February 11, 2011 in Features

Love is love, coach is coach

Judith Martin, United Feature Syndicate
 

DEAR MISS MANNERS – What is the proper way for a couple in a committed relationship to manage air travel together when one is a frequent flyer with high airline status and the other is not?

One partner travels extensively for business and is always upgraded to business or first class while the other retains the booked coach class seat.

If the frequent traveler is paying for the tickets, should she sit in the front and leave her partner in the back? Split the upgrade each way of the trip? Flip a coin? Or forego the upgrade and both sit in coach together?

I think we should share the upgrade or not use it at all. What are your thoughts?

GENTLE READER – It’s certainly risky to ask one’s true love to choose between one’s own dear company and flying in what passes for relative comfort. Love is love, but coach is also coach. Miss Manners strongly recommends avoiding the question by agreeing that the points be applied to companion upgrades. Or just take the train.

DEAR MISS MANNERS – Mothers who object to having to give a Valentine’s card to every child in the class are way out of line!

Sixty-four years ago, when I was in Miss Pon’s kindergarten class, if we had only brought cards for those we favored most, two girls would have gotten all the cards from both the boys and the girls. And I still remember their names.

Being a shy, quiet girl without the pretty curls or the blond hair, I would have ended up empty-handed. Life does not get much better in the higher grades. Third-graders, especially, can be pretty selective when it comes to who is popular and who is not.

Parents can use Valentine’s Day as an opportunity to teach their children empathy for all their classmates. Let each child have the joy of a bagful of cards to bring home and sort through and arrange in rows on the rug. They may even learn to read the names of their friends and the silly rhymes on the cards.

Postpone the hurt feelings for later, when the child is not selected for the dodgeball team, or when he is not invited to a party. Who knows, maybe the Valentine’s lesson in empathy may even prevent some of those future hurts.

GENTLE READER – Including one that is not generally anticipated.

And that is that children often grow up to be quite different from what can be anticipated at young ages – most certainly from what can be anticipated by their peers. Miss Manners has noticed that their peers are less likely to judge by what adults would consider good looks than by self-confidence. It isn’t the curls that children find fetching – it is cockiness, with or without the attributes adults pronounce darling.

The one sure thing, as your experience testifies, is that people do not forget childish slights. So here is a practical reason to prevent your child from snubbing that timid or awkward child: He or she may grow up to be dazzlingly desirable, with a long memory.

Visit Miss Manners at her website, www.missmanners.com, where you can send her your questions.


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