Sunday Ask The Lady

Cherished readers, I am back with a new Ask The Lady.

Dear Lady Hooper-Brackett,

My lady, I have two questions.

  1. Is it appropriate for me to attend the wake of a neighbor that I only knew in passing? I would wave at this man and his wife every day when I would come and go from work, but I never said more than hello. I’m not sure if it would be uncomfortable to see his wife and I worry about saying the wrong thing.
  2. Are you all right? Where have you been? I missed your wit.

Courteous Neighbor

Dear Courteous Neighbor,

The Lady thanks you for your questions. and will start by answering your last one first.

The Lady has been busy on a consulting job and the time available in the day has been scarce.

Now to question two: Of course The Lady believes that you should attend the wake. It is the neighborly thing to do. While you did not say if these people were older folks, The Lady makes the assumption that they are. Think of how your neighbor’s widow must feel right now after losing her husband. Your presence and support, I am sure, will be a comfort to her. And if The Lady may offer further advice…there is nothing wrong with checking in on her in the future to see how she is doing.

Best Neighborly Wishes,

The Lady Hooper-Brackett

Sunday Ask the Lady: Dealing With Overly Friendly Pets

Cherished readers, The Hooper-Bracketts are definitely dog people. The Lady loves her little mixed-breed rescue dog (sometimes more than she likes people!) Today’s question comes from someone who doesn’t particularly like pets.

Dear Lady Hooper-Brackett, 

Full disclosure: I think most pets are smelly creatures and can’t stand when I am visiting a friends house and I am bombarded with attention from their pets. How can I politely let my friend or the host know that I do not like to be around their pets? 

Not Pet Friendly

Dear Not Pet Friendly,

The Lady can assure you that not all pets are smelly creatures. With that being said, The Lady believes that the most polite way to explain why a pet cannot be around you is to simply say, “I’m so sorry, but I am allergic to your dog/cat/ferret/octopus/beetle.” A good host should immediately remove their animal companion so as not to cause the guest undue discomfort. The Lady is also sure that the pet will also be thankful to be removed from your presence since you object to them so strongly.

Best Pet 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

 

Food Friday: Decorum at The Table

Cherished readers, in the past week The Lady has gotten two questions  about dining away from home. Rather than answering them separately, this week’s Food Friday segment answers those questions about how to comport yourself, be it in a restaurant or at a friend’s home.

  1. Should you be a smoker, do not smoke at the table. The Lady is not sure any restaurant allows smoking anymore, so she will say that it is important to remember not to do this when in a friend’s or family’s home.
  2. Should you be in a buffet restaurant or at a party where there is a buffet line, do not fill your plate to epic proportions the first time around. You can always go back for more. (The Lady once saw a patron at a salad bar fill up their plate in an attempt to resemble Mount Everest!)
  3. Your dinner napkin is never tucked into the neck of your shirt. The Lady goes so far as to say that those plastic bibs they give you at New England restaurants when you order lobster are also a no-no.
  4. No fixing makeup at the table, or heaven forbid…combing the hair!
  5. Using at a toothpick at the table is frowned upon.
  6. Do not pick up a dropped utensil or anything else that may have fallen to the floor. Ask your hostess or waiter for a new one. Think how picking up the dirty implement will sully the table with all of the germs from the floor.

Best Dining Wishes,

The Lady Hooper-Brackett

Thursday Ask The Lady: Multi-Level Annoyance

Cherished readers, The Lady cannot be certain how widespread this issue really is, as the correspondent states she is from Texas, but The Lady  feels this might be something that some readers deal with regardless of locale.

Dear Lady Hooper-Brackett, 

How do I politely say no to a woman who is involved in a multi-level marketing company who continually pesters me to try the latest and greatest product? I have never shown enthusiasm for the products at all, but at every turn she brings up the company, the marketing plan, and actually makes me feel as though there is something wrong with me for not wanting to join. The fact is, she and the other people who sell these products are pushy as hell and I have no desire to be in  their company. I am a proper Southern Belle Texas lady, but there are times I want to be rude and tell her to back off. 

Had Enough In Houston

Dear Had Enough in Houston,

The Lady is sorry that you are being seemingly targeted by this enthusiastic person who obviously is passionate about what they do. Their passion, however, should not infringe on your peace and quiet. The Lady sees nothing wrong with telling her flatly that while you appreciate her wishing to “spread the word” about products she obviously loves, you do not wish to try them, so please do not ask. Be firm. If she continues on her quest to get you to buy or sign, she is the rude one, and you have every right to remind her that you’ve spoken to her already about your feelings on this company. No is NO.

Socialization should not be a sales pitch. In The Lady’s opinion, truly effective sales efforts attract and do not attack.

Best Non-Salesy Wishes,

The Lady Hooper-Brackett

 

Wedding Wednesday: Manners for Guests

Cherished readers, The Lady loves a good nuptial celebration…and realizes that some people may need to take a refresher on what is considered good etiquette for wedding guests (or prospective guests) Let us take a look a few general guidelines:

  1. Answer all invitations promptly. A general rule is to respond within a week of receiving the invitation.
  2. Although The Lady sees formal invitations sent less and less, should you receive one that is written in the third person, it must be answered in the same way. If a reply card is enclosed (which to The Lady means that it is semi-formal) you indicate your acceptance or regret on the card.
  3. It is bad taste to ask to be invited to a wedding even if you feel you have a close relationship with the bride or groom.
  4. If, after accepting an invitation, it becomes necessary to cancel, call the bride or groom and explain why as soon as possible.
  5. Asking to bring a friend to the wedding is bad form.
  6. Do not ask to bring your children if they haven’t been invited. Even if they are invited, consider their maturity levels before accepting for them. One of the worst things to deal with at a wedding is the bored or hyperactive child who runs around hell-bent on annoying people.
  7. It is rude to skip the ceremony and only attend the reception.
  8. You are not obligated to send a present if you simply receive a wedding announcement. However, if you are given an invitation to the wedding, customarily you are expected to send a gift (even if you do not attend.
  9. Remember that the day belongs to the happy couple. It is especially important not to do anything that will take attention off of them. (No inebriated toasts!)

Best Guest Wishes,

The Lady Hooper-Brackett

Tuesday Tea Time Thoughts: The Surprise Party

Cherished readers, today in the semi-drear of the New England weather (it was 72 degrees and overcast…unusually cool for August!) The Lady and her friends gathered for their weekly tea. The topic today was how mannerly it is to plan a surprise party for someone that has stated they do not want one.

The Lady’s short answer: It isn’t. At all.

If the person of honor has made it very clear that they do no wish to be surprised. So you do not surprise them. EVER. Not for the fun of it or to make everyone happy or because it would be a great thing to see their shocked face. The celebration is not for you. And you will risk seriously making your loved-one upset if you go ahead and plan such a function against their wishes.

The only time that a surprise party is warranted is when you know with absolute certainty that they enjoy surprises or have expressed the desire to one day have a surprise party. The Lady would like to state for the record that in no circumstance would she want a surprise party and would probably lose all sense of decorum if she walked into one thrown in her honor.

Take into consideration these points:

The surprisee may not be properly dressed for a party

The surprisee may not have had their makeup, nails, or hair done and these things may be of the utmost importance to them (The Lady attended a surprise party of a friend who entered her home after digging in her flower beds and covered in dirt…her husband was banished to the couch for a month after this incident)

The surprisee might be feeling unwell

The surprisee might just want to avoid people because they are a curmudgeon

Best Surprise Wishes,

The Lady Hooper-Brackett