His wife is used to it, or has given up trying to improve his English. I am both mildly amused and mildly offended, and have no idea what to do.
Any blanching Miss Manners might have done was diffused many years ago by an old family story. Bear with her while she guesses that your friend’s husband’s habit might be explained without prejudice to the speaker, potty-mouthed though he might be.
It seems that a cousin of Miss Manners’ was fortunate enough, as a very young man, to be befriended by the great Italian conductor Arturo Toscanini and his wife. Then during World War II, the cousin, as an American soldier, was assigned to be a guard at an Italian prisoner of war camp, where the prisoners taught him to speak Italian.
On his return, he said nothing about his new skill, hoping to surprise the Toscaninis by conversing with them in Italian.
Well, he certainly surprised them. Apparently it took Mrs. Toscanini a while to recover to the point of being able to explain to him what he had actually said.
The point here is that one should be careful when selecting language teachers. Your friend’s husband must have learned from people who are in the habit of lacing their talk with expletives, as many people are nowadays. He may think it is ordinary speech, or perhaps he believes it is amusing or daring.
And unless his wife thinks so, too, she is the one who should tell him that others may find it offensive. If you mention it to her, it should be in the style of Mrs. Toscanini — complimenting him on his skill, while gently saying that he might not realize the effect on others of his choice of words.
Dear Miss Manners: When dinner at home consists of an entree and also a salad on a separate salad plate, sometimes I prefer to finish the main course and then eat the salad.
It is rude for me to place the salad plate more conveniently on top of the entree plate while I enjoy the salad? I don’t do this when others are around, but I always wonder if it would be gauche.
The lovable thing about etiquette — perhaps one of its few such attributes — is that it doesn’t spy on you when you are alone. But to make this habit presentable in front of others, you need only remove your dinner plate, replacing it with the salad plate instead of balancing one on top of the other.
Miss Manners hopes that you will be happy to hear that in the traditional formal meal, salad is a separate course, served after the main course. Just the way you like it — but without stacking the plates.
©2021, by Judith Martin