Think Before you Drink: Should you drink if no one else is?

Q: Is it appropriate to order an alcoholic drink during dinner when no one else is?

A: During a social dinner, it would be appropriate to order a glass of wine. Generally, hard liquor drinks are ordered before the meal is served. At a business dinner when others have ordered a pre-dinner alcoholic drink, it would be appropriate to order a glass of wine. If no one has ordered an alcoholic drink by the time dinner is served, it would be wise to abstain.

Should I Stand: Women and Modern Introductions

Q: I was seated at a table at a function and my husband walked over with someone to introduce me to. I remained seated, extended my hand and pleasantly said it was nice to meet the person. My husband said that, in this case, I should have stood up and had a conversation. I have always believed that it is not necessary for a woman to stand up when meeting someone, especially if she is seated at a dinner table. Could you please get me up to date on this.

A: Today men and women both rise when being introduced.   Even if there’s no room to stand — you’re wedged behind a table– briefly lift yourself out of your chair while extending your hand. In recent years, most business encounters have a protocol that is ‘gender neutral.’

Big Present Etiquette: How to show a token of your appreciation

Q: I have a question regarding ‘gift’ etiquette. My 17 year old son was recently given a car by a friend of my husband’s. This gentleman and my husband have not been friends very long, though they have known each other. How do we appreciate our thanks without insulting them? My family has never encountered anything like this before, and I don’t want to do it (accept the gift) incorrectly.

A: What a wonderful gift! Presumably, your son wrote a very sincere letter or note of thanks, and your husband let his new friend know how appreciated this gift is. You can all brainstorm on a great thank-you gift for him. This is a token of your appreciation, not a matching or in-kind gift. For example, a movie ticket gift certificate for him, his wife and son would be fun for them and help you feel as though you had expressed your appreciation. Or, if your husband knows of a particular hobby or interest he has, something fun in support of that, whether golf gloves or a specimen shrub or plant for his garden.

Evening Wear: A description of ‘After 5 Attire’

Q: I have been invited to a holiday party. The invitation states after 5 attire. I have a tux and suits, but I am not sure exactly what that means. My friends are asking me and they also didn’t know.

A: It is always a very good idea to call and ask when people give unclear directions with their personalized dress codes. However, it is assumed that this means a man would wear a suit, shirt and tie; a woman a dressy day dress or suit, or even pant ensemble.