DEAR MISS MANNERS: My new upstairs neighbors do not seem to understand that this is an old building with paper-thin walls. On occasion, when they are feeling amorous, it gets quite loud.
The first time it happened, I mentioned — right after they, um, finished and then went outside — that the walls are paper-thin and neighbors can hear quite a bit. I didn’t reference exactly what their activities were. I didn’t want to embarrass either them or myself.
Last night, same thing. So I sent the boy an email and asked if he couldn’t perhaps keep the noise of his “activities” down, and I copied his landlady. (Our bylaws state that tenants are the responsibility of the landlords, but also, she told us before he moved in that she wanted to be apprised of any issues.) Problem: His landlady is also his mother.
Anyway, he responded with a Bible verse from Matthew to the effect of “judge not lest ye be judged” (which was weird as I don’t receive visitors here), and the landlady/mom responded with an offer for his — the tenant’s — cell number so we can discuss this on the phone.
I’m not sure that it merits discussion. It was uncomfortable and awkward for me to bring it up. It seems to me that sex is something between two consenting adults, not two consenting adults and their non-consenting neighbor.
For now, I’m resigned to noise-canceling earphones, but do you possibly have any suggestions?
GENTLE READER: Appeal to his mother rather than to his landlady. Both of them seem to be in denial about the nature of the noises — but it is likely the mother who is truly avoiding the discussion.
Miss Manners suggests that without going into detail, you thank the landlady/mom for the cellphone number, but politely indicate to her that this is a delicate and personal situation that needs a mother’s input. And then thank the young man for his Bible verse by quoting back those bylaws.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: My dear husband of 30 years goes to early morning workouts or jogs. Upon his return, he must “cool down” and appears completely naked in the kitchen for at least an hour. He drinks tea, prepares eggs, reads the paper, etc.
I’m not put off by his body (albeit sweaty, smelly, unpleasant). I’m concerned in regard to hygiene about the kitchen. I find it appalling that while we are starting our morning, body hair and such may be polluting a sanitary area we prepare food and eat in.
I’ve requested that he cool down quickly and then put on some loose-fitting clothes or a robe, but he is oblivious. I’ve researched being naked in the kitchen, and articles have reflected that folks actually choose to cook this way.
GENTLE READER: People choose to do all kinds of things, but if it bothers you, any research condoning it is inconsequential. If your unhappiness is not a persuasive argument, Miss Manners suggests that you find a sign that says, “Cooks in the kitchen must be clothed” and display it prominently.
Please send your questions to Miss Manners at her website, www.missmanners.com; to her email, firstname.lastname@example.org; or through postal mail to Miss Manners, Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.