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Miss Manners: This human thesaurus is annoying, supercilious, bombastic

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Miss Manners: This human thesaurus is annoying, supercilious, bombastic

DEAR MISS MANNERS: A friend of my parents likes to “teach” people, of all ages, new words.

After someone has said something, she will introduce a word that she thinks they could have used:

“So, your brother wanted to aggrandize the situation, did he? Aggrandize it?”

“You don’t think her excuse had a modicum of truth? Not a modicum?”

Some people might find this acceptable if a child is being taught, but she will do this to adults in their 70s — who are 10 to 15 years older than her.

GENTLE READER: Perhaps you can come to their defense by saying, “Great-Aunt Twyla, you choose your words so meticulously. They are meticulously chosen.”

DEAR MISS MANNERS: I’m a brunette, and I started getting gray hair in my early 20s. It became noticeable in my mid-20s.

For about six years, I dyed my hair to hide the gray but decided to stop, due to cost and it being generally not healthy.

I’m now heading toward my late 30s and am probably one-third gray.

I receive so many comments from so many people about my gray hair. It’s never good/positive comments, and almost 100% from males.

They’ll say things about how I should dye it to look younger, or ask why I don’t dye it, or say I would look so much better with it dyed.

Some are co-workers or others I know personally; other times, it’s random strangers I’m interacting with for the first time.

I think it’s rude. I never know how to respond. Any suggestions?

GENTLE READER: “I’m so sorry it bothers you. I’m happy with it.”

DEAR MISS MANNERS: Last night, my wife and I participated in a trivia night event at a local establishment.

It was our first time there, and neither of us cared about winning the competition. We were really there to support the host, our daughter’s boyfriend.

It was a small event, with five teams of two to three people per team. My wife and I were one team.

In the middle of one of the rounds, I received a call back from someone I had left a message for earlier in the day — someone I knew years ago socially — about recommendations for a personal trainer.

When I returned to our table about five minutes later, my wife — usually a rational and levelheaded person — was uncharacteristically angry. She called my behavior rude and said I should not have taken the call, but rather let it go to voicemail.

We got back into the game but argued about the phone call again on the way home. We eventually agreed we just cannot see eye to eye on this situation.

I am perplexed. Was I wrong to take this call?

GENTLE READER: You left your wife to answer trivia questions on her own? Unacceptable!

While you may not have felt particularly competitive, it is still painful to be left solely responsible for what was supposed to be a team effort.

Miss Manners believes that in this case, your phone call was far more trivial than the trivia. She suggests you apologize to your wife.

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



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