Oct 27, 1872 – Sept. 25, 1960
This post has nothing to do with writing, it has to do with living. With the holidays over, I have been thinking about etiquette. What faux pas did I commit by either not following etiquette or by using out-dated protocol that showed my age worse than the wrinkles on my hand?
Without Emily Post to direct me, how do I know what is still current and what is passé?
Below is a list of etiquette I was raised with. I’m not saying I remember to use them all. What do you think is still proper and what ones should be thrown out with the bath water. (I realize that statement will only make sense to certain people – oops dating myself already.)
- Men (and I include boys whenever I say “men”) should open doors (including car doors) for a lady. (i.e. girls)
- Men should give up their seat on public transportation to women and the elderly. Note: I think women should also give up their seat for the elderly if they are younger)
- Men should walk on the outside (curb side) when walking down the street with a lady. Note: Did you know that before indoor plumbing, the rule was the opposite, so if someone threw dirty water out the window of their apartment, the water would hit the man, not the woman?
- Men should either place the hand on the small of her back or gently hold her elbow when walking. (Note: I’d settle for holding hands if appropriate.)
- Men never let a lady lift something heavy when they are around.
- Men stand up when a lady enters or leaves a room.
- Always RSVP to an invitation, even if it does not require one.
- Shoes and shirts at the table (No shoes, no shirt, no service applies in peoples’ homes too)
- Bring a thank-you gift when invited to dinner.
- If given a dish to take home, always return it full, never empty.
- Women should sit with their feet crossed at their ankles, not at the knee.
- When not eating at the table, hands should be in your lap.
- Napkins always placed on the lap.
- No elbows on the table.
- No slurping your soup.
- Children should never interrupt an adult. (Arguing with an adult is never appropriate)
- Respect your elders, even if you think they are wrong.
- Guests to wait to pick up their utensils to eat until the hostess is seated. She picks up hers first. (this applies to dessert served as well)
- Never leave the table, even if you are done eating, until the hostess says you are excused.
- Never say “I don’t like that.” Always, “No thank you. I don’t care for any.”
- Thank-you notes for gifts. Hand written was protocol, but I would assume an email would work today.
- Crude or inappropriate language does not belong at the dinner table.
- This is a new one I made up – No electronics at the table.
This isn’t everything I learned. Mom, I swear there are more. But, this is what came off the top of my head. I’d love to hear what you think of these and if there is any etiquette that I grossly forgot, or perhaps a new etiquette that arose in the last century.