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The Etiquette Grrls' Q & A Archive: February 2002

Dear Etiquette Grrls,

Just about a month ago this website was featured in the Orange County Register. My mom had pointed out the article to me. I was happy to see that there was a source I could go to with any questions on how to behave like a proper young lady. Now that I have read your tips on-line and in the news paper article, I would like to know if you have written a book on this important subject. My mother and I are very interested in reading a book written by the creative minds behind the website.

Thank you,

Dear Alissa,

Why, thank you for asking! In fact, as many of our Long-Term Dear Readers know, the EGs do have A Book. It's called Things You Need to Be Told, and it should be available at Your Local Bookstore, as well as on

Gee, the EGs Really Love it when our Dear Readers allow us to Promote Our Book Gracefully! How Keen! Tee hee!

Sincerely yours,
The Etiquette Grrls

Dear Etiquette Grrls,

I have an etiquette question in regards to my appearance at a funeral. I normally wear neutral colored makeup but am wondering if it would be more proper to wear none. Also, I wonder if my hair should be pulled back? It's blonde, layered, and stylish, but I don't want to appear like I was worried about my hairstyle (if that makes sense). Any advice would be appreciated. Thank you.

A Concerned Mourner

Dear Concerned Mourner,

We think it's Quite Considerate of you to take Such Great Pains with Your Appearance at a Funeral. You would not believe what the EGs have seen at Wakes and Funerals. Sequins! Concert T-Shirts! Exposed Midriffs! Sneakers! Makeup that belongs on a Chorus Girl! Tevas! Baseball Caps! Now, for Heaven's Sake, boys, even if you Refuse to Listen to the EGs and Take Off the Damn Baseball Caps Indoors, if you have Any Shred of Decency at all, you must take them off when in the Presence of Bereaved Friends and Relatives, not to mention the One Who Has Passed On! But we digress.

Dear Reader, of course you don't want to look as if you Woke Up at the Crack of Dawn and spent the whole day having your Hair and Makeup Done. Elaborate Up-Dos, Ostentatious Barrettes, having "RIP Grandma" shaved into your hair, etc., are all a Bit Much. However, it is a Sign of Respect to The Deceased, and to his or her Family, to be carefully dressed and groomed. That means you must look Polished, Dear Reader. A layered, stylish haircut can look Quite Polished, while a Ponytail can look Quite Sloppy. It's all in How You Style it, Dear Reader. We would say go for a Sedate, Classic look, avoiding Anything Trendy. Neutral makeup would also probably be fine. If you normally wear it, it might look as if you'd come Straight from the Gym, or had Slept Through Your Alarm, or something, without it. As long as you go easy, avoiding anything Sparkly, Bright, or Obvious, you should be Perfectly Fine.

As ever,
The Etiquette Grrls

Dear EGs,

My birthday is coming up. I invited several of my friends for a charming evening of fine food and company to celebrate. However, one of my invitees has recently become a pain in the arse. (Sometimes a difficulty arises between friends suddenly.) Is there a way I can de-invite my arse-like friend? He does not know many of the other guests, so it is unlikely they would speak to him. I don't want to jeopardize the whole friendship. I just want to spare my other guests the new-found tension.

Birthday Girl

Dear Birthday Girl,

Hmmm. Yes, the EGs hear you that sometimes a Difficulty Arises Between Friends, but we don't think there's a Nice Way to Un-Invite Someone. We don't know the source of the Tension You Fear, but might it not be possible that he would either 1) Send His Regrets, if he feels as you do; or 2) Attend and Behave Like an Adult? If you really feel he's likely to Be a Jerk, we think you should sit down and discuss his recent Asinine Behavior well before the party. If he needs a Stern Talking-To, give it to him! He'll probably be All Bent Out of Shape, and Not Come to the Party, or he'll Wise Up and be Forever Grateful to you for telling him to Shape Up. Either way, Your Problem is Solved.

Best of luck, and best wishes for your Upcoming Birthday,
The Etiquette Grrls

Dear Etiquette Grrls,

I'm 34 and getting married for the first time. My fiancé is 37 and this is also his first marriage. We've accumulated LOTS of stuff over the years. We don't need a bunch of towels, dishes, etc. We need cash or gift certificates. What's the best way to let gift-giving well wishers know in advance, tactfully?

The Intended

Dear The Intended,

Gee, are the EGs experiencing Déjà Vu? Anybody else heard this question here before?

