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Miss Manners: White shoes, hidden watches and odd-numbered pearls

Concluding that there is no use trying to placate these emotional objectors, Miss Manners has decided to go in the opposite direction by citing other rules they will hate:

● Straw hats should not be worn before Easter nor after Labor Day.

● Velvet should only be worn between Oct. 1 and March 1.

● Fur should not be worn from March through September, and spotted furs should not be worn after dark.

● Diamonds, rubies, emeralds and sapphires should not be worn before dark, the only exception being those that are set in engagement or wedding rings.

● Drop earrings should not be worn during the day.

● Ropes of pearls should be worn in odd numbers.

● Watches should not be seen at evening social events, which is to say that a concealed watch is permissible, but an open one, such as a wristwatch, is not.

● Jewelry should never be worn on top of gloves, unless you are royalty — in which case it is still wrong, but you can get away with it because, despite the tabloid news, people think that everything royalty does must be correct.

There are more such rules, even some for gentlemen, but Miss Manners will now refrain from saying, “How do you like them apples?” and entertain the inevitable questions:

A: These edicts represent the consensus of what those who cared followed, back when anybody even knew there were such rules.

Q: Who’s going to make me?

A: Nobody. So why are you so upset about it?

Q: Does anyone still actually follow these silly rules?

Q: Why? They don’t make any sense.

Dear Miss Manners: How do I politely return a very thoughtful, well-intentioned gift?

I have had some ophthalmic surgeries and other procedures, which thankfully seem to be helping restore my vision at this time. A very thoughtful, caring friend gave me a gift certificate for an acupuncture treatment that she believes would help with my recovery.

How can I gently tell her that there is no way I would allow any more needles to be applied to me unless my doctor was doing the procedure?

Ah, not so thoughtful. Prescribing medical treatment without permission, let alone without a license, is not Miss Manners’ idea of a well-intentioned present. If your friend were ill, would you give her a bottle of medicine for her birthday?

But yes, you should be polite about it. Unfortunately, it is not the sort of present you can stash away, as you will probably be asked about its effect. Nor, heaven forbid, should you regift it. You will have to tell your friend that while you appreciate her concern, you are getting professional medical care and will not be supplementing this by seeking outside treatments.

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