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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Miss Manners: Address roommate’s bathroom-hogging the old-fashioned way

By Judith Martin, Nicholas Ivor Martin and Jacobina Martin Andrews McMeel Syndication

DEAR MISS MANNERS: I’ve got this roommate who goes into the restroom in the morning – not a problem. But he goes in, and for 30 minutes to an hour, he does not make a sound. Sometimes he eats ice cream. Reads books. Does whatever weird things.

So he’s literally wasted an hour in there, and he’s now going to “interact” with the shower – he sometimes runs it for no reason, and other times does use it. But this adds another 30 minutes.

Is this too long, in terms of etiquette? How should I confront him about this issue?

GENTLE READER: Oddly enough, etiquette never got around to issuing a bathroom timetable. Nor does it take an interest, as you so keenly do, in the activities that go on inside.

Therefore the only possible question for Miss Manners to consider is what you should do when you need to use the bathroom and your roommate shows no signs of relinquishing it.

Well, you bang on the door and say, “I really need to get in there.” And you find a less urgent time to work out a schedule that will enable him to enjoy himself without making life difficult for you.

DEAR MISS MANNERS: I have inherited some lovely jewelry. I would very much like to wear it, both for its beauty and for its association with the dear relative who left it to me. However, it seems distasteful to wear it so soon after her death, especially the pieces that she wore often and that will remind others of her.

Is there an appropriate mourning period after which it will be acceptable to wear it? Or do I need to have it redesigned so it will not be recognizable? That would make me sad, since I cherish her memory and would like to continue to be reminded of her through the jewelry she wore. But I don’t want to distress others or look like a grave robber.

GENTLE READER: You will look, Miss Manners assures you, as if you are honoring your relative by cherishing the jewelry she wanted you to enjoy.

DEAR MISS MANNERS: We have seen different replies to this question: Is it proper etiquette to have the groom’s sister stand up in the wedding?

The groom and his sister are not close. Until two years ago, they didn’t even speak. She is insistent that she should stand up, and it is “proper etiquette” to have her. In the five years that the future bride and groom went out, the bride has just recently met her.

GENTLE READER: Sorry, but you have not been seeing “proper etiquette,” nor does the bridegroom’s sister sound as if she knows any.

Genuine etiquette authority is purposely vague about who should be in the wedding party, only suggesting that they be people who are important to the bridal couple. A bonus would be the ever-present stipulation underlying all manners: to avoid hurting people unnecessarily.

Just as Miss Manners cannot know who is important to any individual couple, she cannot know whether the family damage done in excluding this etiquette-free sister would be worth it.

Please send your questions to Miss Manners at her website,; to her email,; or through postal mail to Miss Manners, Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.

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