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Modern Manners + Etiquette: Snow Shoveling Etiquette + More

Wednesday, February 13, 2013


He's here to shovel your neighbor's walk, but he's making hell for you and everyone else. How to deal with this snow-quandry?

Choosing Valentine's Day to come out to your spouse is not good Etiquette, Snow Shoveling Etiquette for Do-Gooders and Bad-Dooers, Mom please don't call them Hose, and How to Find A Mate, were all questions digging for answers at Didi Lorillard's Modern Manners during the blizzard this Valentine's Week.

Snow Shoveling Etiquette

Dear Didi,

What is good Snow Shoveling Etiquette? We live in a condensed neighborhood in a town where residents are required to keep their sidewalks cleared. My neighbor hires a guy to shovel her sidewalk. The problem is twofold, the guy shovels the snow onto the snow-covered parked cars on the street. Meaning the owners of the cars now have more snow to shovel in order to get free. Isn't that inconsiderate? Also what do you do when the guy leaves a big pile of snow in front of your back gate, which now won't melt for weeks and we can't get our garbage out for pick up? Should I have said something to the guy shoveling or to the neighbor? Lastly, if someone pitches in to help dig out your car, do you pay them? A.B., Newport

Dear A.B.,

When the do-gooder is someone you know from the neighborhood, assume over the course of your relationship you'll be helping them at some point in time. It all evens out. On the other hand if the person is someone you don't know, then ask how much he wants to help shovel out your car.

The guy shoveling for your neighbor may not listen to you. He knows he should be disposing of the snow in a more appropriate manner (out into the street), but he's tired, his bones are aching, he's cold, wet and he just wants to get paid and go home. Can you blame him? No. Talk to your neighbor, tell her the shoveler can't block your gate and it's inconsiderate of him to make more work for her neighbors who have to get to work. ~Didi

Coming Out for Valentine's Day

Dear Didi,

I'm gay and my family doesn't know it. Valentine's Day seems the perfect time to fess up. I love my spouse, but I need to come out and be myself. My spouse is planing our Valentine's Night and I'm not feeling it. Help! Name Withheld

Dear Gay Spouse,

Obviously, we are all rooting for you to be yourself, but you have to understand that this is going to be a process for everyone involved. You can't just casually announce on Valentine's Day why you can't stay married to your spouse. Your spouse must have a clue. But if you ruin her Valentine's Day and your family's as well, you'll ruin the day for them forever. ~Didi

Don't Call Them Hose

Dear Didi,

My daughter is attending a wedding February 23rd, at 4:00 in Spokane. She plans to wear a navy blue silk dupioni strapless dress ... I bought nude patent leather shoes and she doesn't plan on wearing hose ... she's 17. Will this work? N.D., Spokane, WA

Dear N.D.,

Well, if you call them 'hose,' of course she won't wear them. In her mind only old ladies wear 'hose.' Call them tights, call them legwear, but don't call them 'hose.'

Spokane is cold in February. It will be approximately 28 degrees at four o'clock. Your daughter will need attractive legwear to keep warm. Find legwear a shade lighter than her skin tone that has a bit of shimmer and shine to dress up her legs. She'll feel more glamorous if she's wearing dressy legwear. Look in a department store, as opposed to a drugstore, for 'evening legwear.' ~Didi

How To Find A Mate

Dear Didi,

I am self-confident, not loud. Smile a lot, enjoy when talking with people and pleasant in my general manner. I say hello nicely and my posture is positive.

I have never had a guy give me his number to contact him. They are pleasant back to me, they stare and smile but keep walking and I have even seen some guys stare back after me but I have never ever been offered a guy's phone number.

I have chosen in the past to approach guys myself. Met my late husband of 25 years this way, but now I'm a widow. When I approached two guys I was told they are both not looking for anything serious, just sex.

Those comments have put me off approaching guys. In 99% of other situations I can handle rejection and use it as a leverage to be persistent. But with a longterm relationship, I am not willing to go through approaching 20 to 30 guys to be rejected like this.

I have thought of being alone for the rest of my life and do not like that choice. I want to grow old with a longterm partner. Any ideas for me to use a different/successful approach? R.E., Melbourne, Australia

Dear R.E.,

When searching for a mate communication is key. Think positive emotional arousal. Keep yourself out there smiling—and appreciate somebody else.

Surveys show that most mates meet through friends. A friend of a friend type of thing. By focusing on sustaining your friendships with women friends, you will find them sympathetic to setting you up with available men—widowers and divorcés. Also, dating Web sites such as cupid.com have proven to be successful at introducing singles with common goals.

Participating in any sport, golf, sailing, croquet, tennis, frisbee, or going to a gym or yoga studio are all good ways to meet people. Many golf and tennis clubs encourage social gatherings at the clubhouse and plan trips to other clubs. Volunteering is another good way to meet new people. My point is this. Focus on actively broadening your circle of friends and acquaintances. Whether it is in line at the bakery or waiting to board a plane, gently chat people up. "Have you ever tried their ten grain bread?" "Do you know if it's raining in Perth?"

A decent man wouldn't give you his number to contact him. So don't expect him to volunteer it. In our society, romantically it is still the man who asks for the contact information. When he doesn't ask you for your number, he's either unavailable or not interested.

Another way to meet men is to go with a friend—or by yourself—to a popular restaurant and have dinner sitting at the bar. Casually ask around for suggestions as to what to order. "Is this the best hamburger in town?" Be friendly to the bartender and he/she may introduce you to single regulars. Go early and leave early. In other words, you don't want to look as though you're lonely for love. If you leave before nine, people may assume you're meeting someone—especially if you've been checking your cellphone.

The big observation from your question is the number of times you use the personal pronouns I (13 times), me (5 times) , and my/self (5 times). Think about it. Perhaps you simply need to take the focus off yourself during a conversation. ~Didi


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