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Old 04-17-2011, 06:31 AM   #1
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OK, here's a loaded subject. But potentially fun. What rules of etiquette (for you youngsters, simply manners) have fallen by the way-side, which have stood up to the test of time? Which do you like, which do you eschew? Which are totally different from one country to another, or even from one part of the U.S. to another? Have you ever found yourself doing a faux pas because you're in unfamiliar surroundings and don't really know what you're supposed to be doing?


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Old 04-17-2011, 07:27 AM   #2
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Oh, please, don't get me started!!! Manners are a measuring stick by which a civilization can gauge itself.

1. Men, REMOVE YOUR HAT AT THE TABLE!!! Even when eating at a local restaurant and you're only wearing a ball cap - REMOVE IT!
[During the 18th and 19th centuries, wearing a hat at the table was considered an insult to all of those in the room, and an offense worthy of being shot - saloons exempted.]

2. Ladies, TURN OFF YOUR CELL PHONE AT THE TABLE!!! You have no idea how rude taking or making a cell phone call is to, not only those with you, but to those around you! - NOTHING IS SO IMPORTANT TO SAY ON A CELL PHONE THAT IT CAN'T WAIT!
[You would think that before the advent of cell phones, seeing a line of anxious women waiting to use the restaurant telephone was a regular event.]

3. Say, "Thank you," more often.

4. Call ahead when you plan to visit someone and find out if it's a convenient time to see them. Don't just show up unannounced.

5. Guys, it's still OK to hold doors open for your lady friends or wife.

6. Keep children under control while in public. Teaching them good manners from the beginning is an important aspect of being a parent, and in fact, is generally viewed as a mandatory responsibility. A child with good manners is a real joy!
[Not everyone views your little Johnny in the same light as you do. To be honest, he is NOT cute and is often looked upon by strangers as a source of annoyance unless proven otherwise.]

7. When at a buffet table, it's not necessary to STACK YOUR PLATE SKY HIGH!!! In case you didn't know, you can usually go back for seconds.
[You don't need to act like Hansel or Gretel and leave a trail of fried rice from the buffet to your table, nor make yourself look as if you're pig at a trough by wiping out all thirteen won tons so no one else gets any for a while.]

This is enough for now, but I may add more later.

"Food is our common ground, a universal experience." - James Beard
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Old 04-17-2011, 08:45 AM   #3
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What Selkie said...
“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” - Albert Einstein
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Old 04-17-2011, 08:56 AM   #4
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Writing a note of thanks.
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Old 04-17-2011, 10:19 AM   #5
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My dad always said that he may not know every social rule but good manners would get him through any situation. He had exquisite manners; I'd like to think that I picked them up and passed them along to my son as well. People learn manners by being exposed to them. And if they're an expectation of children, they become second nature.

For me it goes way beyond the dinner table. Treat everyone with respect and kindness - this especially includes those giving you a service of some type. Please and Thank You are not optional. Holding open doors for the person right behind you or before you is done no matter which sex you are. Etc. etc.

Funny story: One day summer day I was picking up my son from a YMCA day camp he was attending. As I was signing him out the lady at the counter said "Hold on, there's something I need to give you about Cody". Immediately my thoughts were, oh lordy, what did that little tyrant do today. Instead she handed me a nice comment card which talked about how having Cody sit at her lunch table was always such a pleasant experience. He said please and thank you, helped the younger kids when they needed it and was the first to pick up after himself when they were done. It made my day!! (after I got over the guilties for immediately thinking the worst about him, of course...!). LOL

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Old 04-17-2011, 11:08 AM   #6
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What Selkie said except would add:

#2. Should go for men as well, not just ladies. I've seen men sit at a restaurant table with their wife and kids and stay on the phone the ENTIRE time they were eating.

#3. And respond with "you're welcome" instead of "no problem."
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Old 04-17-2011, 01:55 PM   #7
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Hold your utensils like flags and turn them upside down to cut your food. Do not use a fist to hold your cutlery.


No texting at the table. No iPods at the table. Dinner is for conversation.

When not at the dinner table, I'm rather fond of having doors opened for me by my husband. He does it for me with every door, car and otherwise. I like having heavy packages carried by him too. I'm totally OK with doing it myself, but its still nice.
You're only given a little spark of madness. You mustn't lose it. Robin Williams
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Old 04-17-2011, 03:37 PM   #8
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This is what I mean, how manners have changed. One being the cell phone. If you want to talk to someone else, remove yourself from the table or room. Just go to He.. away from me. Why are you with me if you want to talk to someone else. I swear, the next time I'm with some one who is talking to some one else, I will simply leave the table or bar.

The hats thing drives my husband crazy. Take it off if you're eating, especially. Because we are a family with a military tradition, I can usually get the response I want by a simple statement: Are you under arms? Oooops. That means Auntie Claire is peeved that we're wearing our hats at her table.
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Old 04-17-2011, 03:43 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Claire View Post
The hats thing drives my husband crazy. Take it off if you're eating, especially. Because we are a family with a military tradition, I can usually get the response I want by a simple statement: Are you under arms? Oooops. That means Auntie Claire is peeved that we're wearing our hats at her table.

Drives us crazy, too. In our house it's, "I didn't realize the roof was leaking." After a puzzled look, in some cases, the chapeau is usually removed.
"As a girl I had zero interest in the stove." - Julia Child
This is real inspiration. Look what Julia became!
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Old 04-17-2011, 03:48 PM   #10
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To me, there is a difference between manners and etiquette. Manners are the way you treat the people you are with, saying please, thank you, not picking your nose or teeth in public etc. Etiquette are those rules that are applied to formal social engagements such as weddings, formal dinner parties, receptions etc. So many times people seem to cite arbitrary "rules" in order to show superiority. I figure if you follow the basic golden rule of do unto others most of the time you'll act appropriately.

That said, the one thing that seems to be ignored is the RSVP. I don't know how many times I've asked people to let me know if they are coming and I don't hear and don't know how to plan. Maybe no one ever taught them that RSVP means to respond please.

I could give up chocolate but I'm no quitter!
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