Great, Now I’m a Bad Parent AND a Harlot.

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Remember this post I wrote about Miss Manners in which I used an excerpt from her 1984 book, Miss Manners’ Guide to Rearing Perfect Children?

Since then, I’ve been noticing that folks have been searching the term “Miss Manners 2011″ and ending up at my blog.

Yikes.  I’m not sure that people who are concerned about etiquette are my target demographic.

So, being the naturally curious person I am, I googled the old gal.

Turns out, she’s totally still alive.

She was born in 1938, which makes her 73 years old.

She was also the recipient of the National Humanities Medal from President G.W. Bush in 2005.

Well, that means she’s earned at least one medal more than I have, so I’m really not in a position to poke gentle fun at her, am I?

Interestingly, I also discovered that she was a guest on The Colbert Report with Stephen Colbert on March 23, 2006.

Here’s a link to that video:

The Colbert Report and Miss Manners (2006)

Okay, here’s my latest evidence as to why Miss Manners would disapprove of me:

Dear Miss Manners:

My husband and I have a thirteen-year-old “typical teenager” who is very concerned about appearance.  However, she enjoys having very long fingernails, always manicured and polished.  I object to their length because of their appearance being that of an older woman—a harlot, I should say.  Being a nurse, I also consider them a carrier of bacteria.  None of her friends have such talons, and her nails are a topic of conversation (and envy) among them.  My husband does not support me in my effort to trim the situation.  Any suggestions?

Gentle Reader:

Miss Manners’ first suggest was to find something more significant to fight about.  It is not her impression that growing fingernails is the worst behavior that typical teenagers can invent, if pressed.  After thinking it over, Miss Manners decided to discard this suggestion.  Why force a child to think up something else that will annoy you?

If Miss Manners must side, she will state that long nails, especially if red, are considered vulgar in grown-up women.  In thirteen year-olds, they are considered to be an amusing sign of mild rebellion.

It was Miss Manners’ dear mother who first pointed out to her the harm of complete parental tolerance.   During the 1960s, when many parents not only condoned but imitated their children’s attempts to rebel, the poor children were driven mad trying to find something that would work the age-old trick of shocking their elders.  She predicted that many would find nothing left to them but to indulge in extreme forms of religion and chastity, if they wanted to earn the disapproval of their parents.  It is with this in mind that Miss Manners had decided that there would be little harm in your fighting your daughter over the ludicrous question of the length of her fingernails.  It should keep you both happily occupied until maturity.

My hands are those of a harlot.

Okay, and this one just gave me a tickle, particularly in light of my current life circumstances:

Dear Miss Manners,

All my friends are going away for the holidays.  I won’t have anyone to play with or invite over.  This happens every time we have a vacation, and lots of times on weekends.  Everybody goes to visit his father in nice places, and I have to stay home because my parents aren’t divorced.  Also, they get more presents.

Gentle Reader:

That is hard, and Miss Manners sympathizes with you, but you must learn that life is difficult and we can’t always get what we want.  Your parents have their own lives to live, and if they insist on finding happiness with each other, you have to accept and respect that, no matter how deeply you feel that it interferes with your having a normal life like your friends.  One day you may be a parent yourself and come to understand that a good marriage is so important that it should not be sacrified, even to the children’s understandable desire to get more presents and trips.