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The Etiquette Grrls' Q & A Archive: September 2002

Dear Etiquette Grrls,

I currently live in a three-bedroom home with two other females. Two of us will be traveling out of state for the Thanksgiving holiday. The third roommate has invited her family to visit and stay at our house. Is it improper for roommate number three to invite six of her family members to stay in our home and sleep in our beds while we out of town?

Becky

P.S. The house only has one full bath!

Dear Becky,

Good heavens, that's Quite Presumptuous of Your Roommate! Hell, no, we do NOT think that is okay, particularly if Your Roommate did not even ask Your Permission before offering someone Your Bed! The best option would be for her guests to stay in a local hotel or motel. Six houseguests is Quite a Lot, particularly if there is only one Full Bath in the house... even if you had given her Express Permission, those are more people than some B&Bs can Comfortably Handle. If the guests absolutely must stay at your house, you are totally and completely within Your Rights to insist they stay out of Your Bedroom. Your entire bedroom, not just Your Bed! We wouldn't want someone's Nosy Kid Sister poking around in Our Jewelry Box, thank you very much. If Your Roommate wants to let a couple of them take Her Bedroom, that's fine, but as for the rest, they should be sleeping on the Living Room Couches. Or, failing that, the Living Room Floor. Tell Your Rude Roommate that it's too bad, but she should have checked with you first before telling her guests they could sleep in Your Bed, because it is Not Okay With You. (It probably wouldn't be a Bad Idea to get a Wee Lock for Your Bedroom Door.)

The Nerve of Some People! When's Your Lease up, Dear Reader? We'd suggest you find Une Autre Roommate ASAP.

Sincerely yours,
The Etiquette Grrls

martini

Dear Etiquette Grrls,

The spring racing season is nigh (in the southern hemisphere) and my thoughts have turned to hats to go with my racing outfit. While your Q&A column has discussed general hat etiquette, I recently came across this thing called "the red hat rule" stating that women under the age of 50 shouldn't wear red hats. While I have no intention of wearing a red hat, I'm just wondering whether such rules actually exist, and being 25, should I follow any colour or style hat etiquette?

Thank you and best regards,
Mary

Dear Mary,

The only Red Hat the EGs would go Anywhere Near, at Any Time, is Red Hat Linux, which we think is Rather Keen. (Yes, the EGs have Quite the Techie Geek Streak.) All other Red Hats sound Just Plain Dreadful, and we wouldn't be Caught Dead In Them.

Best wishes,
The Etiquette Grrls

martini

Dear Etiquette Grrls,

Your website is excellent, as it provides Witty and Useful Etiquette. I am pleased to see such fine people attempting to help people and better our manners. This is one of the best sites!

My Father is from Central America, from a Certain Spanish Country. Therefore, my Last Name is different. It sounds perfectly fine in Spanish, but in English sounds like two Very Unattractive Words.

My question is, what can I do about people who make jokes about it, ask me dozens of questions about my ethnicity and background, or say, "Hey, your name sounds like ____ __" as if I am Too Stupid to have Realized that already? Some of my Friends tell me to Lighten Up, It Is Just A Joke, but I'm Sick and Tired of having to say things like, "Yes, I know," and "Thank you for telling me." Usually they don't notice the Icy Glare™. Should I just keep my feelings to myself or do I have a right to feel Quite Miffed?

No Last Name

Dear No Last Name,

Oh, Dear Reader, isn't it sad that you can't stop People In General (P.I.G.) from Saying Idiotic Things? It makes one just want to Smack Strangers Upside the Head! (Which would, of course, be Terribly Rude... but one does WANT to Smack Them.) The Icy Glare™ (tee hee! We LOVE the ™!), when done correctly, should make Rude People want to Curl Up and Die like the Nasty Slugs they are. Try practicing in a mirror, or ask a Nun, Teacher, or Librarian for Pointers. We think your replies are Splendid; we'd add two more: "Gee, that has Never, Ever Occurred to me!" and "Well, that's nice, but as I just said, it's pronounced _______." In answer to your last question-- you have Every Right to be Quite Miffed! The EGs are Quite Miffed on Your Behalf!

Thank you for complimenting us on Our Site!

Yours truly,
The Etiquette Grrls

martini

Dear Etiquette Grrls,

I am not going to be able to attend an upcoming wedding but would like to send a check to the couple. Do I include a check and a personal note inside the negative RSVP or do I send a card with the check later, closer to the wedding date?

