Q: We just spent a weekend at the home of our daughter’s future in-laws. I was terribly embarrassed when my husband went over to the dining room table, which was set for dinner, picked up a plate, turned it over, and looked at the back. He then did the same thing with the silverware. He said he was just curious and that should be a compliment to them. Then he said he just wanted to tap the back of the plate. My two questions are: How do I get my husband to understand that this is not courteous behavior for a guest? He has done this recently at someone else’s home and we have already had a discussion on the subject. Also, what is the best way for me to handle the situation once he has done something like this? I made no comment on his behavior while we were there, but I really was mortified.
A: You should explain that, if your husband is curious about the hosts’ china and silverware, he should ask. For example, he might say something along the lines of “What lovely china and silverware. What are the names of the patterns.” For him to pick up a plate and/or a piece of silverware to find out could be perceived as being nosy and on par with looking in someone’s medicine cabinet. You might even add that if someone did that at your house, you would be offended. If your husband does this again, you could say “John, please don’t do that. You know it embarrasses me.”