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Tuesday, May 26, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Miss Manners: You forget the second part of ‘blunt yet kind’

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

DEAR MISS MANNERS: I pride myself on being a blunt, yet kind, person.

I choose my battles wisely, speak from my heart and always let someone know when they have upset me or my family. I have some family members (in-laws) who are not used to my approach, which often leads them to ignore me, shame me on social media or call me names.

Should I just keep my mouth shut around them, or continue to be me?

GENTLE READER: The “you” of whom you are so proud is, by your own account, someone who habitually antagonizes others and inspires them to retaliatory rudeness. Miss Manners would not care to attend your family gatherings.

Whatever you mean by “blunt, yet kind,” it is not working. Perhaps you mean the supposed kindness of pointing out everyone’s faults. As it serves no purpose but to inspire the targets to upset you even more, Miss Manners would think that the closed-mouth solution would be a good choice.

DEAR MISS MANNERS: I have what I believe is a benign lipoma on the outside of my calf. It is not painful, but it has grown over the years, and now looks rather like half of a baseball has lodged itself in my leg. Because of its size, I rarely wear shorts in public, but occasionally it is noticed by someone, and questions often follow.

Notably, on the rare occasion when I treat myself to a professional pedicure, the technician refuses to concentrate solely on my toes and insists on giving me the “full treatment,” which includes a lower-leg massage. Invariably, they express surprise at seeing my unwelcome “guest.” Upon explaining what it is and assuring them that, other than cosmetically, it doesn’t really bother me, they ask about or suggest various treatment/removal options.

Miss Manners, I am not an idiot. I know that it might be surgically removed, but right now I have no medical insurance and I am still a half-year away from Medicare. And even if I had insurance, my research tells me that removal of this growth is unlikely to be a covered procedure (if I am correct about its nature).

The same line of conversation also tends to occur when friends or family notice it. As much as possible, I prefer to ignore its existence, and I really do not appreciate it being made the topic of extended conversation, even if those prying have the best of intentions. Short of being rude, how can I shut this down? I’d ideally like some kind of all-purpose response.

GENTLE READER: “It’s not catching. And I’m fine, thank you. How are you?”

DEAR MISS MANNERS: Waitstaff in restaurants virtually always place the bill by the male in any party. I take offense at this old-school, sexist presumption. I would prefer waitstaff either place the bill in the middle of the table, equally accessible to all genders, or just ask who wants the bill. I’m eating in a restaurant; I know I’m going to pay for my meal. It’s not a surprise! How can I politely correct this outdated, sexist practice when it happens?

GENTLE READER: With an outstretched hand and an “I’ll take that, please.”

Please send your questions to Miss Manners at her website,

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