For those new to, we'll Repeat Ourselves. Dear Reader, there's No Way In Hell to do what you propose in Any Tactful Manner. Yes, you heard the EGs correctly: NO WAY IN HELL. And that, Dear Reader, is That.

Very truly yours,
The Etiquette Grrls

Dear Etiquette Grrls,

How do you feel about Hair Club for Men? Or need I say how about silver Hair Club for Men? Wouldn't bald be better?

Desperate for Your Opinion

Dear Desperate,

Huh? Why would the EGs Know Anything about Hair Club for Men? The only type of Clubs for Men we're aware of are Swanky, Cigar-and-Scotch sort of Places, like the Duquesne Club. We like those An Awful Lot. Hair Club? Sorry, we Haven't the Foggiest.

With best wishes,
The Etiquette Grrls

Dear Etiquette Grrls,

I would ask that you consider my Internet nickname; many people have commented on its unsuitability for business use, and some people have been offended by it, so I ask for your esteemed opinion. In my defense, I would like to point out that I use this in the strictest sense of the English language, "slut" referring to one who is promiscuous (and no, that does *not* mean sexually), and "net" clearly means "Internet." I acquired the name when someone said that I would "e-mail absolutely anybody," and it has remained that way ever since. Might I have your opinion?

Thank you for your time, ladies,

Dear NetSlut,

Oh, Dear Reader. Dear, Dear, Dear, Dear Reader. Sigh. The EGs are wondering if perhaps you are Un Peu Masochiste, in asking for the EGs' Opinion of Your Nickname. But you have asked, and we shall answer.

While the EGs, given Our Backgrounds in English Literature, appreciate those who Take the Time to Analyze the Meaning of their E-mail Address, UserID, etc., we think that Just Because You CAN come up with a Rational Explanation of why it might be Okay to Call Yourself "NetSlut," it doesn't mean you SHOULD do so. Especially in a Business Context! Call the EGs crazy, but we Don't Imagine that people at Other Companies whom you might e-mail at Work will instantly think, "Ah! Yes! By 'Slut' she simply means Promiscuous! What a Clever, Bright Young Thing!" If the EGs got e-mail from someone calling themselves NetSlut, chances are we'd trash it avec all the Other Spam we receive. That's simply Reality, Dear Reader. Why would you want the word "slut" associated with you in any context? Oh, Dear Reader, clearly you have a Keen Mind-- can you not find a nickname that is Clever and Daring yet Not Offensive or Completely Misleading to 90% of Your Correspondents? We'll leave you to Think About That.

Yours truly,
The Etiquette Grrls

Dear Etiquette Grrls,

As part of a class assignment, I created a resume and posted it on some online job search sites. I have been offered some interviews by employers searching this site. The problem is, I am lucky enough to already have a job that I enjoy very much and I intend to keep this job until I graduate. However, when I graduate in 14 months, I will need another job.

My professor has encouraged me to interview with these companies anyway, to see if I can get a better offer than what I'm doing now, and to gain more interview experience. This is where I need the Etiquette Grrls' sterling advice.

Is it rude to go to an interview when I don't really intend to take the job unless they have a fabulous offer for me? How do I tactfully alert the interviewer to the fact that I can't just drop everything and start working for them? What do I say if they want to hire me, but I don't want to work for them?

Not Quite a Job-Seeker

Dear Not Quite a Job-Seeker,

We think there's something to what Your Professor says. If the Potential Employers contact you, they're the ones who are interested in Talking to You, and we don't think you're doing anything wrong in going to the Interview to learn about the company, learn about Interviewing, and to see if, by some chance, they do have a Fabulous Offer. You never know, Dear Reader! During the Interview, they'll probably say something like, "So, what kind of job are you looking for?" You can respond, "I'm very interested in jobs in the _______ industry. As you may have noticed on my resume, though, I'm in School right now and need to have a job that works with My Class Schedule. I was really intrigued when you contacted me through I've heard a lot about Your Company-- so I wanted to learn about the Job That's Open." If it looks as if it couldn't possibly be a Good Fit for you, Dear Reader, but you like the Company and want to keep a Foot in the Door, we'd Be Honest about this. "It sounds as if you're looking for someone to work Full-Time... if I weren't taking a full load of Classes, I'd be very tempted. Perhaps I could touch base with you closer to My Graduation to see if you might have any openings then?" We wouldn't, however, start submitting Your Resume for Particular Jobs. That would imply that you're Actively Looking to Change Jobs, and thus would be Un Peu Dishonest. However, if the Company contacts you, and you're up-front with them about Your Current Situation, it's Perfectly Okay if you Go Through with the Interview. Should you get an offer, despite your Being Clear to them about Your Needs, simply refuse it politely, and blame School.

