Newport Manners & Etiquette: Kiss Me, Kiss Me Not
Wednesday, December 25, 2013
Taking control of the kiss
People use the holidays as an excuse for kissing everyone and anyone who'll let them. How do I fend off germy kisses without being rude? I don't want to be sick for New Years again. Andrea, Providence
At first sighting of an approaching pucker, extend your hand for a serious shake and say, "I wouldn't want you to get what I'm getting over." If that doesn't whet their whistle without damaging their spirits, fend them off further by extending both out-stretched hands and grab both shoulders to keep them from coming any closer saying, "Now, now, hold that kiss for the New Year. ~Didi
Handling elderly abuse
My aunt is 97 and strong, able and alert. She was my blood uncle's wife. She's not my blood relation, but my uncle asked me to watch over her because he had always supported her relatives. I wasn't sure what he meant at the time, but it became evident after his death. As my aunt and uncle had no children, her blood nieces and nephews take on the responsibility of helping her maintain her wish to stay in her own home. Despite the far drive and back, I try to visit every month, but I don't have any say in anything. Over the past decade things have clearly gone missing from her house. Antique lamps and tables substituted with far lesser quality items. Decorative pieces of silver, china, and art have also disappeared. Petty theft that obviously neither of us could do anything about.
Just before Christmas, as is our tradition, my Aunt and I had our own little celebration and she bemoaned the fact that her huge brand new TV had been replaced by one of far lesser quality that has very poor reception and dull color. My aunt is half blind and that huge TV was her best friend. How do I get her TV back without causing a brouhaha? The sad thing is that she doesn't understand why anyone would have taken a TV that she had just bought and leave her with a secondhand one that doesn't function. T.B., Concord, NH
Short of buying your aunt a new TV, it sounds as though you don't have any authority. However, you could offer a reward for the return of the TV. Spread the word to her nephews and nieces that you don't want to know who took their aunt's new TV, you just want it brought back or replaced before your next visit. If the TV is returned, you will leave an envelope with cash in a designated safe spot and they can claim their reward the next time they visit her. No questions asked. ~ Didi
Significant Other ring etiquette
My "significant other" and I live together but have no plans to marry. She would like a ring as a token of my commitment to her. What kind of ring would you suggest? I thought perhaps a signet ring with my family crest might be suitable. Thanks! L.C., Boston, MA
What woman wouldn't want a fine piece of jewelry?
However, signet rings are worn by the blood family member. As you say, you have no plans to marry; technically she's not a family member by blood. Why not give her a ring in her birthstone or a "forever" ring. Another thought is the Cartier "Trinity Ring" of three bands interwoven, which can be found in a range of prices depending on the metal and stones. Another Cartier classic is the "Love" ring, also three bands, but they're not interwoven. The LOVE ring band has the symbol of the O with a hyphen running through the middle. Apparently Cartier's LOVE collection is a symbol of commitment that "seals the circle of eternal love" because it is studded with their trademark screws. You also might look at antique rings or "seal rings."
My guess is that your partner is looking for a ring that has the appearance of a wedding band to wear on her left ring finger. Find out which finger she wants to wear the ring on. Traditionally, a ring on the finger next to the pinky on the left hand signifies commitment. The ring finger next to the pinky on the right hand is best for a "Cocktail ring," which can be fun and flashy and not necessarily an everyday ring. Also, look online at the popular Hermes rings/bands for women, which she can wear on either her left hand as a commitment band or on her right hand as a fashion statement.
When investing in something that your partner is going to wear every day, you want to make sure that she really likes it. Find out which finger she would wear it on and give her a couple of choices. Even if you were married, she wouldn't be wearing your family crest ring--unless you were deceased. ~Didi
Proper funeral etiquette
Would it be improper to attend the wake of old girlfriend's dad whom I have not seen in forty years? Jason, Woonsocket
Just the fact that you're asking means you kind of want to attend, but feel awkward having not seen him for so long. You would be attending his wake in support of the deceased's family and because you liked and respected him. Wakes can be a social occasion and an opportunity to catch up with old friends and acquaintances. If your gut tells you to go, then attend, because it would not be improper. ~Didi
Do you have a question for Didi? Visit her at NewportManners.com . We can withhold your name and location. Didi researches etiquette and all matters of manners for her book,"Newport Etiquette." Previous weekly GoLocalProv.com columns can be found by typing in Didi Lorillard in the above lefthand search.
