Recently I noticed on Pinterest a pin that informed you of the proper way to address wedding invitations. I don’t plan to send out that type of correspondence anytime soon but I do send letters through the mail at least once a year. It wouldn’t hurt for me to brush up on my mail etiquette. Turns out that stuff is crazy! No wonder it’s a popular pin there is no way to remember all those insane rules. There were a couple of surprises to me, good and bad. Good – If the woman of a couple has a doctorate while her husband does not her name comes first. For example, Dr. Wendy Newell and Mr. Riggins Newell. That makes perfect sense but I was surprised that it was actually a valid rule. Bad – If children are invited their names shouldn’t be on the front envelope but should be included in the inside envelope (Or maybe it was the invite itself. I’ve already forgotten.). If the child is a male then his title is Master. As in, “Master Riggins Newell.” What the hell? Master? Seriously? Am I the only one that feels uncomfortable with this rule?
It made me start thinking of the other manners I follow that are no longer popular or even known. I wanted to share them with you.
- Don’t Slurp Your Soup – Slurping shouldn’t really be an issue unless you dine with neanderthals. Still there is a proper way to eat soup. “As little ships go out to sea / I dip my spoon AWAY from me” (I didn’t actually know this little rhyme before my in-depth research for this post. When I say in-depth I mean use of Google and assumption that when discussing manners on the internet majority rules.). This means scoop the soup with your spoon away from you. I do try to do this whenever I eat soup but honestly sometimes only have the energy to pull it off when with company. Additionally, soup at my home is often served in a Tinkerbell mug making a spoon and any rules about it, no longer necessary.
- Gift Me Or Else – This rule is one where when it isn’t observed I wince a little on the inside but can’t really hold it against the culprit. She probably has no idea it is bad manners and is just trying to make your life easier. Good intentions do not equal good manners. When sending invitations for an event, wedding, baby shower, bridal shower, etc. it is considered bad manners to list where the guest of honor is registered. Don’t try to out wit this rule by placing this tidbit of information on an insert. That insert is still inside the invite so still counts. Technically it looks like the guest of honor is not only expecting a gift but have mandated where it should come from and what it is. When put this way you can see how it would be considered uncouth. Right? Instead the guest of honor should have told host, close girlfriend (maid of honor for example) and family (mother for example) where she is registered. Then it is up to the guest to ask for this information if it is wanted. On the flip side if the invite asks for no gifts it is considered rude to bring one. Can’t win can you? Giving a gift at a social gathering when you were specifically told not to only causes the other guests to be uncomfortable, wondering if they should have done the same, but also the host who is looking out for the happiness of all her guests. If you would still like to give your friend a gift it is fine it just needs to be done at a different time and place. Just think of it this way, you get to give a gift, your friend gets a gift, plus you now get to spend more one on one time with the friend you love!
- Stop Ruining Good Wine-ing. Wine glasses come in all shape and sizes but one hour of television where the characters are drinking it proves that not many know how to hold their wine glasses correctly. Wine glasses should be held by the stem so that your body heat doesn’t warm the liquid and therefore change the taste of the wine. Although most important when drinking wine served chilled, like white and champagne, this is actually true for all types and colors. It seems a little ackward at first but you look so much fancier getting drunk this way! Here’s the rub if you come to my house. I use stemless wine glasses. It’s almost like I’m mocking my guests isn’t it? While we are on the subject of wine can I point out that there is a very small chance you should ever send back a bottle that you have ordered. You should only send it back if the wine has turned which should be painfully obvious to your nose once you get anywhere near the cork. Those folks that swish the wine around and make a production out of tasting it then nodding their head in appreciation are weirdo snobs. Smell the cork. If it doesn’t smell like death you are good to go.
- I’m Done. Turns out I’ve been doing this one all wrong. When finished with my meal at a restaurant I have always signaled to the waiter that I’m ready for him to clear my plate by putting my folk and knife down on my plate in an X. It usually worked so I was shocked to discover, during my in-depth research, that most people would consider this impolite. Apparently I’m a barbarian. Instead the more common suggestion is to lay the fork and knife side by side across the plate at 10 and 4 o’clock. Tines facing up or down is still very much up for debate. I think from now on when I’m finished with my meal I’ll dramatically throw knife and fork to the ground, raise my arms in an Evita pose, and yell, “I’ve finished. Take all this away now my minions.” That should be pretty clear.
Unfortunately, or fortunately depending how you look at it, hard-core written in stone manners have been fading away. You can take everything I’ve said above and find at least one person who says the opposite online. The internet gods will let anyone post on the world-wide web without checking their facts. So it’s your turn. What do others do that make you silently cringe inside knowing that they were obviously raised by wolves? Personally I can use all the help I can get. After all at my house feeding Riggins from your folk isn’t considered bad manners it’s considered good sharing!