DEAR MISS MANNERS: Our next-door neighbor sold his house, and the new neighbors have turned the property into an eyesore. Their 3-acre lot looks like a dump now.
They have piles of dirt, branches and trash piled 8 feet high in many places in their yard. There are broken vehicles, trailers, boats, etc., throughout the property.
The previous neighbor had a well-kept yard, and we enjoyed our view for many years. I am so sad I can no longer enjoy my view when I relax outside.
I want to improve the existing fence that separates our properties, extending the privacy fence to block their unkempt yard. My husband says it would be unkind to do that to our new neighbors.
GENTLE READER: As your neighbors have not considered your feelings in the yard aesthetic, Miss Manners assures you that you need not ask approval for improving your fence. Please assure your husband that there is nothing unkind about it.
Excessive noise or debris in creating the fence, however, should kindly be kept to a minimum.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: I am a musician who is regularly hired to perform at weddings. In the past, I have used the phrase “bridal entrance” to describe one of the services I provide.
However, I do not wish to discriminate against same-sex couples or nonbinary people, and want to make that very clear in my descriptions.
Can you suggest some nongendered words that can be used to substitute for “bride” and “groom”? I have heard people suggest “nearlywed,” but to me this sounds a little cutesy. However, if you think this is a fine word to use, I will gladly do so.
GENTLE READER: If you are referring to announcing the couple’s arrival, how about using their names? With the addition of “soon-to-be” if those names are about to change?
This would not only solve the problem but also be a huge favor to their guests.
Miss Manners would be remiss, however, if she did not point out that the whole practice of having a musician or DJ announce the marrying couple is unseemly in the first place. This is a serious occasion, not an awards ceremony.
But she has no desire to put you out of business — only to point out, perhaps unkindly, that etiquette does not acknowledge your problem in the first place.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: My husband recently passed away, so I am tasked with writing over 50 thank-you cards. While I enjoy writing short, personal notes in each card, I would prefer to generate address labels because I am having difficulty squeezing long names on the envelopes. My children find this to be impersonal. What are your thoughts?
GENTLE READER: Setting aside Miss Manners’ question of what exactly you are thankful for — she assumes you mean for condolence letters or attendance at your husband’s service — it is also her preference to handwrite addresses. If larger cards and envelopes are not an option, she suggests smaller handwriting.
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.