Related Slideshow: Foodie Getaways in Massachusetts
Food lovers will love these destinations statewide for indulging your palate.
Vienna Historic Inn + Restaurant, Southbridge, MA
A feast for all your appetites. This historic inn is filled with old world charm, antiques, chandeliers & steins. Each room is adorned with soft music, ambience and uniqueness. You will be delighted with hard-to-find Austrian, German, Swiss, French as well local meats, seafood and vegan options. An extensive gluten-free menu available. The beer garden will be open through the end of the October.
Jewish Food Tour
Ahla Food Tours, Brookline, MA
Explore Jewish cuisine on this eye-opening 3-hour walking tour of historical Brookline and experience what TV Diner called a "fabulous Boston neighborhood tour!" and Jewish Advocate raved is "whetting the appetites of Jewish and non-Jewish diners alike". You'll taste authentic Jewish food - matzo ball soup, latkes, falafel, kosher wines, noodle kugel ice cream and dozens more. Hear unique anecdotes about the welcoming Brookline purveyors and savor the rich history of Jewish Brookline.
Blue Hills Brewery, Canton, MA
We're lucky in Massachusetts to have many microbreweries, large and small, for touring and tasting. But Blue Hills Brewery has combined its makes great tasting beers with a real educational imperative--an internship. A dream come true for beer lovers, candidates can vie for working with Blue Hills' Master Brewer Andris Veidis in a true apprenticeship. Not for the casual brewer. To learn more, check online, here. http://bluehillsbrewery.com/internship.php
Sweet Dessert Bar, Worcester, MA
A dessert lover's destination, Sweet was recently in the news for having challenged New York chef Dominique Ansel as laying claim to the invention of the cronut. Whether you're team Worcester or team NYC, enjoy Sweet's lounge chairs or sit at the bar, have a drink and watch as the chefs prepare a one of a kind dish for you. Not your average piece of cake, Sweet's appetizers and desserts are inspired by the freshest local ingredients, seasonal fruits, and artisan chocolates.
Old + New Dining
The Farm Table, Bernardston, MA
In the lush Pioneer Valley between Deerfield and the Vermont border, this remarkably restored 1800 farmhouse features cutting-edge green energy and the freshest local and regional foods seasonally available. Combine a delicious sojourn with holiday shopping at Kringle Candle and Kringle Christmas Barn.
Fried Clam Pilgrimage
Woodman's of Essex, Essex, MA
Keep summer alive year-round by making a pilgrimage to this institution that is counting down to its 100-year anniversary. Go for the fried clams, because that's what was invented here on July 3rd, 1916. Lawrence "Chubby" Woodman, at the humorous suggestion of a friend, fried up a few clams at his roadside stand in Essex, Massachusetts and the original fried clams were born.
East Dennis Oyster Farm, Cape Cod, MA
If you think oysters are a summer pleasure, you're right but you're wrong. Late October and November yield some of the best oysters, so consider bundling up and heading to the Cape for a tour of John and Stephanie Lowell's farm on the tidal flats off Quivett Neck. To make an appointment for a tour, go here.
Hit the Trail
Massachusetts Wine + Cheese Trail
A wine and cheese trail in Massachusetts? That’s right, the Bay State features 40 licensed wineries, producing wine from a collection of locally grown fruits – grapes, apples, cranberries, peaches, and blueberries – across, roughly, a total of 2,200-acres of wine farm land, where 439 acres are devoted exclusively to wine production. You can download a map and pick up the trail at any place, exploring small and pristine providers.
Wine in the City
City Wine Tours, Cambridge, MA
Want an urban oenophelia adventure? City Wine Tours is the perfect gateway to enjoying Boston's vibrant wine culture and best restaurants. Sip, savor, and explore as we take you on a walking tour through Boston's most historic neighborhoods, with stops at award-winning restaurants, luxury hotels and gourmet wine shops. Cheers.
A New Kind of Crawl
Dishcrawl Pioneer Valley, Springfield, MA
You love a pub crawl? How about a restaurant crawl? The foodies at Dishcrawl aim to provide you with Pioneer Valley's premier culinary social experience by bringing together neighborhood restaurants, local chefs, regional food producers and fellow food enthusiasts. Join for a one-of-a-kind gastronomic adventure! Check out next week's All Hallows Eve crawl in Amherst, MA.
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