Dear Miss Manners: I have worked in the hotel industry for many years, and know the ins and outs of making beds. When my husband and I took a vacation to see friends, they kindly let us stay in their home during our visit. To our surprise, the bed we slept in only had the bottom sheet, and a comforter for our top layer.

Since it was rather warm, the comforter was out of the question to use. We politely asked if we could have a flat sheet for our bed. Our hosts looked shocked that we even asked, and flat-out said they didn't have any flat sheets.

We quickly apologized and let it go. The next morning, my husband and I went to the nearest store and bought a flat sheet to use and brought it back home with us.

Is this the latest trend, to not use top sheets anymore? Should we be packing sheets whenever we stay at other people's homes?

What bothered us most was wondering, when was that comforter last washed?

I guess what we are trying to say, for hostesses out there, is that if people are going to stay in their homes, please provide a complete sheet set that the guests can use or peel away. Are we out of line here?

Gentle reader: When you say "we," you might include Miss Manners, who believes a properly made bed has two sheets, a blanket, a blanket cover, a bedspread and a reasonable number of pillows.

However, she is aware that she may not encounter this arrangement when she leaves her own well-ordered household. Indeed, there are many who, in using comforters, immediately did away with bedspreads, and are now doing the same with top sheets.

Whether your hosts wash the duvet cover as often as they do the sheets, she cannot say. But it is rude to let on that you suspect your hosts of slovenliness. So Miss Manners hopes that you did not mention that you had to provide your own bedding.

Thankgiving plans

Dear Miss Manners: I extended a single Thanksgiving invite, one month in advance, with a Nov. 20 RSVP date. On Nov. 10, they thanked me and said they had not yet decided.

I have now been invited to another home and want to handle this correctly. Do I wait to hear back by the 19th, or is the expectation midnight on the 20th?

Is it OK to e-mail Thanksgiving wishes to my invited guest and mention our new plans? Or, should I call — and what if I have to leave a message?

Gentle reader: You should have checked with Miss Manners before issuing a generous deadline. Without one, you could reasonably have expected an answer within a few days, and asked for a definitive one now. The best you can do is to plead that you find that you need to know — without mentioning that you could do better.

"Miss Manners" is Judith Martin of the Washington Post. Send questions to her website,