Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Everyday Manners: Hostest gift dilemma

What to bring to a dinner?


Dear Polite One, 
When invited to a dinner, family or not, should I bring a hostess gift, dessert, or wine? 
Empty Handed

Available on Amazon
Dear Empty Handed,
It's best to ask if the host would like for you to bring something, like dessert.  A good host will decline.  But, you should always take some sort of hostess gift, such as a bottle of wine, flowers, or candy.
The Polite One

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Opera Attire: McCaw Hall, Seattle

Seattle Opera Dilemma

Dear Polite One,

I haven't a clue what to wear to an evening performance of an opera at McCaw Hall in Seattle.  This is supposed to be a formal event. It is also supposed to be rather chilly. Should I wear a wrap as well inside the Hall?

Dressing Formally In Casual Seattle

Dear Dressing Formally In Casual Seattle,

Since this is a formal evening performance, a long dress with embellishments would be appropriate in many areas.  However, since this is Seattle, the little black dress or its equivalent would probably be the most formal attire seen.  Attire choices are all over the map these days.  And, for less formal areas like Seattle -- and even Davis -- formal can mean nice slacks and a button down shirt to men.   A wrap may be nice, but not necessary.  


The Polite One

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Gift Giving Advice: Opening Gifts

Is opening gifts during party proper?

Dear Polite One,

My five year old was invited to a birthday party where the gifts were not opened after cake was served. In fact, after the cake was eaten, we were pretty much expected to leave.  Is this behavior acceptable birthday party etiquette?

Thank you,

Just wondering

Dear Just Wondering,

It's unfortunate that this parent didn't know what is considered appropriate, as this was not proper or polite, but insulting to guests. We expect children to open their gifts during a birthday party.


The Polite One

Monday, July 13, 2015

Everyday Manners: Dying Friend

What should I do when I visit my dying friend?


Dear Polite One, 

I've just looked up an old friend and found he is dying!  I'm at a loss at what I should do. Hospice is with him daily now.  What should I do when I visit my dying friend?
Thank you so much.
Wishes to do the right thing
Reply by The Polite One

Dear Wishing to do the right thing,
My condolences; it must be very difficult to reunited with your friend at such a painful time. I don't know, and perhaps you don't either, what his family situation is.  I'm not sure about how much hospice is doing either.  But, typically visitors bring ready cooked meals to the family.  We're not sure if there is family living with your friend.  So, that might not be an option.  

Sometimes, visitors will offer to stay with the dying person so family can rest.  Again, this might not be an issue here, especially with hospice in place. 

So, perhaps in this case, it is best to just take your love and caring for your friend.  This may be what is needed most.  He/she may just want to see your happy smile. 


The Polite One

Friday, May 15, 2015

Everyday Manners: Exiting a car

How does a lady exit a vehicle while wearing a dress?


Dear Polite One, 

What is the lady-like way to exit a vehicle while wearing a dress? 

Thanking you, 

Reply by The Polite One

Dear Visitor, 

Enter the vehicle by turning your back to the seat, both feet outside of the vehicle, and sit. Swing both legs into the vehicle at once.  Stepping out of the vehicle is just the reverse. Shift your weight onto your outside hip and turn towards the open door swinging both legs out of the vehicle at once. Then stand. 


The Polite One

Friday, February 20, 2015

Table Manners: American Method?


How did the American method begin? 

Since North America was settled by Europeans, please tell me where the American custom of using the knife and fork originated if all of Europe uses the European method. 

Thank you, 

Reply by The Polite One

Dear Forked, 

What a great question!  It is one of my favorites.  In fact, it is something I always include in my Table Manners classes. 

There is no way to really know the exact reason, but there are two different theories. First, it is known that we had spoons and knives and would have wanted forks, which were becoming popular in Europe, but the cost of the fork (it was expensive) and shipping made it prohibitively costly for the average person.  So we, supposedly, used the knife, cutting with our right hand, holding on to the food item with our spoon in our left hand.  But, it was difficult to stab or scoop meat and many other food items with our spoons, so we switched hands to take the bite. 

Now for the more exciting theory.  During the revolutionary period, many people would meet in pubs or eating establishments to plan.  If a person used the crisscross (American) method to eat, that person was safe to approach.   

Both theories sound plausible.   


The Polite One

Table Manners: Loves Quesadillas

How to eat quesadillas?

Dear Polite One, 

What is the proper way to eat cheese quesadillas?  My husband insists that this is a knife and fork food, while I see it as similar to a sandwich and think it should be considered a finger food.

Loves quesadillas

Reply by The Polite One

Dear Loves quesadillas,

Quesadillas are considered finger food and can be picked up and eaten by our hands. However, let's think about the mess factor.  Will picking up the food mess up the fingers? If these are cooked in butter, fork and knife could keep your hands clean.  If the quesadillas are dry, pick them up.  Either way is fine.


The Polite One