From the category archives:

America Today

Q: What is the etiquette concerning how to eat a meal? For example, my husband eats his entire serving of vegetables, then his entire serving of potatoes, then his entire serving of meat, rather than sampling from each at random. A: When foods are served together on one plate, and not as courses, it is […]

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Q: I have been asked to be a godparent and have accepted. I would like to do it right. I have the added task of surmounting a great deal of geographical distance between myself and the child. What are the responsibilities of the godparent as well as the etiquette involved in performing this function? A: […]

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Q: What is the correct way to observe the singing of our national anthem. Many people stand and sing with their hands over their hearts. Others stand and look at the flag as they sing, but do not place their hand over their heart. Which is correct? A: One may or may not place one’s […]

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Q: Is it polite to apply lipstick at the dinner table,either at home or at a restaurant when it doesn’t involve gazing into a mirror, making a production out of it, using a lip liner? A:  A quick application that is over almost before it began is fine. Anything more should be taken care of […]

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Q: When going to the ladies room, while eating at a restaurant, where do you place your napkin? On your chair or on the table? A: You place it on the table, in loose folds, if there is room to do so. If there isn’t, without putting it on top of food, for example, then […]

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Q: What color should a person not wear for a funeral? A: The default assumption is that any color that is bright and cheery wouldn’t be appropriate for a funeral. Black or subdued or neutral colors are usually the most appropriate. Sometimes a funeral is viewed as a celebration of someone’s life and guests are […]

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Q: I am an financially secure woman in my late 30′s dating a great guy who is also financially secure. We started out as friends without expectations, which is why I think we have so much fun. In the beginning of our friendship when we would go eat I offered to pay for mine and […]

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Q: When I was a child and had a birthday party we always opened the presents during the party in front of friends and family. Now the child never opens any presents in front of their guests. Is this an etiquette issue or what? Is it not proper to open the presents until all guests […]

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Q: I had planned to retire and was given gifts at a recent retirement party. Circumstances now are such that I have postponed my retirement for another year or two. What should I do about the gifts? A: You might call those who gave you gifts for your retirement and explain to them that it […]

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Q: I am single but have a lot of married friends and family. Each year at Christmas when sending and receiving gifts, I usually receive a gift from ‘Eric and Julie’ or from ‘Bill and Margie’, however I usually feel I have to buy for each of them individually. This seems a little unfair, not […]

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