Pat

Dear Pat,

No, no, no, do not stick a check in your R.S.V.P. note! The R.S.V.P. goes to the host(s) of the Event-- in most cases, this is not the Happy Couple. Just imagine-- the Bride's Mom is probably opening dozens of R.S.V.P. replies every single day... your check is probably going to get Lost in the Shuffle. And furthermore, even if you were R.S.V.P.ing to the Bride and Groom instead of the Bride's Parents, Your Gift to them must be sent Separately, whether it's a check or a Silver Tea Set.

Very truly yours,
The Etiquette Grrls

martini

Dear Ladies of Exquisite Etiquette,

One of my superiors at work frequently brings clients to our office, and while he introduces the client to his fellow colleagues I, as his subordinate, am often left sitting there, with no introduction. He even shows them our copy room, which is near my desk. This feels awfully rude to me. What to do???

Slighted

Dear Slighted,

How Maddeningly Rude! Not to mention Bizarre-- why on earth is he showing clients the Copy Room? Does he expect them to Be Impressed by a Couple of Xerox Machines? Does he show clients the Server Closet and the Messy Office Kitchen, too? He sounds Perfectly Dreadful, Dear Reader. The next time he's bringing someone around, we'd say something like, "Good morning, Gregory [nod to him]; good morning [nod to client]." He should, at that point, introduce you. If he still doesn't get it... well, Dear Reader, there's always Monster.com.

Yours truly,
The Etiquette Grrls

martini

Dear Etiquette Grrls,

During a recent dinner out, I ordered a dish that I thought would be meatless, but when it arrived I found it did have some meat in it. I am a strict vegetarian so this was a bit upsetting, but fortunately the dish was prepared in such a way that I could eat around the meat, so I just ate what I could and didn't let the waiter know that anything was wrong. However, I did tip 15% instead of the usual 20.

When I got home I did some research and found the mix-up was due to my not understanding one of the ingredients in the dish I ordered, but I did not know this when I was in the restaurant.

I know that one should let the waiter know if something is wrong instead of quietly reducing the tip, but in this case I wasn't sure if it was my own mistake or a mix-up by the waiter or the kitchen, and I wasn't quite sure what, if anything, I could have said to the waiter. Any advice on what I should have done?

A Confused Vegetarian

Dear Confused Vegetarian,

What you should have done is Quite Simple: Always ask about the preparation of a dish before you order it if there might be something in it you can't eat. The Poor Waiter is not Omniscient, and can hardly be expected to ask you, "Are you SURE you want that? There's a Touch of Chicken Stock in it, and I just have this FEELING you're a Strict Vegetarian and would be happier with the Pasta Primavera." If anyone were that Omniscient, Dear Reader, he'd probably be working as A Psychic, not a Waiter. Please, then, don't be So Quick to Dock the Waiter's Tip. If you're certain it's His Fault-- for example, if you ask, he assures you a dish is Vegetarian, and it turns out to contain meat-- then you could leave a smaller tip, or even have a word avec the Management. But in this case, unless you asked, the fault is yours.

With best wishes,
The Etiquette Grrls

Dear Readers,

The EGs have had Distressing Computer Troubles all weekend! Therefore, we present a few Short and Sweet Responses. Hope you enjoy... and if anyone can communicate telepathically avec the Etiquette Laptop, tell it that It Is, In Fact, Plugged In, and it is Quite Rude of it to shut down, claiming it is Out of Battery Power. Grrrr.

Sincerely yours,
The Etiquette Grrls

martini

Dear Etiquette Grrls,

I saw a woman on the subway yesterday wearing a White Linen Suit (very tight) and Powder Pink Pumps. It's almost October... do people have No Sense?

Jennifer

Dear Jennifer,

No, People Don't. And even if it weren't Almost October, wearing White Linen on the Subway is just Asking for Trouble. Sigh.

Cheers,
The Etiquette Grrls

martini

Dear Etiquette Grrls,

I must know...are you people for real?

Just Wondering

Dear Just Wondering,

Gee. No, it's all a Big Joke that we've been Perpetrating for a Few Years Now, because the EGs have An Excess of Free Time. Especially the Book-- hee hee! That was Some Joke, getting Amazon in on it and everything!

Um, YES, we are For Real.

