Open thread

by EPI Staff on January 21, 2010

Welcome to Etiquette Daily

This open thread is your space to use as you like.  We invite you to discuss current and traditional etiquette. Feel free to ask questions of each other and the community moderators here.

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Julie G January 21, 2010 at 7:20 am

At work, we have a phone system that is integrated with Outlook. Employees are able to see who has called and who has left a voice mail. What is the proper thing to do when someone calls but does not leave a message? Do you call them back or only call those people back who left a message?

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Graceandhonor January 21, 2010 at 7:42 am

You do not call those back who have not left messages. There are a number of reasons people choose not to leave messages, nor want someone to call them back unless they ask.

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Courtney January 21, 2010 at 10:30 am

My husband and I recently bought our first house and would like to host a housewarming party. My husband’s cousin’s children are all younger and are very wild at family gatherings. I don’t want to worry about kids running around when I’m trying to show our friends and family our new home – as well as enjoy the evening and focus on being a good host. Additionally, I worry about the damage that could be done in our no-very-kid-friendly home. I don’t have gates or plastic plugs on the outlets or even anythig that would remotely entertain children.

How do I phrase our invitations to relay the message of “Adults Only”?

Thank you.

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Graceandhonor January 21, 2010 at 10:43 am

“We regret we cannot accomodate children at this party.” Though, one would hope the invitees understand the invitation is only for those to which it is addressed.

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Cindy January 21, 2010 at 1:31 pm

I am engaged to be married and this is the 2nd time for both. We have decided to get married on a cruise, but still want to invite people to attend the nuptials. How do we word the invitation so that they understand that we would love for them to be there but it is at their expense. We will be getting married in August so that if friends and family members want to make it a family vacation as well, that is wonderful with us. And since we are asking them to pay for their own way, do we still register for the people that obviously can’t attend? We are still considering having a reception type celebration at a later date. My fiance lives in another state, so in addition to cruise expenses, I will also be relocating 1500 miles, with furniture , kids and pets in tow. And would it be improper for the invitation to start out with my sons names as the ones that are giving me away? They are teenagers but definitely want to be included.

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Graceandhonor January 22, 2010 at 5:33 am

“Cindy Smith Jones and Robert Bacon Brown are pleased to announce they will be married June 10, 2010 aboard the SS Happy Times and invite you to attend. Information on cruise packages is enclosed. Please R.s.v.p. by May 25th.” Be sure your enclosed cruise packages information states the cost so the invitees understand they are to pay their own way. Your invitations should be in their own envelope, enclosed with the cruise brochures in a larger one.

As for registering, I would suggest that since this is the second marriage for you both, that you forego registering. If anyone wants to send you a gift, let them come up with their own ideas. In view of the fact your guests will be incurring significant expense for the trip, that should be gift enough.

Since you and your fiance are the ones hosting your wedding reception aboard the ship, (and this should be done for your guests by you) your boys should not be listed on the invitation, but it would be wonderful to have your sons give you away, if this will not make them uncomfortable in their relationship with their own father.

Best wishes to you and your family.

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KellyZ January 21, 2010 at 8:21 pm

My husband and I were on vacation with another couple. We were all eating out at a fine dining restaurant. Each person had a small bread dish but not a special butter spreading knife. The butter the server left for us did have a single butter spreading knife. My husband used the spreading knife to dish out enough butter for his slice of bread and then proceeded to use the knife from his place setting to spread it. This sparked a small debate between all of us as to whether not it was proper form to consider the butter spreader as a service utensil only and to use one’s own knife to spread the butter or if the single butter spreader should be used to spread the butter or not. Thank you.

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Graceandhonor January 22, 2010 at 5:12 am

Your husband’s manners were impeccable in this situation. Butter should always be apportioned from a communal dish to one’s own bread plate, and then each bite of bread buttered as it is eaten with one’s own butter knife if one is available; if not, use the place setting knife. One should never, ever use the knife in the communal dish to spread the butter on one’s whole piece of bread, because it is rude to butter an entire bread serving at one time, and if you think about it, more than one person using a single spreader would result in a waiting list for using it, yes?

Aren’t you the lucky woman to have chosen so well! Tell him we said so.

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KellyZ January 22, 2010 at 5:32 pm

I told him and he sends his thanks. I never knew you were supposed to butter your bread one bite at a time. Why is it poor manners to butter the whole slice?

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Graceandhonor January 22, 2010 at 7:49 pm

If you have a dinner roll or slice of bread, you should never pick up the entire piece and bite from it as it is unattractive to hold large pieces of any food to your face in a more formal dining situation. That is why we tear bite size pieces and eat them one at a time. We don’t pick up a 12 oz. ribeye and bite from it, do we? Its the same principle.

If you have buttered the entire roll, when you go to tear it, you’d get butter all over your hands. It certainly wouldn’t be dainty and some of our modern table manners survive from European court manners from several hundred years ago. For instance, the French court took dining manners to the extreme in their daintiness; both men and women alike adopted prissy mannerisms to make dining a theatrical spectacle. Just look at any period “chick flick” to see what I mean. Court clothing often had voluminous sleeves and I bet the practice of tearing and buttering small pieces of bread originated then so the food didn’t touch all that lace at the wrist; small pieces were simply easier to handle, and yes, much more pleasantly observed by onlookers.

Modern man likes to think we are original, when in fact, we aren’t at all.

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Joe January 22, 2010 at 4:52 am

I need to send out Christmas gifts late. It’s now late January… As wedding gifts are appropriate for up to a year after the wedding, is there an appropriate time for the holiday gift?

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Graceandhonor January 22, 2010 at 5:14 am

It is never too late to send a gift; just be aware that enthusiasm wanes as time goes by, so make sure you’ve upped the wow quotient. Today is the perfect day to get this behind you.

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Mary January 24, 2010 at 9:03 am

What is the proper way to approach friends and family for plegdes for an event? I will be participating in a stair climb for the American Lung Association and need to raise 100.00 Especially in these hard economic times, what should I do, or not do?

Thanks!!!
Mary

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Graceandhonor January 24, 2010 at 3:10 pm

“I know we are all going through tough economic times and charities definitely are. That is why I am participating in a stair climb for the A.L.A. and if you’d like to sponsor me, we would be very grateful. Please let me know if you can, and if not, I completely understand.”

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Niligeosseher February 26, 2010 at 4:59 am

Hi,

My first time here. Got a question about this new kitten. Well, actually Ms. Boots had five kittens.

My wife gave all but one away. She says she gets to name it, I say I do because I take care of all the others. haha

Any good websites for finding cat names?

thank you

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Daniel Post Senning February 26, 2010 at 10:36 am

Could you send a picture of the furball to dan@emilypost.com. I could post it and then we could all vote on the name that fits best.

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