Open Thread

by epi on July 29, 2013

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.

{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Georgina July 29, 2013 at 8:53 am

Hi, I am currently on maternity leave and have decided not to return to work. What is the proper way to resign from a job? Keep in mind, I do not have a traditional job where I go into an office. I work out of my home. Should I call my boss, email, both?

Also, must I give two weeks notice? I don’t have child care set up so I can’t go back to work for two weeks if they wanted me to and if I tell them two weeks before my leave ends I may lose my benefits during my leave.

Thanks for your advice in advance.

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Elizabeth July 29, 2013 at 11:07 am

I think this is a financial/legal issue, and not one of etiquette. Two weeks notice is standard, but it’s not worth risking your benefits. I would consult a website related to maternity leave issues.

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Brian July 30, 2013 at 9:46 am

I agree that 2 weeks is a business etiquette thing.

Depending on your work state there are many legal statues regarding notice and final pay check. For instance in the State of California, as long as an employee gives 48 hours notice, the employer is required to provide an employee their full pay at the end of employment or risk a full days wage every day until they’ve been compensated.

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Margot July 29, 2013 at 11:56 pm

My sister, who lives in another city, sent an email to my brother and me informing us that she is planning to marry a man that we have never met (nor has anyone in our family for that matter). He lives in a foreign country and she met him only six months ago while on vacation and has just spent another two weeks on vacation with him in his country. They plan to marry there in a civil ceremony to which our family is not invited. Her email noted that they may do a celebration ceremony in the U.S., but there are immigration hurdles for her fiancé and it may be a long time before anyone in our family meets him.

Both my brother and I were hurt that she chose email to share this news with us. Further, I have yet to respond to her message because I don’t know this man and am worried that she is rushing into something before spending any time at all with him in the real world. Plus, she said in her message that she just wanted to let us know. I’m unsure as to how to respond. I want to be happy for her but it is difficult not knowing anything about this man and I’m also hurt that we are excluded from her plans. Should she have at least telephoned my brother and me? How should I respond?

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Alicia July 30, 2013 at 8:07 am

Call up your sister say congrats and ask for details.

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Elizabeth July 30, 2013 at 12:44 pm

I don’t know what your relationship is like with your sister, but there may be a reason that she chose to hold you and your brother at arm’s length – perhaps she fears your judgment? I agree with Alicia. Put your hurt and concerns aside, and just call her up to congratulate her, and ask her about her fiance and her plans. Hear what she has to say. Be (or act) happy for her.

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Genevieve July 30, 2013 at 9:51 am

I am getting married Labor Day weekend. I have a twin sister who is not a bridesmaid. She is covered about 80% from the neck down in tattoos and piercings. They are bright, big, and mostly not church appropriate (there is one of a demon crushing a fetus). I love her very much and it was a hard decision to make not having her as a bridesmaid. However, my makeup artist said it would be impossible to cover her, and because she is tattooed throughout her arms and neck, she would have needed a long sleeve turtleneck of a bridesmaid dress.

As selfish as it is, one of the main considerations was the attention it would draw. As I mentioned, the tattoos are quite bright. They are certainly interesting and cannot be ignored. I knew if she was standing up there with me, the guests would be looking at her. It is my day; the attention should be on me.

I still want to honor her though. Should she be seated following the parents and grandparents and before the processional? Or is that an honor reserved only for the elders? I have another sister who will be a bridesmaid and two brothers who are escorting my grandmother and mother down the aisle. Therefore, my twin would be the only immediate family member who did not walk the aisle.

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Just Laura July 30, 2013 at 10:18 am

Genevieve –
You mention that you understand your stance is selfish. I agree with you (and I’m not even a fan of tattoos). A physical difference isn’t a very nice reason to omit a cherished family member from such a special event. Is there a reason you haven’t considered a matching formal wrap or shawl for your sister? They can be lovely, tasteful, and easily dyed to match the bridesmaid dress.

Of course all brides are allowed to choose their bridesmaids; however, if the only reason you are leaving out your twin is due to her choice to ink, then I suggest finding a work-around. The slight against her will be obvious to everyone.

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Elizabeth July 30, 2013 at 12:50 pm

I think your assumption that your sister would steal the spotlight is erroneous and misguided. You are the bride, you’ll be wearing the big white dress, and your guests will be coming from near and far to see you and your fiance be married. I agree with the other posters that your sister will definitely feel this slight and will rightly understand it as judgment and rejection on your part. I too would encourage you to recognize how hurtful your exclusion is and to backtrack as fast as humanly possible. You can easily choose a more modest bridesmaids dress to play down the tattoos – something with a sleeve, or a shawl (that all of them will have to wear).

