Hi all! Sorry for the lack of posts this month. I’m still recovering from my injury, and I’ve taken a lot of time this month for myself and my health. Pushing to post daily here is a great way to distract myself from my recovery, but I am also trying to be diligent with my rehab, which feels like a full time job (I reached 95 degrees flexion yesterday!). I’m planning on getting back to a more consistent posting schedule this fall. Thanks for sticking with me!
I’m usually pretty laid back. But when someone doesn’t show basic manners, I get irate. Recently my sister and I were driving up 10th Avenue, and this young woman was jaywalking up the middle of the avenue. We lightly friend-beeped at her to make sure she was aware that streets have cars on them and you can get hit. Instead of her waving with regret and hustling out of the way, she continued to strut up the street like she owned it, and then…gave us the middle finger.
I nearly lost it. Who did this girl think she was? She was the one doing something wrong, and she still felt entitled to flip us her middle finger? I’m someone who always tries to be considerate to others and I feel awful when I’m not–heck, I panicked when there was a smidgen of white in my dress for a bridal luncheon I recently attended. So, I want to know…how does this bird flipping B sleep at night?It was a good thing my sister was driving, because I might have stopped the car to give this woman a piece of my mind. It got me thinking about basic manners and etiquettes, and how the world relies on everyone’s participation for optimal function. Imagine if no one ever arrived anywhere on time, or if everyone used their middle finger instead of their turn signal. Picture a world with no pleases, thank you’s, or responses to RSVPs. What if everyone texted during dinner, and clipped their toe nails on the subway. It would be a wild wild world, I’m telling you…
I attempt to consistently learn as much as I can about proper etiquette. I love this thought from Emily Post on etiquette:
Manners are a sensitive awareness of the feelings of others. If you have that awareness, you have good manners, no matter what fork you use.
Over the last several years, I’ve relished in learning the less commonly known etiquette rules. I’ve picked them up mostly from my friend Jordan, who is the King of Manners, and my sister Toby, who attended West Point, and as a freshman, was hazed if she didn’t use proper etiquette at each meal, class, meeting, etc.
So, without further ado, I present to you my list of 10 Etiquette Rules You are Probably Breaking:
Make eye contact when toasting.
This is a big one with my family and inner circle of friends. We are so adamant about it, that if you saw us toasting you’d think we were all punching each other with our eyes. When a toast or cheers is made, it is polite to hold eye contact when clinking someone’s glass. It’s considered rude to not make eye contact, and often considered bad luck by the French superstition.
Butter to plate, plate to bread.
The proper way to butter your bread is to take a bit of butter and put it onto your bread plate so you have your own personal butter stash. Don’t butter your bread directly from the shared butter dish. Tear your bread into smaller pieces and butter each piece as you go.
Stop congratulating a newly engaged woman.
The groom-to-be is to be congratulated, for she said yes! Congratulating a bride insinuates that it was not a given that she would succeed at getting married or that she didn’t have her choice of suitors. Instead, tell the bride “best wishes” and save “congrats” for the groom, who presumably deserves a pat on the back for succeeding at his goal of convincing his lady to say yes. (Please share this one on Facebook!!)
Salt and pepper unite.
If someone asks for one or the other, pass both together. They are a couple. They go everywhere together.
Get up, stand up.
No matter your gender or age, if you see someone who needs a seat more than you, GET UP. The bus and subway can be overwhelming for anyone who is pregnant, injured, elderly, carrying a heavy load, trying to figure out a tourist’s map, has 4″ heels on, has a baby strapped to their frontside, backside plus one on a leash. You’ve had a long day too, but it will feel good to help someone other than yourself be a little more comfortable for a few minutes.
If you are toasted to, do not drink to yourself. Once the toast is over, immediately toast to those who toasted you. It doesn’t have to be an elaborate or long speech, but recognizing the toast with a “return toast” is a classy and kind way to say thanks.
Hold your cocktail in your left hand.
I have gotten caught at cocktail parties with my drink in my right hand. When I’m being introduced to someone, it’s awkward to shift my drink to my left hand and then shake their hand with my ice cold right hand. If you keep your cocktail in your left hand, you’ll be ready to meet someone at a moment’s notice, and not offer them a frigid first impression.
The three day rule.
My mom instilled this one in me at a young age: Fish and visitors start to smell after three days. While it’s great to stay with friends or extended family while you travel, it can get old fast for your hosts. They are not on vacation, but instead running their busy everyday lives, all while trying to be hospitable to you. Making meals, keeping their home tidy, carving out time to spend with you, making your stay welcoming and special…it’s all very tiring. Get the heck out of there before day 4 and your hosts will probably invite you back!
The stem is your friend.
Stop warming that wine’s temperature with your hands. Hold it by the stem, no matter the color or carbonation. The stem the stem the stem! That’s what it’s there for!
Never return a dish empty.
If someone brings you food, you should eventually return the dish. The kindest way to do so is to fill the dish with cookies or a bouquet or if you are just super talented at life, a casserole. Life is hard and hectic, so maybe placing a thank you note in the dish, or a small plant or succulent is a better option. I keep a small army of succulents on my window sill in these sweet little tea tins, so I always have them on hand when I need a small gift. I was so impressed when I gave my neighbor Katie a tiny tupperware of cookies…I never expected the tupperware back, and when she returned it with some Bliss blood orange and white pepper sugar scrub, I was beyond blissed!
Hope this helps you on your etiquette journey. Kindness and manners matter. Help me spread the good word!