Miss Manners: Blonde grows tired of doubt

DEAR MISS MANNERs: I have been blessed with natural blond hair my whole life. I am now in my 70s. I also have no gray hair.

The problem? I have been accused of bleaching my hair for as long as I can remember. When I come back from the beach, it is even lighter, which always raises the question again with friends who see me regularly.

No one believes that it is real. I have had hairdressers not take proper care of my hair because they don’t believe me. Even my grandson does not believe me. When people ask who colors my hair, I say God does.

I know you usually tell people not to answer rude questions, but this has gone on long enough. Any suggestion other than dying it a darker color, which I would hate to do?

GENTLE READER: You would hate to sacrifice your hair color to justify these people in their now-false assumptions?

Is Miss Manners to suppose that you would grudge having your teeth pulled if they insisted that you were wearing false teeth?

Let us hope that you don’t really care what most people think but are tired of the insulting idea that you are vain and untruthful. But you should be wary of entrusting yourself to hairdressers who cannot tell the difference between untouched and bleached hair.

There are two possible answers to others who make and persist in such rude assertions – one offhandedly dismissive and the other sternly dismissive:

“All right, don’t believe me. Have it your way.” This is a way of saying “Your persistence about this is beginning to annoy me, so I’m calling a stop to it.”

Or the stronger version: “Are you calling me a liar?”

You may not want to use either on your grandson. He can be told, “If you’re lucky, you may inherit this from me and not turn gray in your old age. Then you’ll believe me. In case I’m not around then, I’ll accept your apology now.”

DEAR MISS MANNERS: What’s your take on posting the death notice of a loved one on Facebook, or people who post condolences to your Facebook profile?

My grandmother was recently deceased and my relatives would post their condolences on my Facebook profile. My sister-in-law also announced my grandmother’s death via her Facebook status. Though they are well-meaning, I have always felt such practices to be tacky.

GENTLE READER: That will be two takes that Miss Manners has on the subject, because posting a death notice and sending condolences to the bereaved are different things.

We really don’t have a conventional way of announcing a death other than through telephone calls to those with close ties and printed obituaries in newspapers, alumni magazines or professional journals. Thus not everyone who would be interested finds out. In other societies, black-edged cards are sent out, or notices are put up on public places.

So a dignified notice on an Internet site would not strike Miss Manners as tacky.

Condolences are another matter. Those should be expressions of sympathy and, when possible, kind memories, sent personally from one person to another.

If you would like a copy of Miss Manners’ newsletters, “On Cellular Phone Courtesy,” “The Etiquette of Proper Eating” or “Proper Wedding Planning,” please send a self-addressed, stamped No. 10 envelope and $2 (per newsletter) to Newsletter, PO Box 167, Wicliffe, OH 44092-0167. Please state which newsletter(s) you wish to receive.

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