miss manners: etiquette evolves but is not a free-for-all

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by judith martin, nicholas martin and jacobina martinby judith martin, nicholas martin and jacobina martinapril 30 at 12:00 amdear miss manners: in one of your responses, you refer to “unauthorized people who make up their own etiquette rules.’’as with spelling, grammar and a host of other culture-related items, is not etiquette always dynamic, changing over time?whom do you believe is “authorized’’?you are addressing her.it is exactly because etiquette evolves that miss manners has to act as the impartial judge of which are legitimate changes and which are not. from long experience, she knows that a declaration that something is “no longer expected’’ — typically answering invitations or writing thanks — simply represents a refusal to comply with the legitimate expectations of others.someone has to speak up for those who are nevertheless expected to be generous and hospitable — but without acknowledgment or even simple cooperation.it’s a tough job, and miss manners would welcome legitimate help.dear miss manners: my vintage home is currently for sale. i’ve done a lot of restoration work on it, but some remains.this morning i heard voices in front and tho......

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