From the category archives:


Q: Recently I went to dinner at a nice restaurant in New York City, and while it wasn’t a five star restaurant, the bill did add up.  On the bill there was a line to add the tip and below that there was a second line for a tip for the maitre D’.  I had never […]


Q: I have friends who smoke, and that means that when we go out to eat, or to bars, they periodically step outside for cigarettes.  As a non-smoker, sometimes I am left completely alone for various durations while they smoke, which feels awkward.  In addition, I feel it may be improper for a woman to […]


Q: If a cook serves an obviously overcooked roast or even burned toast, how should the guest respond?     A: If you are a guest at a restaurant, you may politely explain that the food was not prepared the way you ordered it.  However, if you are a guest at someone’s home, it would […]


Q: My brother has told me before that it is improper to rest one’s elbows on the table while dining.  I often put my elbows on the table, is doing this considered to be poor manners?     A: It is incorrect to put your elbows on the table while eating.  When no utensils are […]

{ 1 comment }

Q: I have always been told that the only hat that a man can wear indoors is a beret.  A restaurant owner in Los Angeles told me that the only reason Groucho Marx wore a beret for so many years was not because he loved berets, but because he could leave the beret on in […]


Q: My friend invites my husband and me to her house and when we are there her son calls frequently.  Sometimes she talks to him for an hour or more.  I have told her it is rude and the proper thing to do is to tell her son she has guests and ask him when […]


Q: What is the etiquette about dragging feet, and making noise, while walking?     A: Naturally one should not scuffle or drag one’s feet or make unnecessary walking noises.  Someone who does this may have orthopedic, muscular or other problems, or simply have very bad habits.  Those in the latter category often are totally […]


Q: My husband and I were going out for breakfast and left our home at the same time in different vehicles.  He called a friend on his cell phone to join us.  I missed a traffic light and arrived a few minutes after my husband to the restaurant.  When the waitress came to take my […]


Q: I was very late for an important meeting today and I have no excuse.  The meeting worked out and everything went as planned except that I created a bad image for myself and my company.  I called to say that I was coming late because I did not expect traffic delays and road work.  […]


Q: A few years ago I mentioned to some family members that I love a certain flower.  Now most of my gifts consist of something with that flower on it.  I’m being overloaded with these items.  How do I politely say, ” Thank you, but enough!  I’m going to have to open a museum soon.”  […]