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Modern Manners + Etiquette: Getting Respect in Restaurants + More

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

 

Back-to-school manners kids need to know were a concern at Didi Lorillard's NewportManners.com this week, along with etiquette questions about how to command respect at a good restaurant, whether or not to attend a former best friend's funeral, and what to wear to a beachy destination September wedding.

Dear Didi,
Do you have tips on how to get good service at a good restaurant. I'm 28, but like to eat in the best restaurants. When I take a date I'm embarrassed I'm not treated better. J.C., Providence

Dear J.C.,
Experiment by having meals sitting at the bars of various restaurants. Befriending the bartender will ingratiate you with the rest of the staff. Tell him that you've heard good things about the food and service. Tip well. Then when you come in with a date looking for a table, ask the bartender to help you get a good one right away. Also, know that since you've treated the bartender well, he's logged pertinent information about you into the restaurant's computer, noting, for instance, that you start off with Makers Mark and you're PX, a person extraordinaire (acronym for V.I.P.), as well as NR - for never refuse him. If you have a food allergy that will be noted or if you like your steak very rare. When a reservation is made through Rezbook or OpenTable (after 12 times, you are OpenTableV.I.P.), you will not only have preferential service, but can make special requests, such as, "It's her 25th birthday and she loves lobster." ~Didi

Dear Didi,
Our family needs some quick back-to-school manners training. We've been so busy with the back-to-school "stuff" that I'm not sure we've prepared our kids to say the right things. Any tips for helping them adjust and making friends? M.M., Boise, Idaho

Dear M.M.,
Start at home by saying their name along with hi, hello, good morning, goodbye, and good night: they'll get the drill. The drill is simple. Every person acknowledges every other person the first time they lay eyes on them, say, in the morning. Then say your good-byes when the person leaves, and good nights when going to bed. Again, when picking up a child from school or the bus stop, greet him or her and wait for them to greet you back (if they haven't already). At first they may need prompting, such as, "Hello, again, Charlotte." The word "again" will remind them you are waiting for a return hello.

Their good greeting habit will spill over into the the schoolyard, corridors, classrooms, lunchroom, and school bus. They'll start saying hi to their teachers and classmates naturally. After they've learned the person's name, they'll say, "Hi Max," or, "Hi Mrs. Grayson." When with family you add a hello hug or kiss or good-bye hug or kiss, depending on the family's feelings about expressing affection. A hello embrace or kiss is usually welcome. It's the thing kids don't turn down. Hug more. It's good etiquette and keeps us connecting. ~Didi

Hello Didi,
At the end of September, I am going with the guy I am dating to a cousin's wedding in Bodega Bay, California. The wedding is in the afternoon with the reception to follow. I have never been to a beachy destination wedding in the fall and am wondering what type/color dress to wear. I am 27, 5'6, and about 125 pounds. Do you have any suggestions? Tinsley, New York City

Dear Tinsley,
When the wedding invitation doesn't specify Black Tie or Formal Attire, you can assume the dress code is Suits & Dresses. An afternoon wedding isn't formal, especially in CA, so you can have fun with a flowie, long dress in a flimsy inexpensive fabric by belting it with a wide braided leather or otherwise decorated belt; add strappy sandals and carry a small clutch bag or wear a delicate embroidered fabric bag hanging off your shoulder. Hoop earrings or anything dangling would be a fun added touch. As it may turn chilly when the sun goes down, take a tailored, soft leather or quilted jacket for warmth on the plane as well as on the beach.

Color is so personal because it's reflected in your eyes. Not white, because the only woman wearing white is the bride. Trendy fall colors for 2012 that I like for you at a beachy September wedding are: Pink Flambe (a gentler fuchsia), Olympian Blue (deeper French blue), Ultramarine Green (blue-green), Rose Smoke (a lovely light pink-grey) and a fun eco-green called Bright Chartreuse. ~Didi

Dear Didi,

My ex's (and my) friend just passed away. My ex-husband is remarried. I've not been in touch with "our" friend for 10 years, but when my ex and I were married, the deceased was our best friend. Should I attend the funeral home for visitation, the funeral, send a card to his wife, send flowers, or do nothing? F.C., Duxbury, MA

Dear F.C.,
The key here is the phrase "best friend." Your attending the visitation or the funeral has nothing to do with your relationship with your former husband. If the deceased was your best friend at one time, you may want at least to go to the funeral. Since you aren't close to the deceased's family at this time, you don't have to go to the visitation, which is more personal. You can also send a condolence card to the deceased's wife, and possibly his parents or siblings, if you knew any of them. It is never easy to lose an old friend, especially when you were once quite close. ~Didi

Didi Lorillard researches shifting etiquette at NewportManners.com by answering questions on relationship dilemmas, wedding etiquette, dress codes and manners. Read some of her earlier GoLocal columns listed below.

 

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