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The Etiquette Grrls' Q & A Archive: July 2003

Dear Etiquette Grrls,

I realize this doesn't come up very often, but—what is the correct way to announce, at approximately the scheduled time of a wedding ceremony (i.e., when guests are seated in the church awaiting the groom and bride), that the ceremony will not be taking place after all?

Just Curious

Dear Just Curious,

WHAT?!? All we can say is that Making Such an Announcement on the Day of the Wedding, when everyone has traveled from Far and Wide to get there, is Horribly, Horribly Rude. If you know you're Not Going to Go Through With It far enough in advance that you're asking us how to Announce It in the Church, you have No Business Announcing It at the Church. Even if you're looking for a Horrible and Public and Unforgivable way to break up with someone who has Wronged You Greatly, you have no right to inconvenience all of Your Guests and force them to Witness such an Embarrassing Episode.

But let's give you the Benefit of the Doubt. Perhaps you're A Minister who might encounter a couple who has a Horrible Row the day of the ceremony and, despite Your Attempts to Mediate, Calls the Whole Thing Off. Okay, then you're just the Bearer of Bad News. We would probably attempt to be as Brief as Possible. "Ladies and Gentlemen, I regret to inform you that this wedding will not be taking place. I add my apologies to those of Anne, Llewellyn, and Their Families." Then leave, do not Take Questions, and let Anne and Llewellyn worry about handling things from there.

Again, we just have to say: HOW horrible. We really, truly hope you aren't planning to Surprise Someone Like This, Dear Reader.

Very sincerely yours,
The Etiquette Grrls

"By 'Very Dry,' I mean, 'Please open the bottle of Vermouth and wave the fumes over the top of my Martini.'"

Dear Etiquette Grrls,

I have just graduated from college, where I shared an apartment with two other roommates, K and L. Our lease expires on September 1. However, L moved out of the apartment on July 2, and K plans to leave on August 1. I have no problem with the early move-out days, and we are each paying our share of the rent (as legally stated in our lease) until September 1.

My problem: I am in charge of the utility bills for the apartment, a task I have managed throughout the year. I sent L an e-mail on July 5 asking to be reimbursed for her share of the June electricity bill. She has not replied, and I know that she received it. How should I craft a second response asking for the payment?

Also, I am curious as to if I am responsible for the full brunt of the electric bills for the month of August. Naturally, I will pay the entire phone bill (as I am the only one using it), but the electric must be on in the apartment in order to conduct move-out inspections, etc. I am also faced with the brunt of cleaning the entire apartment by myself so we do not lose our security deposits. How can I ask for help with the cleaning?

Please help!

Many thanks,
Responsible Tenant

Dear Responsible Tenant,

We'd try to speak with L In Person, or at least by telephone, to ask what's up with the June electric bill. Say something like, "I hate to bring this up again, but I'm still waiting for a check from you for your share of the June electric bill. Could you get that to me sometime this week? It's a drag, I know, but I'd really appreciate it."

As for the electric bill during August... if you plan to be staying in the apartment until September 1, then we think you should foot the entire electric bill. Yes, during the Move-Out Inspection, the electricity will be In Use for the Good of the Entire Apartment, but that will be what, 15 minutes out of the Entire Month? The rest of the time we think it's just like the Phone Service—you're the only one using it, so you should Foot the Bill.

And finally, regarding cleaning... it should be obvious to Your Roommates that as they Move Out, they should do Some Cleaning. If each had her own room, then she should leave it Absolutely Sparkling and ready for the Move-Out Inspection. Common areas are a little tougher, but if, for example, you each had a Cupboard with Your Cooking Supplies in it, or a Drawer in the Bathroom, you should each make sure those are Spotless when you move out... no matter when that is. We wouldn't hesitate to say something like, "Hey, K, there's still a lot of junk in Your Room—could you stop by and clean it out and vacuum before the lease is up? It'd be a shame to lose part of your security deposit."

Now, if there's only, say, an hour or so of general cleaning to be done, we'd probably just Deal With It Ourselves (we'd probably figure hey, we had the Entire Place to Ourselves all month, which is Pretty Darn Cool, so a bit of Extra Cleaning won't Kill Us). If you do need help with a Major Project, such as Repainting the Living Room, then you can ask Your Roommates to help. But do be fair about it. After all, if you've been living there for a month, K and L really shouldn't have to clean up the Tomato Sauce you spilled on the stove last night—they should only be expected to help with Big Things. Finally, if you do not get any help, and the majority of the problems are in, say, K's room, you could ask the Landlord for an Itemized List of Deductions from Your Security Deposit (which he should give you anyway), and send it to K, asking that she reimburse you and L—you shouldn't have to pay for Damage She Did.

Best wishes,
The Etiquette Grrls

"By 'Very Dry,' I mean, 'Please open the bottle of Vermouth and wave the fumes over the top of my Martini.'"

Dear Grrls,

Thanks for a fabulously awesome site for today's grrls. I'm especially happy to see your link for a good artichoke dip, but that must be because of the 39th week pregnancy hormones telling me I only have a short time left to eat for two.

I could use advice on the protocol concerning entertaining visitors who come to call on the mother and new baby. If I'm resting, do I need to get up to greet friends who bring a meal to our family? I believe my husband feels that since they are helping our family by bringing a meal, they deserve a personal visit from the new mother being helped. If I'm already up, I would be glad to visit and show the baby, but would think our friends would understand if I was resting with the baby.

Also, I have one potentially sticky grrl situation where my sister, who is just recently renewing our relationship, has told my father (without talking to me) that she is taking off work to visit for four days the first week after the baby is born. This would be fine, except that she is a single mom who always brings her rambunctious four- and five-year-old girls. In addition, the last five visits we've had, whether in her home town or ours, her girls have been sickly with either respiratory infections or to be indelicate, heaving all over the place. This is really not the optimum scenario for the first week of dealing with a newborn and two other children of my own (I have an eight-year old girl and 17-month old boy). We already have arrangements for the first three or four weeks for help in our home and would prefer not to overload our home with people and noise. I should add that I deal with several chronic illnesses/disease and greatly need assistance. I truly appreciate my sister's eagerness, but wonder about her lack of consideration and communication. How can I tactfully handle this situation and try to maintain the tenuous building of our friendship?

Thank you for any help in this area.
M.

Dear M.,

Okay, Dear Readers, let's just call this an Etiquette Rule: If someone is a New Mom, you are NOT ALLOWED to invite yourself to her home as a House Guest for any length of time! You're really not allowed to invite yourself anywhere (e.g., "Hey Mindy, does your family still have that Fab Beach House on the Cape? Can I come out for Labor Day Weekend?"), but it is the Most Inconsiderate Thing in the World to assume that someone who will be Caring For an Infant wants a House Guest! Never mind three, two of whom are Small Children! We're sure many people Mean Well, and would honestly not be a nuisance, but spend time Helping Around the House and Helping to Care For the Baby (something lots of New Moms would be grateful for, we're sure), but Dear Readers, this is the sort of thing you simply OFFER, and let the mom-to-be accept or decline. You do not Invite Yourself, and worse, you never, ever, EVER just Show Up Unannounced At Her Doorstep!

But, Dear M., let's get back to your questions. We think that as long as your husband greets visitors, you don't need to get up to say hello unless you're feeling Up to It. For heaven's sake, you've been through a lot! You'll have Just Given Birth! Neither should you feel the need to Wake Up the Baby in order to show him or her to Visitors. If your husband wants to lead them over to the crib to Take a Peek, that's fine, but the Little One needs his sleep! We think most people will understand, Dear Reader. It's not like you invited people over for a Dinner Party and then decided, on a whim, to Take a Nap instead. They're just dropping by, and we don't see why Your Husband can't handle the pleasantries, thank the visitors profusely, etc., all by himself. When you're Up and About, you can invite these Nice People over for a Glass of Lemonade and a Visit with You and the Baby, at which point you can say you were sorry you weren't up when they brought that delicious lasagna, but you were Still Recovering, and you really, truly appreciated Their Thoughtfulness even if you weren't able to run into the kitchen and thank them in person at that time.

And now to Your Sister. We think it's great that she's Eager to See You, but if you don't want her there you need to Nip This Visit in the Bud. Call her up and say, "Sally, Dad told me you were planning to come visit for a few days after the baby arrives, and I think that's so sweet of you to offer [make sure to put a lot of emphasis on that word], but William and I really would prefer to be alone with the baby for the first few weeks. If you'd like to stop by just to see the baby, please do, because we'd absolutely love to see you, but let's postpone your stay with us for a month or so. How about Labor Day Weekend? That would work ever so much better for William and me and the baby." Also, you might want to tell Your Father that you need some back-up here—if he was privy to Your Sister's Plans before you were, maybe he can be a Good Ally toward getting her to Change Them.

We wish you and your family, including the New Baby, all the best!

Yours truly,
The Etiquette Grrls

"By 'Very Dry,' I mean, 'Please open the bottle of Vermouth and wave the fumes over the top of my Martini.'"

Dear Etiquette Grrls,

After a funeral, what gifts and letters require a thank-you note? Just flowers? What about Mass cards, donations to charities, and notes of sympathy? What about people who just signed the register at the funeral home?

Not Bereaved, Just Wondering

Dear Not Bereaved, Just Wondering,

Flowers, Mass Cards, and Donations to Charities in memory of The Deceased must always be acknowledged with a Personal Thank-You Note, as should any letters of sympathy the family receives. Such Thank-You Notes may be Brief, but they must be Personal (sending one of those "The family of _____ gratefully acknowledges your kind expression of sympathy" cards isn't Personal Enough). For example, you could say something like, "Dear Julie, Thank you so much for making a donation to the Red Cross in memory of my father. Dad was quite an active supporter of the Red Cross during his life, and it means a great deal to my family and me that you'd honor his memory in this way. Thank you, again, for being so thoughtful. Sincerely yours, Mara." You do not, however, need to write to everyone who attended the Wake and/or Funeral, though if you're moved to Write to Someone, that, of course, is always fine. (Perhaps someone shared a Wonderful Story about Your Dad that you hadn't heard before, which meant a lot to you—it would be Very Thoughtful of you to send a Brief Note to that person.)

Yours truly,
The Etiquette Grrls

"By 'Very Dry,' I mean, 'Please open the bottle of Vermouth and wave the fumes over the top of my Martini.'"

Dear EGs,

I was recently fortunate enough to accompany my boyfriend and his family on a wonderful, all-expenses-paid vacation. I offered to pay for a dinner during the vacation, but his father insisted that I not. I just returned home, and am wondering do I send only a thank-you note or should I include something along with it? Would a dinner gift certificate be appropriate? I'm so glad I found your website—it's very helpful!

Thanks again,
Confused

Dear Confused,

We think you should probably send a Little Something in addition to a Thank-You Note. Your Boyfriend's Parents were, in effect, Your Hosts, and thus should receive a Hostess Gift, just as if you'd stayed in their home. And we think it's preferable to send Something Substantive than to send a Gift Certificate. How about a Lovely Arrangement of Flowers? Or some Chocolates, or one of those Delicious Gourmet Food Baskets from Zingerman's? It doesn't have to be expensive—if Zingerman's is Out of Your Price Range, then make a batch of Brownies from Scratch, put them in a Pretty Box, and send them along. We guarantee they'll be Just as Welcome as a Pricey Gift—probably more so because you put Your Own Time and Effort into them!

All best,
The Etiquette Grrls

"By 'Very Dry,' I mean, 'Please open the bottle of Vermouth and wave the fumes over the top of my Martini.'"

Dear Etiquette Grrls,

What does "R.S.V.P. (regrets only)" mean on an invitation?

Quite Befuddled

Dear Quite Befuddled,

"R.S.V.P. (regrets only)" means that if you do not plan to attend the event, you must Let the Hostess Know in Advance. (Nicely, of course!) If you do plan to attend, then you don't need to do anything except Show Up On Time.

This is Quite Different from the Standard R.S.V.P. Request. Most invitations just say "R.S.V.P.," minus any mention of Regrets Only. In this case, you must tell the Hostess whether you Accept or Decline the Invitation.

In both cases, you are Not Allowed to be Undecided. That is to say, if you do not Send Your Regrets in response to a Regrets-Only R.S.V.P. Invitation, you'd better Show Up. With a Regular R.S.V.P., you absolutely must Make Up Your Mind and inform the Hostess if you'll be at her party or not—no Dragging Your Feet About It, either!

Cheers,
The Etiquette Grrls

"By 'Very Dry,' I mean, 'Please open the bottle of Vermouth and wave the fumes over the top of my Martini.'"

Dearest Etiquette Grrls,

I am in the Middle of a Most Terrible Quandary! My Very First Crush and my Terrible Rival/Ex-Best-Girlfriend are getting married. In lieu of Real Gifts they have asked for Money and in a sum of Fifty Dollars or Over (which, I am afraid, is rather Impossible for a College Student who is très, très poor, not to mention incredibly Tacky, no?). Worse Yet, I have not been invited to the Actual Wedding itself, not to any Receptions. My Invitation Invites me to a “Housewarming” party, which is Absolute Junk because the Engaged have lived there (with her parents, No Less) for over a year and I have already been there. My Quandary is this: Highly Upset over the way both have treated me callously (although in The Past), do I a) refuse to attend and suffer the Wrath of a Small Town; b) Get Them A Real Gift; c) Place Fifty Dollars on Page 169 of Your New Book (which, of course, I loved); or d) Play Nice and Grin/Bear It?

A Most Terribly Confused Berry

P.S.: If I do Attend this Party, what would be in Acceptable Taste? Formal Wear, or can I get by with my regular Alternative Clothing, especially when Groom has Told Me Not To Bother Showing Up Dressed Like That?

Dear A Most Terribly Confused Berry,

Oh, Dear Reader, why would you even consider attending this Horrid Event? The Small Town will get over it if you Send Your Regrets! Plus, if the Small Town condones Asking For Money and Throwing "Housewarming" Parties for people who ARE NOT MOVING INTO THEIR OWN NEW PLACE, then who cares what the Small Town thinks if you skip it? We think you deserve a Weekend Away visiting some Family or Friends in another, far-far-away city... which just happens to conflict with this Ridiculous Shin-Dig.

We think there are two ways to handle Giving a Gift. You could wash your hands of them completely avec the Fifty-Dollar Bill on Page 169 of MTYNTBT, but there would really be No Going Back From That. It's a See Me In Hell Gesture. Or, you could get them a Small Gift, wrap it exquisitely, and send it along with a short but well-composed note wishing them Happiness. If it perturbs them that you didn't give them money, well, that's Just Tough! We'd probably go the Small, Gracious Gift Route—in the long term, you'll probably feel better about Taking the Higher Road here.

Cheers,
The Etiquette Grrls

Cheers!

Dearest Grrls,

Am absolutely smitten with your website and the well-needed etiquette advice; I found myself spending a pleasant weekend reading MTYNTBT. Keep up the fabulous work!

Found myself in an etiquette quandary recently, and thought I would ask your advice. I have a lovely, wonderful eyebrow waxer who I visit regularly (good grooming, is, of course, of the highest importance!) at a nearby salon. She has been an absolute delight, of course, until recently. At my last appointment, while examining my brow for loose hairs, she made quite the unnerving comment: while gesturing at my forehead, she exclaimed, "We have the most wonderful spa treatments here that can clear those pimples right up!" Grrls, I was appalled. Since I am currently undergoing dermatologist treatment for my acne-prone skin, I am quite sensitive to comments that my draw attention to my complexion. I'm sure that her spa treatments are The Bee's Knees, but should she have suggested them in such a way?

How should I handle further comments, if they do arise? I don't want to be harsh, but I feel that surely, there could have been a better way to solicit her spa treatments, if necessary at all.

Much thanks and keep up the fabulous work at overcoming bad manners.

Love,
Perplexed in Phoenix

Dear Perplexed,

Of course she shouldn't have started Discussing Your Acne! That's completely inappropriate, even for an Aesthetician. Even Dermatologists (who, we dare say, are a heckuva lot Better Qualified to offer Skincare Advice) should know to ask what, in particular, is bothering a patient. A new patient might have a Very Prominent Birthmark the Dermatologist could easily treat avec a Laser, but she might be there just to have a Mole Checked; it would be most gauche of the Doctor to assume the Birthmark troubles the patient at all. She might be Completely Fine With It! (This, Dear Reader, actually happened to a Dear Friend of ours, and it made the EGs want to scream!)

Yes, salons often encourage their employees to Cross-Promote services, and it might be Part of Her Job to mention this month's Special on Facials. However, this would be fine only if done in a general way: "I'm not sure if you knew this, but we also offer facials— let me know if you'd like to see a list of all the different types. They're actually On Sale during July." It's just Not Tactful to point out a customer's Acne! It sounds like a Hard-Sell Tactic, which the EGs Abhor. Good for you not to Fall For It! If she says anything else, we wouldn't hesitate to say something like, "Yes, you've mentioned that before—if I'm ever interested in scheduling one, I'll let you know." Get even more specific if she doesn't stop: "You've mentioned the facials several times, but really, I'm just interested in waxing."

Sincerely yours,
The Etiquette Grrls

Cheers!

Dear Etiquette Grrls,

I have a 10-year reunion, the theme is "luau," and the dress attire is Hawaiian/casual. I'm not crazy about a very floral dress. What should I wear?

T.H.

Dear T.H.,

Your reunion has a Theme? And it's Hawaiian/Casual? As opposed to, say, Hawaiian/White Tie? Tee hee! Absolutely, don't feel compelled to wear some sort of head-to-toe Hawaiian-print ensemble if you don't feel like it. What about a nice linen dress (this reunion is in The Summer, right?) with a little Vintage Handbag made of Tropical-Looking Woven Straw? Then at least you'll be making Some Effort, but you won't look like a fool.

Yours truly,
The Etiquette Grrls

Cheers!

Dear Etiquette Grrls,

I have a question about the requirement for second R.S.V.P.s. Recently I received a couple of e-mail invitations to weekend barbecues. Since the invitations came via e-mail, I R.S.V.P.-ed by e-mail to give the respective inviters my regrets about being unable to attend their parties, and provided a short explanation as to why (I am overwhelmed with work/grad school at the moment and sadly enough do not have the luxury of free time). Both of these individuals responded to my message by disregarding my excuse, indicating something similar to "You have to eat anyway so I would appreciate it if you came by for at least a short time." The tone of both of these messages was not so much"We understand but still feel free to come if you like," but "Your excuse is too feeble, I expect you to be there."

My question is this: Am I required to send a second R.S.V.P., re-stating my original R.S.V.P. that I will be unable to attend? And if so, should I re-emphasize my original excuse since obviously it was not clear the first time? Finally, when R.S.V.P.-ing is it preferable not to provide a reason for being unable to attend, in order to avoid offending the inviter who does not accept the excuse given?

Thanks for you help— I love your site!

Failed R.S.V.P.-er

Dear Failed R.S.V.P.-er,

Well, you're not technically obligated to give a reason for regretting an invitation (particularly a formal invitation, where you haven't much room to give a Long Explanation), but you may give the reason why you cannot attend. "I'm sorry that I can't come to your party on Saturday night, but I have a Prior Engagement," is how you'd send Your Regrets to a Casual Invitation. Or, "I'm sorry that I can't attend your cookout, but I'm planning to be Out of Town this weekend," or "I'm very sorry, but I won't be able to make the party— I'm still getting over this Nasty Flu." All of these are Very Solid Excuses and shouldn't be Questioned by Anyone. However, if you were to send a simple reply of, "So sorry, sending my sincere regrets—can't make it Saturday night," the hostess still shouldn't release the Spanish Inquisition on you. Hostesses may wonder, privately, if someone is Fibbing, but it's not something one should ever bring up.

However, while we're sure you really are Overwhelmed With Work, it probably would have been better to make an excuse that sounds a Bit More Concrete if you were going to make one at all. Don't get us wrong, it's Quite Rude of your friends to second-guess you, but we think they would have left you alone if you had said you had Another Commitment instead of explaining How Busy You Were. (Only you need to know that Your Prior Commitment was to Proofread Your Dissertation.) Again, let's be clear here—in no way are we excusing the Snippy Response you got to your R.S.V.P. If anyone said anything like that to us, you'd better be sure we wouldn't be accepting any invitation of theirs anytime in, oh, say, This Lifetime. But if you don't want to encounter This Snippiness again from any other Rude Hostesses, we'd recommend sticking to one of the Big Three Excuses (Conflicting Obligation, Absence From Town, or Illness) even if this involves Stretching the Truth a little.

It's up to you whether you want to reply to them again. You definitely don't need to—you were asked to R.S.V.P., which you did, and that's all you're obliged to do. If you want to say something like, "I'm sorry, but as I said before, I won't be able to attend—I hope you have a wonderful time," that would be fine, but there's no pressing need.

Cheers,
The Etiquette Grrls

Cheers!

Dear Etiquette Grrls,

I've been dating a man for about a year and a half. His son is getting married this weekend and we're attending the wedding together. I've joined my boyfriend, his son and fiancé on several occasions for dinners and such. My boyfriend's wedding gift to them is an all-expenses-paid honeymoon, which I have not contributed to. Is it appropriate to give them a gift on my own?

Thank you for your response,
June

Dear June,

Sure! If you're so inclined, feel free to get them a Little Something and write them a Nice Congratulatory Note. They'll probably be Quite Touched that you're so thoughtful!

Very truly yours,
The Etiquette Grrls

Cheers!

Dear Etiquette Grrls,

Just a quick question—what is an appropriate stone for an engagement ring OTHER than a diamond? Are there any? Unlike the rest of the female population, I don't care for them at all, and, while not currently expecting or seeking an engagement ring from my boyfriend, I am curious about what other stone might be considered appropriate. I know that rubies, sapphires, and emeralds are considered "semi-precious"... I am inclined to think that an excellent sapphire set in a modern, clean-lined platinum setting would be perfectly acceptable, but then again, I could be wrong.

Any input would be great. And keep up the great work on your site...

Best,
Sara

Dear Sara,

We think the Engagement Ring should Suit the Girl. And some Girls just don't like Diamonds! Sure, you can have a Lovely Engagement Ring with a Sapphire. A Really Good Sapphire set in Platinum sounds Tremendously Swell! (Nit-picky point: We actually thought Rubies, Sapphires, and Emeralds were considered Precious Stones, and that "Semi-Precious" applied to Garnets, Citrines, Topaz, etc.... but that's not really important.) Now, none of these other Types of Stones is as hard as a Diamond, which means you'll have to be a bit more careful with your ring (particularly if you choose an Emerald—they can be Rather Fragile). But the EGs doubt you're going to be karate-chopping cement blocks whilst wearing Your Engagement Ring, or running around dipping your hands in Hydrochloric Acid, so this shouldn't really Crimp Your Style.

All best,
The Etiquette Grrls

Cheers!

Dear Etiquette Grrls,

Oh, I hope I don't come off as a Stuckup Sourpuss, but I am really having a problem with a friend's New Girlfriend. First of all, he is 30 and said girlfriend is 19. Our circle of friends has an average age of 27. Age should not matter, however, Girlfriend is completely immature. She acts just as a 19-year-old should, including wearing outfits that resemble Ms. Aguilera's and stumbling around drunk with Beer Cans on her head (which, I would like to add, I do stick my nose up to), and embarrasses us when we are with or meeting new friends. The circle, which includes husbands, et al., agrees that in the future, we do not invite Good Friend to gatherings if there is an inkling of a chance that New Girlfriend will be accompanying him, or we intentionally make plans to meet at bars which she would not be able to entre dans. Circle adores Good Friend and can only hope that he is going through a phase, but now it's almost uncomfortable to hang around him, because we fear that he will ask what we think of her.

Etiquette Grrls, are we being quite rude, or are we dealing with the situation mannerly? Also, what kind of answer could I give if Good Friend asks what I think sans sounding like I'm lying straight through my teeth?

Lack of Tolerance for Immature 19-Year-Olds

Dear Lack of Tolerance,

Oh, Dear Reader, even 19-year-olds shouldn't be dressing like Trampy Pop Stars and stumbling around drunk with Beer Cans on their heads! We know plenty of Mature, Sophisticated 19-year-olds who would take umbrage to your saying this is how a 19-year-old should act! (Don't worry, we're sure you don't actually think this is okay for 19-year-olds; we just want to make sure Our Dear 19-Year-Old Readers understand such behavior is not Sanctioned by the EGs!)

Planning get-togethers in Bars She Can't Go To is Pretty Darn Crafty. However, it sounds like she could Learn a Few Things from Your Crowd—what about planning other events, like a Swanky Cocktail Party, where there will be Nary a Beer Can in Sight, just pitchers of Strong Martinis? Or even something Alcohol-Free, such as a Road Trip to a Flea Market? If you keep your soirées on the Extreme Opposite End of the Scale from Frat Parties, then perhaps she will start acting a bit more mature at them. It might be worth at least one shot before all of you give up completely on Miss Beer Can. If that doesn't work, though, then you have two options: Continue the Sneaky Planning, or level with Good Friend. He might notice, of course, that you're deliberately trying to exclude Miss Beer Can, and we think it could be very awkward if he Called You On It. It might actually be best if he asked what you think of her; then you could Be Honest. You wouldn't want to say, "Dear GOD, what on earth are you THINKING? Are you having some sort of Early Midlife Crisis? She is Just Vile and you need to dump her, stat!" However, you could say something like, "Britney seems like a nice girl, but she does sometimes act as if she's at a Frat Party... which is a little bit out of place at the Jazz Club." He might pick up on that and say that yes, he's noticed that the group seems Rather Cool Toward Her—does her age have something to do with it? Then you could say, "Well, Good Friend, you know we don't care about the Age Difference. She could be 49 instead of 19 and I'm sure everyone would be fine with that! It was just a bit unnerving when, for instance, Helen had that Cocktail Party and Britney showed up with her Beer Funnel. That was really awkward. I don't think it's age so much as—and you know I hate to say this—a sense of tact." If enough people plant that kind of Little Seed in his head, he might realize that Britney might not be the right girl for him right now (barring, of course, some Sudden Acquisition of Maturity).

With best wishes,
The Etiquette Grrls

Cheers!

Dear Etiquette Grrls,

Like so many of you other admirers, I check your site First Thing Monday Morning. I applaud you for your lively comments on Important Topics.

I have a question regarding Shoes—specifically, how much space should be showing between the Heel of One's Foot and the End of the Sole when wearing a backless mule or slide. I noticed that when my friend tries on Shoes, she will buy them in whatever size allows for a good 1/2 to full inch of shoe to extend past her heel. I myself never do this, operating on the assumption that One's Backless Shoes should fit the same way One's Closed Shoes fit—and in a Closed Shoe, one's Heel would meet the Back of the Shoe relatively snugly, or the Shoe would fall off.

When I tried, for my own curiosity, to try on a pair of Backless Shoes where that much of the sole extended past my Heel, my Foot slid around in it and it was difficult to keep it from flying off! However, I don't want to be thought of as Someone Who Wears Her Shoes Too Small—especially as I pride myself on my knowledge of How Things Are Done.

Please dispense your Wisdom, EGs!

Well-Shod or Shoddy?

Dear Well-Shod or Shoddy?,

Oh, yes, it would be Most Unseemly to be continually Stepping Out of One's Backless Shoes! It would look a Bit Odd to have a full inch of shoe extending past one's heel... the impression it might create is that of a Wee Child tottering around in Her Mother's Shoes. However, we wonder if your friend may be choosing the larger sizes because the front of the shoe fits perfectly—what she might really need is a Smaller Size and a Wider Width. We've seen plenty of Girls wearing Mules and Slides that are clearly too small for them, too—they probably really need a size 9 AAA instead of an 8 B, for example. It's Simply Deplorable that it's so damn difficult to find shoes that aren't in a B width!

Cheers,
The Etiquette Grrls

Cheers!

Dear Grrls,

I was recently invited to a very small dinner party hosted by a couple I hardly knew. It was a wonderful evening and I had a magnificent time getting to know them at their home. I would like to reciprocate the gesture and invite them to dinner. Unfortunately they are horribly allergic to house pets and I own a cat. Is it polite to invite them to a dinner at my favorite restaurant? I usually invite people to dinner at my home and feel slightly uncomfortable that I will not be able to host them properly at a restaurant. Secondly, since they are very well off financially (much more so than I) and will probably try to pay for their own meal, how do I politely insist on paying for their meal?

Thank you in advance,
How to Reciprocate?

Dear How to Reciprocate?,

We think your plan sounds Just Fine. In fact, we've been to "dinner parties" like this, where the host has, for example, the Tiniest of Tiny Studio Apartments and No Possible Way of Seating Guests, never mind Cooking for Them. First, though, we'd probably make Absolutely Certain that Your Home is Not an Option—give them a Quick Telephone Call to say that you had such a wonderful time at their party, and that you're thinking of having a Little Get-Together of your own, but you were worried that Your Cat might make things difficult for them. They might say, "Oh, we are Very Allergic, but as long as we take Claritin an hour or so in advance, we'll be Just Fine." If that's the case, then you're all set! Just make sure to vacuum really well and put Fluffy in Your Bedroom during the party. If they apologize and say they really can't Set Foot in Your House, then you could say, "That's fine— I've actually been looking for an excuse to go to [Your Favorite Restaurant]—I think I'll just move the party there instead!"

If you make it clear that You're the Hostess, they really shouldn't make a big deal about Your Paying for Their Meals, but if you anticipate Problems, try this: Arrive Early, introduce yourself to the maitre d', and tell him that the Check for Your Table should only be brought to you. Have your Credit Card ready at the end of the meal, and as soon as the folder with the Check arrives, slip in it and hand it right back to the waiter. Now, should anyone STILL try to foist Money Upon You, simply say, "You're my guests! I insist on paying. The Etiquette Grrls would Have My Head if they heard I let people I invited to a restaurant pay for their own meals!"

All best,
The Etiquette Grrls

Cheers!

Dear EGs,

My husband is a newly ordained minister, but neither of us have attended many weddings. He has been asked to officiate an outdoor wedding in October on the East coast. The wedding sounds as though it will be quite formal—the bridesmaid dresses are beautiful and elegant, and the groomsmen will be wearing tuxedos.

It sounds as though most of the people attending are wealthy, but my husband and I only make a modest income. My husband needs a suit for the occasion and I need a dress. Here are the questions: What style/color suit would be appropriate for him, and what style/color dress would be appropriate for me to wear? Since he is officiating the event, it is of utmost importance that we are dressed properly (I am certain you understand). Also, do you have any suggestions as to where we could purchase the appropriate type of clothing for modest prices? Please help!

Working-Class Grrl

Dear Working-Class Grrl,

Sure! We think you could get Very Nice, Very Serviceable Outfits for both you and your husband! First, try to buy something Seasonless, so you can Wear It Again. Even if you anticipate it being Very Cold in October, for example, don't get a Heavy Wool Dress with Long Sleeves. Instead, go for a Versatile Fabric in a Solid Color, and Accessorize. For you, a Very Simple Sleeveless Sheath Dress with a Matching Jacket would be Ideal—maybe something in Navy, or Sage Green, or Slate Blue, depending on your coloring. If you attend another wedding next summer, for example, and it's 90 degrees, you can leave the Jacket at home and bring an inexpensive Lightweight Wrap to cover up your shoulders during the ceremony. Shoes like Slingbacks will work at any time of year (go for Low Heels if you'll be walking on grass at the Outdoor Wedding).

For Your Husband, we think a Black Suit will be best (or maybe very dark Charcoal Grey), preferably made of Lightweight Wool. He'll probably want a white shirt and a non-busy tie (something like a light-grey silk would be nice). He'll also need Black Socks and Black Lace-Up Shoes. Of course, if His Denomination requires anything different, you should take Their Advice instead of Ours!

Since you have a while before the wedding, you'll have plenty of time to shop. We'd recommend you look everywhere—from Department Stores to Brand-Name Shops like Banana Republic and Brooks Brothers (you might find a Great Sale!) to Stores that are a Little Less Predictable, like Filene's Basement, T.J. Maxx, and Various Outlets (yes, it's Rather Draining, to say the least, to shop in stores where you're never quite sure what you'll find, but you just might find something Absolutely Perfect at an Insanely Good Price). Or, there's always eBay, or, Our Favorite, Vintage Clothing Shops! Also, if you have any Good Friends who like to shop, let them know what you're looking for... when the EGs hear that someone we know is on a Shopping Quest, we're always happy to Keep an Eye Out for something that might work for them!

Yours truly,
The Etiquette Grrls

Cheers!

Dearest Etiquette Grrls,

I am getting married in August and a dear male friend of mine called today to inquire as to whether I prefer Tinkerbelle Lingerie or Hello Kitty Lingerie. Personally, I could do without both as he is married and I think this would be a tad uncomfortable for both our spouses. When I suggested that if he was such a fan of Tinkerbelle, he should consider purchasing it for his wife, he told me that it would not look as good on his wife. I am feeling a little embarrassed that this was even suggested. I guess I am behind the times as to the common practice of giving delicate items?

Thank you for your advice!

Prefers Traditional Wedding Gifts

Dear Prefers,

Eeeeeeeewww! All together now: EEEEEEEEWWWW!! What a Sleazeball! Was he attempting to make some sort of Exceedingly Un-Funny Joke? No, Dear Reader, you are not Behind the Times... you are just Not Vile. We'd have said something like, "Oh, Nigel, I'm sure you're joking, because it would be Most Unmannerly of you, a Married Man, to give me lingerie of Any Sort. What would your wife say?"

Very sincerely yours,
The Etiquette Grrls

Cheers!

Dear Grrls,

I adore your site and your books (I'm planning on recommending them for my school district, as all of the other etiquette books I have seen in collections are quite dated). However, I'm in a quandary over an incident at a 4th of July party. I am a teacher (school librarian to be specific) and it's a profession that I take with the utmost seriousness. At this party, there was a woman who did not know I was a teacher who seemed to be very frustrated with her child's education at a neighboring district. Her tirade included how lazy teachers were because they weren't there when she called after school. This really got my dander up, especially because she does not have a job outside of her home and therefore doesn't face the same issues that people who work outside the home do.

Being a teacher, it is my natural reaction to explain things carefully to those who don't understand something. It's what I have been trained to do, and who I am as a person. I explained the types of events that could happen during a school day that would cause a teacher to leave right on time. I also explained how much work teachers take home with them after school. I didn't even list the fact that teachers in my state are now required to get 180 hours of professional development before a certain date or have meetings that might be necessary to attend for their district that might not be held in their individual building or just come in early in the morning when no one is around to get their extra stuff done instead of staying late or even have childcare issues of their own to battle.

Given the fact that everyone went to school and therefore believes they get an opinion on my profession (and quite often, it is an unflattering opinion), is there something much more simple (and polite) to say that does not include a lecture on my part?

Biting My Tongue

Dear Biting My Tongue,

Oh, my. May we just say that People Who Go Around Being Disrespectful of Teachers are just screaming for a Good, Swift Kick in the Shins avec a Very Pointy-Toed Slingback (and, perhaps, some nice Spelling Words to copy out 1,000 times)? But we'll leave it at that. No matter what your profession, if you feel someone is making a Gross, Disparaging Generalization about it, you may certainly bring up a few points to Contradict Them. The key thing here is the Tone in which you deliver Said Points. As long as you deliver it lightly, it's fine to say something like, "Actually, I'm a teacher, and the business hours in my district are 7:30 A.M. to 2:30 P.M. It's not uncommon for me to be out the door right at 2:30 to attend meetings in other buildings or required professional development classes. If you need to reach someone, it's best to call the school during its Business Hours... it's like any other Place of Business. You can't get Your Doctor on the Phone an hour after his office closes!" We wouldn't, however, Start Shouting, Talk Down to Anyone, Deliver an Elaborate Lecture about all the possibilities ("Maybe the teacher has Childcare Issues of her own! Maybe she comes in Early! Maybe she Coaches!"), or make any remarks insinuating that someone doesn't know what she's talking about because she doesn't work outside the home (which would be Way, Way Out of Line).

If she comes back at you with, "Yeah, well, my child's teachers really are Incompetent Fools!" then we'd say something like, "I'm sorry to hear you feel that way, but really, I just have to tell you that not being able to reach a teacher when you call at 4:00 is really not unusual. Even if you're unhappy with your child's teachers, please don't accuse all teachers of Being Lazy. I'm not, and my coworkers are not, and it's really disheartening to hear the entire profession being Put Down because of a few Bad Apples." And then, Dear Reader, we'd say, "Excuse me, I need to go Freshen My Drink," make a Big Damn G&T, and make a Silent Toast to the fact that this Horrid Woman doesn't live in Your District!

All best,
The Etiquette Grrls

Cheers!

Dear Grrls,

I have always been offended by men whose pants would fall lower than appropriate in the back, with underwear, Or Worse, hanging out. I mean really, I can't believe they can't tell! Horrors. Now this trend evolved to men with designer bands of underwear hanging out of pants that are much too large, which I did not understand, but hoped it would go away quickly (and I must say at least designer underwear is more pleasant than the alternative). Now, dear Grrls, the latest "underwear as fashion" trends for women just perplexes me. Low-cut jeans and pants require low-cut underwear! So many out there are busily tucking in the excess underwear, or worse, just letting it show. This is most noticeable at university sporting events on bleachers.....very distracting!

More recently, there is the new trend of wearing the thong above your low-cut pants (on purpose!). This is just unbelievable, but then, it gets worse—prom fashions came out and there was a two-piece dress with a low-cut skirt and a pair of complimentary thong panties to go with the ensemble!

Is it Ever Appropriate to have underwear showing in public—or as part of an outfit—aside from being a lingerie model?

Victoria's Secret Should Be Kept a Secret!

Dear Victoria's Secret Should Be Kept a Secret,

No. It is Never Appropriate for anyone to sport Visible Underwear in Public, no matter What They Are Wearing, Who They Are, or Where They Are. And that Includes Models.

And for the record, if anyone wore that outfit to a Formal Dance at Our School, they'd have been Sent Home immediately, with a Boatload of Demerits. We can't understand why anyone would let their Teenager Leave the House in a Prom Ensemble Like That! And whoever designed it can See Us In Hell!

Yours truly,
The Etiquette Grrls

The EGs could use a Really Dry Martini right now.

Dear Etiquette Grrls,

I love your site and look forward to reading it every Monday! I have a question that I have never seen addressed and maybe because it's a bit bizarre, but here goes...

Why would a new mother think that her friends would want to change her new baby? Or do most women like to do this and I'm just strange for having no interest in this activity whatsoever?

One of my friends had a baby in late February and during the couple of times I have visited she seems tickled by making comments about how I should change her baby. Another friend was with me during one visit and allowed herself to be goaded into actually doing it (again, after repeated comments). I am infertile (which she knows, and perhaps this adds to my annoyance with this behavior from her) but should I eventually be blessed with a baby, I wouldn't DREAM of asking someone other than my husband or a babysitter to change him/her.

We have other friends with babies who have joked (once!) about our "getting the practice" and changing their babies but her repeated comments about this make me think that she's not joking entirely and that she expects I should take her up on her offer (as if I really want to, but am just too bashful or something)! Is this rude, or am I too sensitive? If you agree it is rude, would you suggest a response that would effectively convey my disinterest while preserving her feelings? ("No, thank you" just doesn't seem to be working...)

Thanks in advance for your thoughts!

Not the Nanny

Dear Not the Nanny,

Wow. That is the Most Insane Thing we've ever heard of! Why would someone ever want to change someone else's baby, Just For the Sport of It? The asking is Bizarre. The assuming everyone will want to clean up after Her Baby is Rude.

We'd laugh and say something along the lines of, "Sure thing—after you come over to my house and Clean Out the Litterbox!" (If you're Sans Cat, substitute any annoying and/or labor-intensive Household Chore that no one really wants to do—Cleaning Out the Gutters, Scrubbing the Toilet, Washing the Windows, Waxing the Floors, etc.) Now, the EGs don't know this person, so we can't guarantee it will actually Preserve Her Feelings, but, Dear Reader, she needs a Wake-Up Call! If you don't want to deliver a Snappy Retort, you always have the option of Leveling With Her: "Millie, you've asked me that before, and I said no. I'm sorry, your baby is adorable, but I really don't want to change him."

Cheers,
The Etiquette Grrls

The EGs could use a Really Dry Martini right now.

Dear Etiquette Grrls,

My friend is a professional caterer. She loves to throw elegant dinner parties. They are elegant and the food is wonderful. More importantly, it's great to gather with good friends. However, here is my problem. On the invitations she asks people to contribute $15 for food. This makes me uncomfortable. I don't know how other guests feel about this since I don't feel loyal discussing this with others. At one point she must have felt the need to explain herself because she made a comment to the effect of "Why should I pay for their party?" Isn't it her party? Also, she constantly interrupts conversations to ask people (especially me) to come in the kitchen and chop something or cook something as she is always running late. Even though she considers me her good friend, sometimes I feel like an employee who is inappropriately consorting with the "real" guests, even though I paid my $15. I suppose, I should just decline her invitations. But have you ever heard of throwing a party and asking the guests to pay for the food?

Sincerely,
Bemused

Dear Bemused,

Nope. Well, actually, we take that back—this is exactly the same thing as throwing a Birthday Party at a Restaurant for, say, Your Spouse, and expecting all the guests to Pay For Their Meals. And the EGs hear about that ALL THE TIME from people who want to have a Swanky Party, yet can't afford to Foot The Bill. (Our answer, for the record, is that the Host Pays for Everything. Always. If you can't afford to pay for dinner for 25 at the Chateau de Swank, then you have the options of 1) inviting fewer people or 2) changing the venue. And That's It.)

Your friend, Dear Reader, is not Throwing Parties. She's Running an Unlicensed Restaurant Out of Her Home, and, worse, she's making the Guests Cook! There's no way in hell we'd accept an invitation like that—it would just Encourage Her!

Sincerely yours,
The Etiquette Grrls

The EGs could use a Really Dry Martini right now.


Dear Etiquette Grrls,

I'm throwing a party this weekend for friends and family, among which will be my brother and his wife. Also, my two best friends will have company this weekend, one of whom is a mutual friend from out of town. Let's call her Tiffany. My friends are bringing Tiffany with them to the party. Complications arise from the fact Tiffany is my brother's ex-girlfriend from about eight years ago in high school, as well as a high school volleyball teammate to my sister-in-law (in fact, my two best friends, my brother, his wife, Tiffany and I ALL went to the same high school).

My brother had a bad break-up with Tiffany, has since avoided her, and doesn't like talking about her, let alone seeing her. Through this, however, I have remained friends with Tiffany and consider her to be a good one at that. I have let my brother know that Tiffany will be at the party, to which he acted put out and suggested I am being rude to his wife, though insisting that it was "fine."

Am I an insensitive host to invite Tiffany? Tiffany is now engaged and getting married in September, so the idea that there is tension between her and my sister-in-law escapes me. Am I disloyal to my brother to even remain friends with Tiffany? He hasn't asked me to stop being friends with her.

I feel like I've been thrown into the middle of a mess that I don't understand and that someone's feelings will be hurt in the end, either Tiffany's for being dissed from her friend's party or my brother and his wife for being thrown into an uncomfortable social situation. What is a good host to do?