Best wishes,
The Etiquette Grrls

Dear Etiquette Grrls,

Hi. I really do love your site. You have a huge following with all of my friends at home.

I am an Australian expat living in Boston. Every now and then I feel like an innocent abroad as the etiquette rules seem to differ slightly. It would really be appreciated if you could clear some of these things up.

I was puzzled to be told of a registry for a birthday party the other day. I know that you girls do not approve of them but I feel that I will look like an ignorant foreigner if I do not respond with something from the list. What do you recommend?

Also how should one respond when somebody asks me in a mock Crocodile Hunter voice to "throw a shrimp on the barbie"?

Worse, what to do when someone asks me to say something because I sound "cute"?

Thanks a million,
Innocent Abroad

Dear Innocent Abroad,

The EGs are Shocked and Saddened that residents of Boston-- usually a Rather Polite and Proper City-- have stooped to Such Faux Pas! We apologize on Boston's behalf, Dear Reader! Clearly, since EGL has been Under the Weather, All Hell has Broken Loose! At any rate, Dear Reader, none of these things is polite, anywhere, and you are Quite Right to be Annoyed. For the Love of All Things Holy, when the hell will people stop with these Greedy, Unnecessary Registries?!? If someone registered for Their Birthday Party, the EGs would think twice about Attending It at all! The best option is to Ignore Its Existence, if you really wish to give this Greedy Person a Gift. If the Birthday Boy or Girl is Miffed, that's Not Your Problem.

Regarding your other questions, we understand it must Get Tiresome, but we think the best option would be to try to inject a Bit of Humor. You might respond to the "shrimp on the barbie" person with, "Only if you actually go Pahk a Cah in Hahvahd Yahd." And to someone who says you sound "cute," we'd recommend a response like, "Oh my God! You've NOTICED! My Entire Country only Talks This Way to Sound Cute to Bostonians!"

We're so glad you like our site, Dear Reader... and we're thrilled to have so many Dear Readers in Australia!

All best,
The Etiquette Grrls

Dear Etiquette Grrls,

Need your help on this EGs!!! Saturday evening, my husband and I went to an exclusive (read expensive) restaurant where we always go for special occasions. Another couple (my husband's best friend and his girl) went with us even though I wanted to spend a nice quiet elegant evening with hubby. (that is another story in itself). Anyway, the other couple ordered rack of lamb and when they had finished cutting the meat off of the rack, proceeded to pick up the bones and strip them with their teeth! I was SOOO mortified that I had to get up and go into the bar to have a cigarette. I did not even want to return to finish my dinner. Am I being a #($*%? My husband agreed that it was tacky to say the least but I have told him that no way do I EVER want to go to a restaurant with these people again (unless it is a rib joint - ha! ha!) Please tell me, am I unreasonable? Thanks for your help!!!


Dear N.,

Eeeeeewwwww! Let's just Set the Record Straight-- one does not Gnaw On Bones, unless one is a Dog! You are not Being Unreasonable! The EGs wouldn't want to sit through another meal with These Boors, either. (Even if it were at a Rib Joint. If it's gross to watch them eating at a Nice Restaurant, can you imagine what they might do to Ribs?) Perhaps you could stick to meeting them for Coffee or Drinks or Ice Cream.

Sincerely yours,
The Etiquette Grrls

Dear Etiquette Grrls, it appropriate to leave an empty food platter containing crumbs in one's office for a couple days?


Dear Curious,

Um... No. Why would one want to?

Yours truly,
The Etiquette Grrls

Dearest Etiquette Grrls,

Please tell me how I can let a co-worker know that I no longer wish to be joined by her in the lunch room at the office? Her manners are quite rude! She can't quit flapping her fat jaws long enough to eat her lunch. I don't wish to see her partially chewed lunch in her big mouth! How gross! Please help!!

Grossed Out

Dear Grossed Out,

We'd simply change the time we ate lunch, and thus Avoid Her. The other options would be to have lunch At Your Desk, or Go Out. Eventually she'll probably Get the Hint. Hmm, we wonder if you've encountered one of N.'s Friends With the Poor Table Manners.

Yours sincerely,
The Etiquette Grrls


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