The Judith Martin reference article from the English Wikipedia on 24-Jul-2004
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Judith Martin

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Judith Martin is an American newspaper columnist and book author. Writing under the pseudonym Miss Manners, she deals with problems of etiquette and manners contributed by her readership, as well as improving understanding of the essential quality of etiquette.

In a 1995 interview by Virginia Shea, Miss Manners said "You can deny all you want that there is etiquette, and a lot of people do in everyday life. But if you behave in a way that offends the people you're trying to deal with, they will stop dealing with you...There are plenty of people who say, 'We don't care about etiquette, but we can't stand the way so-and-so behaves, and we don't want him around!' Etiquette doesn't have the great sanctions that the law has. But the main sanction we do have is in not dealing with these people and isolating them because their behavior is unbearable."

Her columns, noted for their wit, analysis, and broad knowledge of history and customs and their applications to the problems of today, are collected in a number of books. She works in Washington, D.C

Samples of her answers:

"Dear Miss Manners: What is the correct way to walk in high-heeled shoes?
Gentle Reader: Left, right, left, right, left, right."

"Dear Miss Manners: How should I address a homosexual couple?
Gentle Reader: 'How do you do?' 'How do you do?'"

"Dear Miss Manners: How is a hat properly worn?
Gentle Reader: Same as always; on the head."

"Dear Miss Manners: What about Easter? I suppose you have etiquette rules that apply to Easter Day?
Gentle Reader: Certainly, and when the Day of Judgment comes, Miss Manners will have etiquette rules to apply to that, as well."

"Miss Manners doubts that there is anything in the world like an elegantly dressed Bostonian lurching across the room and diving face first into a bowl of guacamole dip while simultaneously disengaging her bodice from her bosom. Therefore, Miss Manners has a wee bit of trouble preparing a general rule for dealing with this eventuality." read full article here, near end of page

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