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Hand towels to be used, not admired

Wed., Feb. 6, 2013, midnight

DEAR MISS MANNERS: My husband and I are flummoxed. In our powder room, we keep a pretty container with decorated paper hand towels on the vanity right next to the sink. There is also a towel ring on the wall with a towel that is there as a decoration. (It’s embroidered and is partly satin, and to us it is obviously a show towel only.)

Inevitably, some, if not most, guests will use the show towel rather than the paper hand towels.

Why do you think this is? We would think it’s obvious that if there are paper hand towels in a powder room, they are to be used, rather than a show towel hanging on a rack. We certainly use the paper towels at other people’s homes. Are we doing something wrong?

GENTLE READER: Yes: trying to show off with a hand towel.

Miss Manners has heard of show horses and show dogs, and she is aware that some people use expensive art or automobiles to show off. But to hang a towel as a showpiece is ridiculous, and to expect guests to understand that they are unworthy of drying their hands on it is insulting.

DEAR MISS MANNERS: Granddaddy always took his hat off when going indoors. Is this still true?

GENTLE READER: You’ll have to check with Granddaddy. If he is a gentleman, Miss Manners trusts that he still does.

Please send your questions to Miss Manners at her website,; to her email, dearmissmanners@; or through postal mail to Miss Manners, Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.


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