Miss Manners: I wish people would stop commenting on my eating habits


Dear Miss Manners: I have a digestive problem that forces me to make certain adjustments to avoid a lot of inconvenience for the days to come. At meals, I limit myself to small portions and can’t even think of rich desserts. I also feel much more comfortable in loose clothing.

The problem grew during the pandemic. Now that I see some people again, I find they can’t help but make annoying comments about my eating habits and clothing choices.

As you can imagine, they assume I’m trying to maintain my weight (I’d actually like to gain it back) and say things like “Oh you can afford it” or “One bite won’t kill you”.

When it comes to clothes, I am unable to look at another pair of tracksuits or yoga pants and often wear dresses. The neighbors ask me why I’m so “dressed up”. The hostess at the first gathering I attended in two years actually implied that I was overdressed and others were uncomfortable.

I would love to treat myself to a great meal or a fantastic dessert or wear my skinny jeans again, but the consequences just aren’t worth it. (Why skinny jeans you have to slip into are considered more casual than a dress you pull over your head is beyond me, but that’s another story.)

I especially hate to object when a guest brings a good dessert, but I have to. I don’t think I owe these people a detailed medical history, but just referring to a “medical issue” may make it sound too serious.

He seems to be a universally accepted truth that all people really want to do is indulge in fattening foods while wearing sweatpants. And that anyone who claims otherwise needs only coercion or intimidation to succumb.

Insisting that they give in to temptation does no one a favor.

If you don’t want to oblige them by making you sick, you must stand firm. A repeated “No, thank you” will do – or, if you feel you must, “I’m afraid I can’t, but I’m happy to live vicariously through you.” It looks delicious.”

And jeans, while nice to some, are like sausage casings to others. A good high-necked dress or a suit and tie can be really more comfortable. (Miss Manners has more than one gentleman friend who prefers to wear the latter on a plane – or even while taking a nap.)

She therefore suggests that you gently counter-humiliate these narrow-minded comfort seekers: “On the contrary, my intention was not to make others uncomfortable, but to make myself comfortable. . Surely you are not used to defining this for others.

Dear Miss Manners: I’ve always felt that people who invite other people to attend an event, knowing they can’t attend because they live far away in another state, just ask for a gift in their absence. Any thoughts on this?

Or – and humor Miss Manners about that – people just have friends who live in other states.

Sure, societal greed has reached epic proportions, but accepting the idea that invitations are only issued to extract gifts is too cynical even for Miss Manners. She would therefore ask that you always try to assume the best, bearing in mind that attendance and gifts are always optional.

New Miss Manners columns are published Monday to Saturday at washingtonpost.com/board. You can send questions to Miss Manners on her website, missmanners.com. You can also follow her @RealMissManners.

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