Open Thread

by epi on June 14, 2012

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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 }

Elizabeth June 14, 2012 at 9:28 am

Dear Friends, I’m looking for some advice, and hoping you can help me. I live on a small lane – there are only 14 houses on our lane, and we have annual meetings and get-togethers, so I know many of my neighbors fairly well. There are a couple of very elderly neighbors, and I know them less well because we moved here fairly recently and they have not attended as many functions due to their declining health. Well, I just received word that one of those elderly neighbors is now in hospice care in her home, she can no longer eat or drink, so the end is near. Someone from her family let us know that she would prefer cards rather than visits. Since I didn’t know her well, I wouldn’t have visited anyway, but my question is: what does one say in a card to a dying person? A condolence letter to the family would be easier, but … what words can one offer the dying? I am not religious, and I do not know if she is or not. Should it be a kind of leave-taking? “Get well soon” is definitely not appropriate here.

I appreciate any ideas!

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Joanna June 14, 2012 at 9:58 am

I think the only thing you really can say is “thinking of you” – and that’s the main point of the card, right? You were thinking of your neighbor and so you sent her a little something in the mail. I wouldn’t really worry about trying to find any other sentiment other than that.

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Pam June 14, 2012 at 10:33 am

I agree with Joanna. Keep it simple and just say that you are thinking of her at this time. The family will always appreciate and remember that you sent the card.

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Just Laura June 14, 2012 at 11:01 am

I too like this. There is nothing fake or corny in saying the honest truth: You are thinking of her.

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Alicia June 14, 2012 at 3:40 pm

Well yes say you are thinking of her. I would probably write something to the effect that you heard because of the close neighborhood that she was in ill health and you were sorry to hear this , were thinking of her, that you care, and that you wanted to let her know that she has all your kindest wishes. (no need to specify what those wishes are.)If you think about it the entire point is not to write the most elequant thing but simply to let her know that you care and that care is a wonderful last gift.

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Protocol June 14, 2012 at 3:48 pm

Hello,
I have never before attended a military formal invited reception,. However for various reasons I have been invited to three this weekend two formal one black tie. I am wondering if there is any difference between normal event protocol and military protocol for these sorts of formal military events. Also does it matter if it is US Navy vs another nations navy as I am invited to more then one nations events.

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Chocobo June 14, 2012 at 4:20 pm

I feel your pain. I was invited to a military formal or two myself as a civilian, and sometimes it is difficult to know what is going on. My only advice is to let your date worry about military protocol and be on your best behavior for normal civilian formal manners. You might ask your date(s) if there is anything special you need to keep in mind for the event. Otherwise simply remain in the background and follow your date’s lead.

One thing I do remember is that military members are not to touch women (I assume this works in the opposite direction for female service members too) except to escort them or to dance formally. So if you are romantically or otherwise involved with any of these people, do try to refrain from hugging, kissing, or other signs of romance in public. But really it is best to ask your dates what to do, if you can.

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Protocol June 14, 2012 at 4:26 pm

I was not invited as a guest or to bring a guest. ( I know enough that unless it says I can brin a guest not to ask to bring one) I am invited due to my involvement in a different organization. I will be attending as just myself although if I meet a nice navy guy that would be wonderful as I am single. ( I will likely know others invited and failing that should be able to chat and dance and such)

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Chocobo June 15, 2012 at 9:13 am

Oh I see, that does make it harder to ask someone. In that case I would still recommend normal formal etiquette as you would use for a non-military gala. From my experience military service members know that civilians are not familiar with military protocol and do not require anything special from them.

Who knows? Perhaps by asking the nearest friendly-looking military man what you should do when you get confused, you will make yourself a new friend!

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Rusty Shackleford June 17, 2012 at 2:07 pm

Military balls are much more toned-down affairs these days, compared with the movies. Commanders are are held to the highest standards now to make sure that their troops drink in moderation, or not at all. But a ball gown is still a good idea. If its during the week, its a safe bet that there will be minimal dancing and possibly little drinking. One tradition that remains, especially in the Navy, is the grog, named after a British Admiral who wore a grogam cloak, and maintained a punchbowl of unsavory liquid for those who broke the rules of the mess (he was nicknamed Old Grog, and the bowl became known as the grog). It is unsavory, but drinkable, and usually non-alcoholic. Sometimes, a unit will purchase a toilet, and use it as a grog, but I assure you its perfectly clean. In any case, violations of the rules of the mess that can result in having to drink from the grog. Violations can include coming into the dining room with a drink in hand, not greeting as many guests as possible, etc. Although its all in good fun and jest. Here is a link to the traditional rules of etiquette, though they are intended for some degree of light humor. Enjoy.

http://www.malmstrom.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123059799

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Rita June 14, 2012 at 3:56 pm

Here’s the deal…I was sent a save the date card for a friends daughter’s wedding. At her shower I told her we would not be able to come as we were going to be out of town for a family reunion. I never received an official wedding invitation after…so my question is do I still send a gift or not.

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Chocobo June 14, 2012 at 4:23 pm

Rita, you are only required to bring gifts to events that you attend. Even if you did receive the invitation, but did not attend the wedding, you would still not need to send a wedding present.

In this case, it is up to you and your personal feelings for the bride and groom (or their parents) to determine whether you would like to send them a gift.

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Alicia June 14, 2012 at 4:29 pm

Yes you do not have to send a gift but if this a good friends kid and you would have sent a gift otherwise I would consider still sending the gift

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Book Girl June 14, 2012 at 4:24 pm

I plan on getting my hair cut this weekend. Due to straightening and other processes, it’s in a sad state. I know this. Every time I get my hair cut the stylist feels the need to lecture me on what I shouldn’t do to my hair and how bad it is. Essentially scolding me for the entire time I’m in her chair. I have never asked for an opinion of what is wrong with my hair or what I should do about it. I just want my hair cut. How do I politely make this clear?

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Winifred Rosenburg June 14, 2012 at 4:42 pm

Other than getting a new hair stylist? You can say something like “I know. You told me last time. I’m just very busy and my hair is not a top priority.” However, seeing as she hasn’t picked up on the fact that you don’t want to hear it yet this still might not work.

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Jody June 15, 2012 at 6:23 am

You may have to be more blunt than usual at this appointment — maybe say something like “Yes, you’ve told me that before and I’d rather not hear it again.” I admit that sounds rude, but if you’ve said something on other occasions and your stylist hasn’t paid attention I’m not sure what else you can say this time. If she doesn’t pay attention, it may be time to find another stylist.

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