Manners Monday: Photographic Stress in The Family Shrine

Cherished readers, recently a dear friend came to The Lady for advice on a sticky subject of family photographs. She is an older lady with three children and several grandchildren. Her problem was that two of her children have children with their former spouses, but are now re-married. The bone of contention is this: Her new daughters-in-law both resent the fact that she has family photographs on the wall that still clearly display the old spouse. The Lady’s friend insists that it is her house and that the former spouses will always be the mothers of her grandchildren, so why shouldn’t she display their pictures?

The Lady offered this advice:

Yes, while it is true that one can display any and all pictures that one wishes in their home, The Lady feels that others’ feelings must be considered. The display of pictures of ex-in-laws can certainly send the message that the new spouse is not welcome or taken very seriously by the family and The Lady assumes that her friend is intelligent enough to know that this can cause strife in a marriage. (Do you really want to add another stress to your adult child’s life? It’s hard enough as it is without this petty problem) This advice applies to everyone: Regardless of how you feel about your child’s ex, when they have moved on to a serious relationship, support them and this includes taking down old pictures of the ex. It will go a long way to creating harmony in the family.

Best Framed Wishes,

The Lady Hooper-Brackett

Manners Monday: TV Show Spoilers

Cherished readers, The Lady admits that she loves to watch Game Of Thrones, like most of the world that is able to get HBO. After last night’s show, she noticed that many people were creating status updates with ‘spoilers’ that would ruin the watching experience of those who had not partaken of the show yet. The question is this: Is it rude and unmannerly to post such things? The Lady has read angry posts and threats on social media toward those who are revealing all. Goodness….this is a modern etiquette problem.

The Lady advises thusly:

If you are creating your own status update/tweet/blog etc….it is courteous to preface the entry by informing others that you will be revealing things that may interfere with their enjoyment of the show if they have not watched yet. If you post such a thing and someone reads further, they have no right to be angry with you. You were honest from the start!

If, on the other hand, you go to someone else’s post and deliberately post a spoiler, you’ve basically asked for them to be angry with you and you cannot be confused or upset that they are. The Lady suspects that these people who post take a bit of aggressive glee in ruining things for others. This is extremely rude! Keep it to yourself or risk feeling more wrath than Cersei Lannister inflicted on the Sept of Baelor!

Best No-Spoiler Wishes,

The Lady Hooper-Brackett

 

Manners Monday: Etiquette on Wheels

Cherished readers, there are days that The Lady longs for the easier days of horse and buggy travel. At least everyone seemed to be going at the same pace. Today when The Hooper-Bracketts venture out, it is an adventure, to say the least. Let us examine good and proper etiquette when driving our mechanical chariots.

Speeding is unmannerly. Speed limits exist for a reason and if you are one of those that enjoys running up to the bumper of the car in front of you and then swerving around, The Lady turns up her nose at your buffoonery.

Driving too slowly is unmannerly, most especially if one is driving slowly in the fast lane. The Lady says move to the slow lane.

Distracted driving….a la texting or using your handheld phone. Stop it, now! There is NOTHING that is more important than arriving safely…no call, text, Facebook post.

The Lady includes both drivers who will not allow others to merge and those that see the merge signs five miles back and merge at the last minute in the boat of rudeness. Be courteous!

The habit of not using the turn signal (blinker where The Hooper-Bracketts are from) is dangerous and rude.

Blowing one’s horn for no reason other than to hear it blare is the height of rudeness. One should only trumpet to avert danger.

Driving with the high beams on (horrors!) will earn you a stern look from The Lady if she sees you out and about.

Remember: drive courteously!

Best Driving Wishes,

The Lady Hooper-Brackett

Manners Monday: Saying No

Cherished readers, do you find it easy to say no when you are asked to do something you do not wish to do? For instance, how would you respond to these questions:

  1. We’d like to invite you to dinner next week. My mother-in-law is having issues with her gout and would like to discuss her toes with your husband. We know he is a wonderful doctor. Can you make it next Tuesday at 7?
  2. Jack and I will be in town at the end of the month and we were wondering if we could stay with you for four days?
  3. Can you volunteer for _______this weekend?
  4. Can I borrow a thousand dollars?

None of these scenarios is particularly attractive and unless you are a saint, not anything you would like to do. (The Lady acknowledges that sometimes your answer will depend on who is doing the asking.)

One of the skills that The Lady thinks is essential for all to know is the art of saying ‘No’ politely, yet firmly. The best way is to say “No, thank you” or even “I’m so sorry, I/we can’t.” The key is to make this statement and then be silent. Say nothing more. The Lady has found that this usually works, but occasionally some pushy person will keep on and ask “Why not?” The answer to this question is “I’m afraid it’s not possible.” And then be silent once more. One does not need to make up an implausible story to justify or explain why you are saying no.

It takes practice. For The Lady it took years of practice and anxious and resentful feelings after saying ‘Yes’ when I meant ‘No’. There is great freedom in this skill!

Best No-No Wishes,

The Lady Hooper-Brackett

 

Manners Monday: Personal Questions

Cherished readers, The Lady had an interesting discussion with a friend on the subject of personal questions. She was amazed that her daughter-in-law actually answered when someone asked her age. I could sympathize with her surprise, but I also acknowledge that the younger generations are generally much more open about things than we ancients are. (The Lady is not really ancient…but she likes to pretend to be of a different era.)

Even with these more open, free social customs, The Lady believes that the following examples fall into the category of personal questions:

-How much money do you make/have/plan to inherit?

-How much did this cost? How can you afford this?

-When are you going to have children/stop having more children/discipline the children you have?

-What exactly is wrong with your health?

-Why are you getting divorced?

-How much do you weigh? (Ha…you knew that one was going to make the list!)

-Did you have some work done? (Referring to plastic surgery, not work on the house or car)

-Is it real? (Whatever it is…a gemstone, bosom, derriere, hair, etc…)

In all things, cherished readers, discretion is your friend. No probing questions.

Best Manners Wishes,

The Lady Hooper-Brackett