Advice on manners and morals.
Jan. 9 1999 3:30 AM

(Continued from Page 1)

--Prudie, resolutely


Dear Prudie,

Growing up, I was taught that a gentleman precedes a lady when entering a public place (e.g., a restaurant), as a sort of vanguard, and follows her upon exiting. Is this behavior still appropriate and/or useful?

Please reply to

--Anonymous, via Internet. Thank you.

Dear Anon,

Your training is still appropriate. Good manners never go out of style. If Prudie could channel Emily Post, however, she might suggest that you also precede the lady upon leaving an establishment, if only to push or hold the door open.

--Prudie, precedently

Dear Prudence,

What is with all these people who take offense at social pleasantries? And why are you encouraging them? Salutations such as "How are you?" and "Have a nice day" are obviously free of malicious intent and have virtually no semantic content, thus providing no basis for umbrage. Such pleasantries are clearly intended to be both polite and friendly, and responding to proffered congeniality with disdain, reproof, or sarcasm is nothing short of boorish. Rudeness needs dissuasion rather than promotion, as there is already rather enough to go around.

Have a nice day (a sincere wish, expressing my hope that the reproving tone of my missive will not tarnish your humor).