Open Thread

by epi on January 23, 2012

Welcome to the 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.

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Peter January 23, 2012 at 4:02 pm

I’m curious to know what people’s thoughts on substituting a black suit for a tuxedo are. With an empty 8-seat table, that would otherwise go unused if we don’t attend, my in-laws recently offered my wife and I seats at a charity black tie event about 3 hours from our home. I am currently unemployed, as well as sans tuxedo, so I would need to rent a tuxedo on top of the expense of driving a few hours to and from the event. I do have a black suit and black dress shoes and I am curious how appropriate it is to simply spruce up that ensemble with a black necktie, etc. I figure that since I am just there to spend time with my family and don’t know anyone else, this could be a nice way to avoid spending $150 on a rent-a-tux. The other side of the coin is that I should look my best for potential networking opportunities. Thoughts? Options?


Peter January 23, 2012 at 4:39 pm

To clarify, my in-laws are going to the event and invited us to join them at their 8-seat table.


Alicia January 23, 2012 at 5:21 pm

Well I would look up via that events website or just googling pictures to see in past years was it common for men to just wear black suits at this event or not. Many black tie events are truly black tie and you would feel horribly out of place in a black suit. A few are less then really black tie and many men would be in black suits.
If you decide you would feel more comfortable wearing a tux then I would consider buying a used one off of ebay they are much cheaper then a rental and you can wear it more then once.


Zakafury January 24, 2012 at 9:16 am

It sounds quite clearly formal. I would decline if I could not arrange to have a tux in time.


Elizabeth January 24, 2012 at 10:29 am

I would ask your in-laws. Presumably they are familiar with the organization and perhaps the event itself, and can tell you if a tuxedo is really expected or if there are a number of other attendees who normally wear nice black suits. If you are honest with them about your situation (out of work, feels frivolous to spend the money to rent a tux), they may offer to spring for your tux if they believe it necessary for you to wear one.


Jerry January 24, 2012 at 9:13 pm

Black tie means black tie. It does not mean “dark suit.”


susan January 24, 2012 at 2:32 pm

I recently met my daughter’s boyfriend’s mother for the first time. “Leah” launched in to a diatribe about how her son has never had anything but “the best” in any situation. I was so stunned I couldn’t come up with a suitable retort. My husband, a doctor, met her and it was a complete reversal (our daughter did introduce him as “Dr….). The boyfriend is a very nice young man but his mother….well, I could do without her. I have since tried to be pleasant and let any passive/aggressive remarks just roll off my back. What is the best way to handle this situation in the future? I don’t want to be mean since I was not raised that way (I was born and raised in London). What should I do?


Zakafury January 24, 2012 at 3:17 pm

I don’t quite understand your problem. It sounds like you believe Leah was implying that you did not provide well for your daughter? She talks down to you because of your profession, perhaps?

I expect you could easily avoid her in the future without seeming mean at all. If the problem escalates, you should let your daughter know why your are avoiding her boyfriend’s family.


Jerry January 24, 2012 at 9:19 pm

Mother: “My son has never had anything but the best in any situation”
You: “Neither has my daughter.” And glare. Let her dare to contradict you. Or, if you want to give her the benefit of the doubt, “then its so good our children found each other.”

In situations where one person is engaging in verbal harassment, I always counsel returning fire. You wouldn’t let a bully physically push you without responding (either by pushing back or calling the police). Why would you let a bully verbally push you around without responding (by verbally striking back)?


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: