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The Etiquette Grrls' Q & A Archive: September 2001

Dear Readers,

The Etiquette Grrls intended to post our belated Q&A today, but then, during our Morning Commute, we heard, instead of the Traffic Report, an early account of the Terrible Events occurring in New York City. Several hours of CNN later, we are still Reeling, and we feel it would be Inappropriate for us to post advice on what, in the Grand Scheme of Things, would seem to be Trivial Matters. Dear Readers, we hope you agree with us on this one. We sincerely, sincerely hope that All of You, Your Loved Ones, and Your Dear Friends are safe tonight. Our thoughts and prayers are with those of you in New York City and Washington, all the passengers on the four aircraft which crashed today (as well as their families), and, indeed, Our Dear Country in General. We shall return in Good Form next Monday.

Most sincerely yours,
The Etiquette Grrls


 

Dear Readers,

The EGs debated whether or not it would be Appropriate for us to post a Q&A this week... in the light of the Terrible Events of September 11, at first we thought we should wait a bit longer. But, as we have heard so many of Our Leaders say, it is important for us all to Return to Normal--to show the World that while we are Sad, we have not Lost Our Strength and Our Spirits.

Very truly yours,
The Etiquette Grrls

martini

Dear Etiquette Grrls,

Have you a snail-mail address?

D.C. Reader

Dear D.C. Reader,

Let us first say that we hope You, and All Your Loved Ones, are safe today. We send the same Good Wishes to Our Dear Readers in New York; you have all been in Our Thoughts this entire week.

And, to answer your question, yes, we do have a Snail-Mail Address:

The Etiquette Grrls
c/o The Berkley Publishing Group,
Penguin Putnam, Inc.
375 Hudson Street
New York, New York 10014

Sincerely yours,
The Etiquette Grrls

martini

Dear Etiquette Grrls,

Can you tell me the proper etiquette for a man to clip his fingernails?

In Need of an Urgent Answer

Dear In Need of an Urgent Answer,

Quelle bizarre question, Dear Reader! In the EGs' Opinion, a man should clip his fingernails (as opposed to not trimming them at all, or Gnawing Them Off--yuck!), and should do it In Private, and should Dispose of the Clippings. And, um, that's About It. Why the Urgency? We are Rather Intrigued.

Sincerely yours,
The Etiquette Grrls

martini

Dear Etiquette Grrls,

What do you have in the way of western hat etiquette for men?

City Slicker

Dear City Slicker,

Nothing... except Our Expert Opinion that unless one is a Practicing Cowboy Engaging in One's Trade, or a Wee Child Dressing Up for Halloween, one should not wear a Cowboy Hat. Ever.

Yours truly,
The Etiquette Grrls

martini

Dear Etiquette Girls,

Thank you for such a useful and entertaining web site! I was so disappointed when I finally finished reading through your extensive archives and realized that now I will only get a small dose of your wisdom each week--I wish your archives could have gone on forever!

I am writing to enquire for advice on how one may approach parents whose children are creating a public nuisance. Specifically, I am thinking of those parents who see nothing wrong with letting their children scream and create other disturbances in public libraries, which apparently are no longer universally recognized as quiet sanctuaries. I have tried heavy sighs à la Al Gore, and I have tried glaring, but these methods do not always produce results, and it seems preferable to say a polite something directly to the parents anyway. But I'm unsure what the wording should be. Would it be something like: "Would you mind keeping your child a little quieter?"

Also, would it be appropriate to say something directly to the child, or is it really better to approach the parent instead? Thank you.

Just Trying to Read

Dear Just Trying to Read,

Oh, Dear Reader, the Etiquette Grrls really cannot understand why Parents allow their Children to Run Wild. Yes, the EGs are aware that small Children have Abundant Amounts of Energy, but it is a Parent's Duty to make sure Children 1) do not Scream in Public, unless they have a Very Good Reason (i.e., they Need Help from An Adult); and 2) do not Run Around where they can Disturb Other People (yes, we know Children need to run around and play, but this should be done at Playgrounds, not in Libraries, Churches, Museums, etc.). However, the EGs think that sometimes, Rather Selfish parents do not pay attention to how easily their children get tired and cranky. How often are the EGs Nearly Run Down in the Aisles of Saks by some Shopping-Obsessed Mom, pushing a double stroller full of Parcels and Bags, dragging her Screeching Child behind her? Far too often, Dear Reader! Of course a Wee Bairn should be able to accompany Mommy on a Quick Errand, or, depending upon his or her age, Several Errands, but we see too many Parents who seem Completely Oblivious to how exhausted their Children Are!! And the EGs REALLY hate people who use Strollers as Shopping Carts. If you don't feel like carrying something, for God's Sake, Have It Delivered! It is not appropriate to force Your Poor Kid to Toddle at Top Speed on His or Her Wee Legs just so you don't have to carry your shopping bags!! But the EGs Digress.

Dear Reader, we think that in all cases, if you are moved to the point where you feel you must Say Something to Someone, you should speak to the Parent. It is Quite Tempting, we admit, to imitate the Most Frightening Nun One Encountered in Grammar School and put the Fear of God into the Wee Screaming One, but really, it's better to talk to the Parent. After all, it is the parent's responsibility to Keep the Kid In Line! Your suggestion of what to say sounds fine; we might also use something like, "Excuse me, but I'm attempting to Study for the Bar, and I need to Concentrate." The Offending Parent should Get the Hint. If not, the EGs suggest you Speak to a Librarian. Librarians are Professionally Trained to Shush People. (And Boy, do the EGs Admire That!)

We thank you, Dear Reader, for your Kind Words about Our Site!

All best,
The Etiquette Grrls

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Dear Etiquette Grrls,

What does it mean if someone is invited to a bridal shower and not to the wedding?

Just Wondering

Dear Just Wondering,

It means, "The Bride is Horrifically Greedy."

Sincerely yours,
The Etiquette Grrls

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Dear Etiquette Grrls,

The girl broke off our wedding engagement. Do I get the ring back? Should I ask for it, or let her give it back if she wants to?

Jilted

Dear Jilted,

Yes, You Poor Dear, you get the ring back! No decent girl would dream of keeping a ring after an Engagement has Ended, especially if she is the One Who Ended It! (In fact, Dear Reader, we have heard that if you live in New York State, she is Required By Law to return the ring to you. But we're not the Free Legal Advice Grrls, so you might consult a Lawyer Friend.) If she is So Impolite as to Keep It, sure, go ahead and ask her for it.

Yours sincerely,
The Etiquette Grrls

martini

Dear Etiquette Grrls,

I received an e-mail from my daughter recently, informing me that she and her husband have registered at a local department store for their one-year anniversary. She has conveniently added a list of other possible choices in gifts that we might wish to pick from. Since when do people register for one-year anniversary gifts, and does this type of thing continue throughout a couple's entire marriage? Am I wrong in feeling that this is a rather greedy and uncouth request? After all, my husband and I did pay for her wedding one year ago. She has e-mailed this same request to several other family members and quite frankly, I'm embarrassed by her behavior. Please reply!!!

Mortified Mother

Dear Mortified Mother,

This crazy registering business has Got to Stop, Immediately!!! The EGs aren't sure when this Started, Dear Reader, but believe us, we do not Condone It--for a first anniversary or any anniversary thereafter. EVER. And no, Dear Reader, you are certainly not Wrong in considering your daughter's behavior to be Greedy and Uncouth. Even if for some reason she could have Convinced Herself that she Should Register, she should under no circumstances have Spread the Word to Her Family!! The EGs just abhor Greediness! We are very sorry, Dear Reader, that your daughter has behaved like this, but we have an idea for a good Anniversary Present for her. Just Follow This Link.

Best wishes,
The Etiquette Grrls

martini

Dear Etiquette Grrls,

I am trying to grow out my bangs. What is the easiest way to? How should I wear my hair?

T.

Dear T.,

Growing Out Bangs is Quite a Drag, Dear Reader. You'll want to have Gin Close at Hand for the next Six Months or so. The EGs have struggled with this problem a few times Over the Years, and our best advice is to Make Friends with a Good Hairdresser. You see, you don't want to just let the Bangs grow without Trimming Them Occasionally--the ends will get all Splitty. After all, you want them to Grow Out and Be Healthy, not just Be Long, right? You also should Experiment with Hair Accessories (bearing in mind, of course, that One Must Exercise Moderation avec these things; one pretty little barrette to sweep the bangs off your face is Nice, but twenty little barrettes arranged in the shape of a Yin-Yang Symbol is Not). Have Patience, Dear Reader, and Good Luck!

Yours truly,
The Etiquette Grrls

martini

Dear Etiquette Grrls,

I know you are fond of Bombay Sapphire Gin--and who wouldn't be? As a fellow lover of gin, however, I'm wondering if you've tried Burberry's gin? If so, what do you think?

Yours,
Juniper Berry

Dear Juniper Berry,

Ooooh, the EGs are Not Familiar avec this Brand of Gin!! (Does it, perchance, come in a Plaid Bottle? Do Vendors sell Cheap Knockoffs of it from Kiosks? Just Wondering.) We Must Investigate! Sadly, however, as we write This Column, it is Sunday in Massachusetts, and, due to Vestigial Puritanism, All the Liquor Stores are Closed. (The EGs do not quite understand This Law. On normal Sundays, Liquor Stores are Closed, yet on Sundays around The Holidays, they are Open. Now, supposedly, This Law is in effect because Back In The Day, someone didn't want people getting Three Sheets to the Wind when Everyone Else was in Church for Six Hours getting Bopped On The Head with a Mallet when they Drifted Off during the Long, Boring Puritanical Sermons. Okay, fine, but then what, may we ask, is the point of letting the Liquor Stores break these rules around Christmas??? Does that strike Anyone Else as Un Peu Self-Contradictory and Bizarre, or are the EGs Alone in Our Confusion about This Matter?) Rest assured, Dear Reader, as soon as it is Possible (i.e., Monday), we will Seek Out This Gin and conduct a Thorough Taste-Test!

As ever,
The Etiquette Grrls

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Dear Etiquette Grrls,

I would love to learn more about Franglais. Any help would be appreciated.

Deeply Curious

Dear Deeply Curious,

Why, Dear Reader, it pleases the EGs To No End that you wish to learn more about Franglais! Franglais is the EGs' Very Favorite Foreign Language!! We have covered this subject Quite Extensively in Our Forthcoming Book (less than One Month till it Hits the Shelves!! Wheeee!), but a Good French-English Dictionary will also Prove Helpful (especially if one has gotten Un Peu Rusty since One's Years Au Lycée). However, Dear Reader, the EGs' Archives are probably your Best Source for Franglais In Action--we are sure you will Get the Hang of It after you read through them, and be able to Parler avec Anyone!

Au revoir,
The Etiquette Grrls

 

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