

When I drink good beer, I like to let it breathe in a glass or even a plastic cup. I accepted a beer from the host and then – assuming that maybe there were mugs available that I just hadn’t seen – asked for a mug or glass. The host said sure, walked about ten feet into his kitchen and came back with a glass. The beer tasted wonderful.

But when we got home, my wife told me that I had been terribly rude and that out of respect for the host I should have forgotten my preference for a beer with a pleasant air. I contradicted her and pointed out that if the situation were reversed, I would gladly bring my guests a cup or a glass. Who is right?

There you are, and ruined it for the rest of us.

If you had asked for the birthday cake to be served on a gold plate, your wife would have been right: it is rude to make inappropriate requests of the host. Miss Manners does not consider a glass to be inappropriate – a point that would have been easier to make if you had kept to yourself the part about it making the beer taste better.

Dear Ms Manners, I take long walks around my apartment complex every morning. Many others do, too. Everyone seems to feel an obligation to say “good morning” to everyone they pass, which happens so often that I get distracted from my pacing and thoughts.

Most of these people are complete strangers to me and I want to keep it that way so that I don’t get involved in too much conversation when I’m trying to exercise.

Even if Miss Manners were inclined to help you – presumably by nipping any attempts at casual politeness in the bud – would you not still be distracted by the need to growl at every passerby?

A simple nod, without breaking your stride, on the other hand, satisfies the requirements of basic politeness and appears to pose little risk to the development of deep or lasting friendships.

Dear Ms Manners, We invited my son’s classmate to spend a week with us in a rented place on the beach. He eats a lot, as is typical of big, growing, football-playing boys in middle school.

I feel a residual resentment because his mother didn’t give him any pocket money, let alone cookies or any other offer to help with the trip expenses.

When I dropped him off, neither she nor he said “thank you.” They got in their car and drove away without ever mentioning the trip again. I hesitate to include him in the future, although I regret the rudeness.

No futures issuance Invitations are not unkind – nor is the assumption that the host will take care of the guest. However, Miss Manners agrees that a lack of “thank you” is a valid reason not to extend further invitations.

New columns by Miss Manners appear Monday through Saturday on washingtonpost.com/advice. You can send questions to Miss Manners through her website. missmanners.com. You can also follow her at @RealMissManners.

By Everly