Faux Pas At 12 O'clock High!

The U.S. Air Force Academy turns out officers, but will they be gentlemen--or gentlewomen--any longer? In a cost-cutting move, the academy intends to abolish the office of Cadet Wing Hostess, an in-house Miss Manners. In 1955, when the academy opened, the hostess instructed the all-male student body in the finer points of calling cards and the quaint Victorian custom of calling on commanding officers.

Today's hostess, Cinda Sue Thorhauer, is more attuned to the perils of etiquette in these supposedly gender-blind times. Example: Does a junior female officer open the door for a senior male? Answer: Yes at the academy, no in social situations. Closing the office will save just $30,000, Thorhauer's salary. That makes Thorhauer take off the white gloves to ask whether cost-cutting is the real motive. "Some people are not really confident with etiquette and decorum," she sniffs.

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