Last week, I had the pleasure of sipping Earl Grey at the Russian Tea Room while listening to Anna Post (Emily’s great-great-granddaughter) and anthropologist Genevieve Bell discuss etiquette as it pertains to technology. The event was hosted by Intel, which just completed a study on tech etiquette that shows that people believe there are unspoken rules when it comes to technology use, but we haven’t been able to agree on what those are.
Anna and Genevieve spoke to these differences in opinion, agreeing that we’re in a transitional period. There’s no clear-cut answer to the question, “Can I use my phone in the bathroom? just yet. Mobile devices and programs, like Facebook and Twitter, are still relatively new, and society needs a little more time to figure out how to be polite about using them. But Anna did share some advice. … Keep reading »
Not that you ever send snail mail any more, but Miss Manners received an interesting question from a reader yesterday: How should she address letters to same-sex married couples? I guess Mrs. and Mrs. Jones looks a little like a typo? “Thank you for not contributing to the general rude-ing down (the equivalent of dumbing down) of society by chucking honorifics altogether,” Miss Manners replied. She warned against addressing the letter simply to the intended’s name. “When Miss Manners sees a letter baldly addressed ‘Martha Dribbleport,’ she always thinks it must be a summons,” she explained. Nope, turns out there’s a format as old-fashioned as the post office for addressing more than one married person of the same sex: “Mesdames” for women and “Messrs.” for men. Those words look kind of bizarre to me, but what do I know? I’m too busy rude-ing and dumbing down society. [South Coast Today] Keep reading »
Recently, I was taking in a rare sunny day on my lunch break, when I ran into an acquaintance. The first thing she said to me wasn’t “Hi” or “How are you?” but “Wow, you look so tired!” I don’t even remember my immediate response because I was too focused on my depleting self-esteem levels. I wanted to say, “Gee, thanks. Actually, I was feeling pretty rested and refreshed until you said that,” but I changed the subject instead.
I’d love to say this was an isolated incident, but accidentally insulting comments like “Rough night?” or “You seem so frazzled!” are surprisingly commonplace in social situations. Most of the time, the people who say them are well-intentioned, but that doesn’t take the sting out of an unintentional slight. So what are the most common offenders when it comes to the worst things you can say to people? Keep reading »
This week in “Keepin’ It Classy,” I received a letter from a lady who is trying to get back out onto the dating scene, but she’s confused about current social mores:
“I’m recently single and although I’m not quite yet ready to mingle, I do want to go out with my old girlfriends. Now that I have so much free time, I thought that it would make my social life easier, but it totally hasn’t. I’m so used to just hanging out at home with my man or making couple plans, that I don’t know what the protocol for an average date with the girls is. When did I get this lame? If I want to make plans day of, can I text two friends at the same time to see what they’re doing? Or do I have to wait for one to respond first? Making plans to hang out with friends is even tougher than dating!”
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This week, I received a letter from a woman who’s having commitment issues about her friend’s wedding. Here’s what she has to say about her cold feet:
“I met up with my old college roommate to celebrate her engagement. Although I hadn’t seen her in years, when she asked me to be a bridesmaid, I totally said yes. Clearly, I was drunk. The worst part is, now I’m remembering what a control freak she is. I’ve pretended to give a hoot at countless dress fittings and didn’t even complain that the dresses she picked for us were hid and $500. But now she wants her bachelorette party to be a week long vacay in Vegas. I’m not made of moolah, or time off from work. I know this is like the most special day of her life. But it’s not mine and I want out! Can I quit? She’s already driving me crazy and her wedding isn’t til October. I do still want to be her friend, just once her bridezilla days are over.”
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I have a friend—bless her heart—who is habitually late to everything! It all started when Lynn went to work for me as a freelance editor. She never showed up when she said she would, always arrived looking like the mad scientist with hair askew and papers flying out of her cramped notebooks, and as breathless as if she’d just run the Boston Marathon before remembering, “Oh! I have an appointment!” Keep reading »
A couple weeks ago I addressed the issue of a woman changing her name when she marries. I expressed that although I don’t plan to change my name when I get hitched this summer, I respect and appreciate every woman’s right to choose what’s best for her. I reject the notion some have expressed that when a woman takes her husband’s last name she’s giving up her identity.
But then I had an interesting conversation with my mother recently that added a whole new layer to this name and identity dichotomy. I’ve been working on wedding invitations and I’m in the middle of finalizing a guest list and collecting addresses, so I shot my mom an email to make sure I had the most current addresses of our family members, and I also asked how I should formally address certain people on the envelopes. I figured that my mother and grandmother, being total old-school traditionalists, would prefer to be addressed with their husbands as Mr. and Mrs. TheirHusband’sFirstAndLastName, but I wasn’t sure about everyone else. How, for example, should I address my aunt who’s divorced but retained her married name?
My mother’s reply sort of shocked me. Keep reading »
Spring is here, which means many of us will be spending all of our weekends for the next four to five months going to wedding after wedding after wedding. When you’re an adult, weddings are the closest thing to high school proms or homecoming dances. Unless you’re a socialite who attends charity balls on a regular basis, weddings are one of the only times we get to put on a pretty dress and go dancing! But what to wear? Over on Fashionista, commenters are going wild discussing whether female guests can wear white. It’s long been a rule that no one but the bride should wear that color; however, some schools of thought say that rule is no longer relevant. Keep reading to hear what Peggy Post of the Emily Post Institute, along with various wedding authorities, has to say about wearing white when it’s not your wedding. Keep reading »
Today at noon, MTV is turning out the ladies! No, not in their typical Spring Break style, but real, proper ladies. They’ve taken a smattering of girls gone wild and sent them to a British finishing school in hopes that they’ll reform and refine themselves (or at least stop drawing on their eyebrows!). As students at Hedsor Hall, they’re guided by a team of etiquette experts. Alongside transformed party girl and former Miss USA, Tara Connor, are two tough teachers from the institution who previously worked their magic on the awesome Sundance show called “Ladette to Lady.” Now, they’re teaching their old world charms to these young bitches.
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It’s often assumed that women are the cleaner sex, but when it comes to public restrooms we often forget our manners. Since we’re tired of seeing and hearing inappropriate things in the restroom, we thought we’d remind ourselves and you of public restroom etiquette. We’ll be posting this in the restroom down the hall. Keep reading »