Sincerely,
Worried Host

Dear Worried Host,

Oooh, they dated eight years ago? In High School?? And one is now married and the other one's engaged? Good God, what could possibly be the problem here? We think you are not being disloyal in the slightest. Do not dis-invite Tiffany, and don't worry too much about Your Brother and His Wife feeling uncomfortable. In fact, a Big, Casual Party is probably the ideal situation for them to see each other— it's not like an Intimate Dinner Party, where, if animosity surfaced, it could really Kill the Evening for All the Guests, or somewhere like Their High-School Reunion, where other people who know the Whole Story about the Awful Breakup will be watching them all like hawks. You are the Host, and it's your right to invite whomever you want, including Former Girlfriends/Boyfriends and even Former Spouses. However, when you have guests who fall into these categories, it's always good to Tip Them Off to the fact that the Opposite Party has also been invited, so nobody, in a Fit of Surprise, throws one of your Best Wineglasses across the room at Her Ex. For this reason, you might want to fill Tiffany in—it would really be unfair to have told Your Brother but have her be Surprised. It is up to your guests to Be Civil to one another, should they accept your invitation. If they feel cannot do so, then they simply should Not Attend. And what's more, they shouldn't Whine to You About It. You're all adults, and if you are friends with Both Parties, it's not nice of either of them to try to force you to Take Sides.

Yours truly,
The Etiquette Grrls

The EGs could use a Really Dry Martini right now.

Dear Etiquette Grrls,

I recently attended the wedding of a former colleague, which was followed by a sit-down dinner reception. My assigned table was with her now present co-workers, most of whom I knew (same employer, different departments) but they were more acquaintances than friends. Nevertheless, all was well, and everybody was friendly. Our table seated ten, and one plate setting was empty. Just after the first course was served, the latecomer arrived and took his seat... it just so happens that we too were acquainted. He was the bride's former boyfriend turned friend, and I knew he had no idea who his tablemates were. I assumed the bride put him at the same table with me because he would at least know somebody. As he sat down, I could tell he was very uncomfortable, his late arrival making him very conspicuous. In order to make him more at ease, since I was the only one there who had even inkling as to who the heck he was, I said, "Hi Gary, nice to see you. It's been a long time." To which he responded, and I am not kidding, "Not long enough." For an instant the silence was deafening as all eyes turned to me. Then somebody expelled a "Whoa," or some such sound. His nasty remark was totally uncalled for, as he and I had absolutely no history other than being friends with the bride. Meanwhile, everyone is looking to me for my response, but I was stunned into speechlessness. I had absolutely no idea what provoked this comment, not to mention my embarrassment at being unjustly and publicly humiliated in front of people I barely knew. I desperately searched my brain for a pithy comeback; alas, I came up empty. I finally muttered something along the lines of "Well, alrighty then" as the people at the table tried to retrieve the conviviality we were enjoying before this yahoo came around. I iced him for the rest of the evening, not that he made any attempts at engaging me in conversation. A couple of weeks ago he sent me a letter (yes, a real letter) apologizing for his boorish behavior, etc., concluding that he would really like to take me out, and giving me his phone number. I have no desire whatsoever to see this guy again. Should I respond to this conciliatory gesture, and if so, how? What I really want is a ringing endorsement to ignore it... but only if you see fit.

I Knew the Bride When She Used to Rock and Roll

Dear I Knew the Bride,

While his behavior at the wedding is Most Perplexing, the EGs think his "Letter of Apology" is Even More Psycho! It's a good thing that he apologized, and we like the fact that he wrote you a Real Letter instead of, say, sending you an e-card, but under no circumstances should a Letter of Apology contain an invitiation for the Recipient to go out on a date with the Writer! How horribly forward!

We would not respond to the letter. He sounds like a Very Odd Young Man, and you probably need an Odd Young Man bothering you about as much as you need A Hole In Your Head, Dear Reader. If you should happen to run in to him In Public, of course you should be Civil, but we definitely don't think you need to give him a call. No wonder the Bride Broke Up With Him!

Sincerely yours,
The Etiquette Grrls

The EGs could use a Really Dry Martini right now.

Ladies,

I love your site. I never thought I would need to ask you a question, but here goes:

I have had an appointment set up for the past two months to have my hair and nails done. Today I received an invitation for me and my darling daughter to attend a girls-only tea party—for the exact same time as the appointment I've had for two months. I've already called the hostess to see if it would be OK for my husband and my darling daughter to attend, but it's a strictly NO BOYS ALLOWED event.

So my dilemma is somewhat clear—do I sacrifice time I've carefully carved out of my schedule for myself (yet again!) and reschedule my appointment, or do I regretfully decline? Keep in mind, my darling daughter is unaware of this invitation, and we are not particularly close to the hostess (wife of a school buddy of my husband). I am also uncomfortable with the idea of attending a "tea party" (although my daughter loves them).

Please help!
Pondering in Pennsylvania

Dear Pondering,

Honestly, Dear Reader, it's Your Decision. Only you know how important Your Appointment is to you. We will say that we think it would be perfectly understandable if you declined just because you don't know the Hostess terribly well, whether or not you had A Conflict. Is there another possible solution, such as asking the Mother of One of Your Daughter's Friends to take your daughter along, while you agree to reciprocate at a later date? If not, though, we wouldn't Lose Sleep Over It.

Best wishes,
The Etiquette Grrls

The EGs could use a Really Dry Martini right now.


Dear Etiquette Grrls,

OK, here is my question. I was watching this show on MTV called Made, and this episode shows a tomboy working to become a beauty queen. Well, she got a coach, and on the first day the coach reprimands the girl for chewing gum! She said that girls can't chew gum! Now I'm a little confused, because I always chew gum, and I never once thought that it wasn't feminine. I thought maybe it might have to do with age, because it would look sort of silly having a 30-year-old professional, in a business suit, chomping away at gum, but a teenager! It's not as if we are eating some over-the-top child's candy that has cartoon characters all over it. It's just some gum so we won't have bad breath! LOL. Also, if you look at any commercials for gums like Trident or Orbit, all the actors are adults. What do you think about this "masculine" act?

Sincerely,
Gum Chewer

Dear Gum Chewer,

The coach is wrong. It's not that Girls shouldn't chew gum. It's that No One should chew gum In Public, except if they can do it Completely Imperceptibly. If you think about it, it is Very Silly to be Continually Chewing on Something when you're not Having a Meal, no matter how old you are. By all means, have a piece of gum when you're alone in your car on the way to The Big Party, but get rid of it before you arrive! There's a whole section on this in our second book.

And, Dear Reader, just a tip: Don't ever look to the Actors in a Commercial as examples of What Should, or Should Not, be done by Anyone. Is it okay to bring up Your Digestive Problems at the Dinner Table, or for scantily-clad teenagers to talk to a creepy photographer in a basement, à la that Disgusting Calvin Klein Commercial from a few years ago? No, no, a thousand times no!

Most sincerely yours,
The Etiquette Grrls

 

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