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Alicia July 30, 2013 at 12:30 pm

Wow. I have a twin sister as well and I feel so sorry for your sister. At this point you have told her that being the center of attention is more important then her. Honestly processing in will only reinforce and make people talk more about her and her ink. Everyone knows you have a twin and everyone will realize she has tattoos you have made her more a focus by exclusion then she would have been in including. There is no fix that will change this other then apologize and hope she still would like to be a bridesmaid. Otherwise you have no control of attire and everyone will be focused on talking about how mean to your sister you were excluding her over some tatoos. You made it a much bigger issue.

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Genevieve July 30, 2013 at 12:32 pm

I would caution that you speak with your sister and see how she’s feeling about the choice you’ve made. By the sounds of it the slight is so great, she may not be planning to attend. Be careful not to lose perspective here, I’m sure you’ve poured a great deal of time, energy, blood, sweat and tears into this day so I understand that maybe things have gotten a little off balance – I think that could happen to everyone. But in my (humble!) opinion the wedding is not about you. If it were, no one else would be there. You’re choosing a big affair with all your loved ones, people that care for you and want to stand up and support this big decision you’ve made.
I actually detest tattoos as well, that really doesn’t matter. Your sister is someone I can tell you love dearly, and her tattoos are a part of her – otherwise she wouldn’t have chosen them. The message you’re sending about your respect for who she is seems quite larger than you’re intending. The tattoos may distract but only momentarily. You’re the bride, people are coming to celebrate you and your husband to be, trust in that support.
Just to flip things on their head, should she choose to get married and most of her friends are tattooed and therefore your unadorned flesh would stand out… would you be ok with sitting on the sidelines, excluded because of how you chose to express your identity?

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Kendra July 30, 2013 at 5:15 pm

Hi,
That was actually me up there starting with “I would caution that ….” I think I made a dopey mistake there, I’m sorry for any confusion!

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Katie Shaw July 30, 2013 at 9:57 pm

We have a large family and birthday parties are a major part of life with them. On almost every occasion, we we attend (all kids are young) there is no food or drink for the guests. Family members rush to open gifts with little gratitude and hastily give out cupcakes at the end. These affairs usually last 2-3 hours. I mentioned that maybe we overdo it at parties by serving our guests food and libations If presents are apart of the affair, my daughters or I follow up with a thank you note. My husband says that most people to not host parties this way nor follow up with a thank you note. There is no such things as rules or etiquette as he says. Am I crazy? Where have manners gone? I am having such a hard time with this. How can I be a more gracious guest as the lack of manners or etiquette are is driving me insane!!!

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Jody July 31, 2013 at 7:19 am

I think how parties are conducted is more a family/personal tradition rather than a matter of etiquette (unless guests are told food/drink will be served and it’s not).

As for etiquette, I disagree with your husband — there certainly is such a thing. Thank-yous should be given for a gift no matter the circumstances.

I understand your frustration. I say keep hosting your parties the way you want to host them. As for the other family parties, you know how they’re conducted; if you attend, be gracious and let it be how the host wants it. If it gets to the point where you are that uncomfortable you could always decline.

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Alicia July 31, 2013 at 3:27 pm

I suggest adjusting your expectations of others. Assume they will not be as gracious as you would wish and then be pleasantly surprised if they are. that said birthday parties are a great way to teach manners to kids. So teach your kids to be gracious hosts and all the involves ( food beverages) and gracious when gifts are received (thank you notes) I have been actively involved I helping with my nieces and nephews birthday parties. Well starting at when the kids can sign their name they have started drawing a picture and signing their name to which my sister or brother in law attached a short note after the party on birthday afternoons like we did as kids. Now that the kids are a little older (K and 1st grade) the last gift thank you from them I received was three lines on that handwriting paper that kids use. ( I love you. I love superman. Cape is fun!- for a superman cape and toys)
If people receive thank you notes from you and your family they are also more likely to send them.

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Joanna July 31, 2013 at 8:03 am

Unfortunately, Katie, it seems your family members have opted for a gift grab rather than an actual party…from what you’re saying, they want to take in as much as they can, while expending as little as possible on their guests (i.e. passing out a mere cupcake at the end, when no doubt many people have already left too.)

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Katie August 1, 2013 at 2:07 am

Thank you for the responses. I was thinking the same things as the respndants. I have high expectations of others. I always have. It is a fault. I do however choose to continue to ensure guests are comfortable when we host. If gifts are received, we always write thank you notes. I find etiquette to be dying where I am right now.

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