Friday, September 09, 2005

Etiquette Tip #1 - What is Etiquette Good For?

Hi, All - I regularly get e-mails with questions on etiquette, so I thought I'd start posting some of my favorite tips. If you've got an etiquette question, please send it along! If I don't have an immediate answer, I will research it!

A bit of history on how I got into this....I'm actually not all that prissy. (Tho my sister might disagree. :-). I got into etiquette by means of the tea certification that I have from the Protocol School of Washington. A natural expansion from tea etiquette was dining etiquette, and then children's etiquette, and then etiquette in general. It's simply an interesting hobby that I enjoy occasionally exploring. In particular, I love to read Miss Manners! She's a riot!

Today's topic is, "What is Etiquette Good For?" (I know it's bad grammar, but I just couldn't bring myself to post, "For What Is Etiquette Good?".) And that's an excellent example. Etiquette is not about making ourselves appear pretentious, snobby, or better than others. Etiquette is also not about being prudish, stuffy and elitist. No, no, dear readers. Etiquette is about extending common courtesy to others. It is useful in that it provides a way to think of the needs, sensibilities, and comforts of others. For example, the old American etiquette rule of keeping elbows off the table comes from the risk of bumping your neighbor, knocking off a dish, or soiling your sleeve.

A final note on etiquette - it is very culturally sensitive. In America, audibly slurping your tea would be considered bad manners. However, in Japanese tea ceremonies, slurping your tea is one way to compliment your hostess.

So, let us boldly saunter into the realm of etiquette! From time to time, I will post topics of interest. If you have questions, please send them along! (You can simply post a comment to this message.)

Kind Regards, Stephanie


Anonymous said...

Can you talk about standing when a lady joins a group at a table? No one seems to do this anymore.

Anonymous said...

This is great. I think parents today are doing an injustice by not teaching their children proper etiquette. It doesn't take much to teach a child to say please and thank you.

Anonymous said...

Regarding Rising from Chairs:
As with many things chivalrous these days, you have to know when, where, and to whom you can safely proffer this honor. I still do it whenever I can. Mostly, I only get away with the discreet "half-rise" from the chair though.

Val Pierce