Etiquetteer at Random, Vol. 14, Issue 8

Perhaps it's just the weather, but Etiquetteer has become something of a magpie, hopping from one shiny observation on manners to the other:

  • The Perfectly Proper place for a table knife is to the right of one's dinner plate, not in the center of the back of one's dinner partner, and certainly not in one's host's back.
  • Mourning should show respect for those being mourned, which means that those wearing mourning need to look put together. Just tossing on everything one owns that is black will not do. It must be appropriate to the occasion and with the other garments worn at the same time.
  • One of the most Perfectly Proper talents one can cultivate is that of changing the subject when controversial topics, or even topics on which people might disagree with more Heat than Perfect Propriety, come up in conversation.
  • Sometimes Etiquetteer is tempted to ask Incessant Texters "If you were with the person you're texting now, would you be texting me?" But that's not very Perfectly Proper . . .
  • Last month after Etiquetteer's very successful talk, "Evolution of the Dinner Party 1860-1954" at the Gibson House Museum, a member of the audience asked when, during that time, guests might inform hosts about allergies and dietary needs. The answer, of course, was "Never." These days the shoe is on the other foot, and it's no wonder the amount of entertaining conducted in homes has declined. No host can be a short-order cook, nor should be.
  • Etiquetteer hopes all the ladies are preparing their pink mohair coats for spring.
  • The practice of making multiple, simultaneous reservations and different restaurants "because I don't know what I'll be in the mood for," is Absolutely Outrageous and needs to be stopped. Certainly some restaurants have taken to shaming no-shows publicly on the internet (about which Etiquetteer feels ambivalent), but one solution would be for those online reservation websites to prohibit multiple simultaneous reservations from the same diners.

Finally, Etiquetteer can only wonder what misuse of the plumbing led to the posting of this sign: "This sink is for hand washing only. No other articles can be placed inside or on this sink."