Toodles,
The Etiquette Grrls

martini

Dear Etiquette Grrls,

My query is not so much concerning Etiquette but Taste. I am thirty years old and adore Chanel No.5. I have worn it since I was Perhaps A Bit Young For It - my father used to buy me a bottle in Duty Free every time he travelled abroad on business, and to this day whenever I go through Duty Free I get a small warm glow inside and go and buy him something nice, if I can find anything amongst the odd things that pass for Duty Free in some airports.

Anyway, a Very Stylish American Friend of mine who is in her forties recently knocked me for six when she pensively remarked that Chanel No. 5 always reminded her of her grandmother.

Since I regard you as the gurus of all things Stylish and American, could you give me your thoughts on the matter? Am I projecting 'I am very, very well-preserved for seventy' every time I cross The Pond?

Thank you!
Alix

Dear Alix,

True Style is Ageless and Timeless! Even if Your Perfume reminds someone of Her Grandmother, well, is that not a compliment to both Her Grandmother and You that you've both chosen a Classic Scent that has Endured over the years? Heck, Chanel No. 5 reminds us of the Etiquette Grandmothers, too, but that wouldn't stop us from wearing it-- we wear Our Grandmothers' Jewelry with pride, so why not their Perfume? Chanel No. 5 might be a Bit Much on, say, a Teeny-Bopper, but on a Stylish Adult Woman, it's Lovely.

Yours truly,
The Etiquette Grrls

martini

Dear Etiquette Grrls,

What is the proper way to address a female physician and her husband in a business letter?

Ecrivaine

Dear Ecrivaine,

In Writing, of course.

Love,
The Etiquette Grrls

martini

Dearest EGs,

Many thanks for the witty and entertaining site! I just adore you grrls.

My beloved and adorable husband is going through something of a style crisis. He recently brought home a number of "sateen" cotton-poly "dress shirts" in greens, greys, and blacks. I am somewhat horrified. He was very pleased with them and showed them to me very excitedly. Now, I usually go shopping with him, as I have learned long ago that this is the only way to keep him from committing a faux-pas like the one above. He somehow got around me this time. Sigh. What can I do to keep him from making a spectacle of himself? He's so happy with his new wardrobe and I don't want to hurt his poor tender little feelings. But I can't let him go around looking like that.

Thank you for your advice,
F.S.

Dear F.S.,

1) Big bottle of Bleach, uncapped, placed precariously over laundry basket containing These Items.

2) "OOPS!"

Or, Be Brave and just tell him, directly, that you think they're A Bit Trendy for him. Then Take Him Shopping at Brooks Brothers.

Thank you for saying such kind things about our site! And do forgive Our Brevity this week.

Very truly yours,
The Etiquette Grrls


A Tribute to September 11, 2001

Dear Readers,

The Etiquette Grrls cannot believe almost one year has passed since September 11, 2001. The remembrance services have already begun, and will continue all week, and we, too, feel that it would be appropriate for us, in our own Small Way, to Pay Tribute to the Victims and the Heroes of One Year Ago. All those who were lost; all friends and family of victims; all the brave men and women of the Emergency Response Forces and the Military; and all who witnessed the horrors of that day are, and will continue to be, in our thoughts and prayers.

Yet this is an Etiquette Column, and the EGs think it is also fitting for us to keep Our Tribute in context. On this page, we do our best to answer questions about Proper Behavior-- what is Rude, what is Not, what is Acceptable, what is Frowned Upon, etc., etc. We sometimes Go On at Length, in Great Detail, but underlying it all are a few Very Simple Principles. Etiquette is based on Kindness, Respect for Others (and for One's Self), Common Sense, and an Appreciation of Tradition-- and all of these values were exhibited in the aftermath of the Terrorist Attacks. While we are honoring the Victims and the Heroes of One Year Ago, we think it is also important to recollect the splendid ways people everywhere rose to the occasion, treating strangers with Kindness and Respect and Generosity; flying Our Flag with Pride; immediately doing, and giving, whatever they could simply because they wanted to help. Of course, we saw all this in response to an Extraordinary Day-- may nothing else that comes to pass ever come close to its horror. In our opinion, however, the best way to honor 9/11/01 would be to show, even on Ordinary Days, the same Compassion and Consideration that we learned, on 9/11/01, we were each Capable Of.

Sincerely yours,
The Etiquette Grrls

 

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