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Newport Manners & Etiquette: Love Month Questions, Why Valentine’s Day? + Table Manners

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

 

The Love month brought etiquette questions to NewportManners about kissing, hand holding, and tell us, Didi, Why does Valentine's Day matter? We also love all those table manners questions.

I Wanna Hold Your Hand

Q. I love seeing other couples holding hands, but I feel self-conscious initiating it myself. My experience is that guys don't like being seen holding hands. When I've brushed my hand against my fiancé's to signal that I want him to take my hand, he doesn't respond. He's just not interested.

I've always been into holding hands. In the car, across the table in a restaurant, walking down the street, at a concert, or watching a movie in bed at night. When I take my fiancé's hand in mine he tolerates it for a few seconds and withdraws it too quickly. I'm worried my hands are clammy or maybe it makes him think I'm too needy. Which, by the way, I'm not.  Name Withheld

A. Should your fiancé be one of those lucky kids whose parent took him by the hand and walked him to school every day from preschool through third grade, he may feel you're acting too parental -- too maternal.

If he can't handle your clammy hands, think about what else he can't handle? 

Hand-holding capability doesn't have to be gauged by a relationship barometer. Holding hands while walking down your street might work for twenty seconds until he realizes it makes him self-conscious. 

  • Try holding hands when you're alone. Carry tissues and wipe your hands first. See how long you can gently hold his hand in a darkened movie theatre. Your fiancé will be less likely to feel paranoid when he knows nobody is watching. 
  • Should he pull away and say he really doesn't like holding hands, wouldn't that be a relief. Then you'd know for sure. 
  • Perhaps you may find he's happier putting his hand on your leg or putting his arm around you.
  • Tease him about hand-holding being a portable hug. 
  • Many feel intimacy is in the elbow creases, so try linking arms.
  • Work on finding a symbol of connectivity, your own private love language -- a sweet and small sign of intimacy -- a kiss on the hand, an arm hug, 

 

The Power of Touch     

  • Our brain gives a disproportionate amount of attention to the fingers and hands, as compared to the rest of the body. 

 

The Beatles celebrated love language singing these lines:

Yeah, I'll tell you something

I think you'll understand

When I say that something

I want to hold your hand

 

I want to hold your hand

I want to hold your hand

 (John Lennon and Paul McCartney).

 

Why Valentine's Day Matters

Q.  Why do we celebrate Valentine's Day? My boyfriend actually thinks it's just an excuse for having to take me out to dinner. He says because it is not a public holiday it is merely a trick, a commercial contrivance.  Stephanie, Providence, RI

A.  Whether you have a SO or choose to fly solo, Valentine's Day is a universal plea to embrace the love in your life. To open your heart and celebrate your closest relationships. As one of the largest commercial holidays, the tradition has been celebrated for centuries, although, your boyfriend is correct, it isn't a public holiday anywhere. However, it is a holiday globally without celebrating any religion.

  • Saint Valentine became a martyr during the Roman Empire for marrying soldiers who were forbidden to marry. While in prison, after apparently healing his jailer's daughter, Bishop Valentine sent her a letter shortly before his execution, signed "Your Valentine," as a farewell.

 

In the 14th Century, the date of Saint Valentine's execution became a day when couples would declare their love for each other by giving sweet treats, flowers, love letters and cards to their sweetheart.

  • In Chaucer's "Parliament of Foules", he wrote: "For this was on St Valentine's Day when every bird cometh to choose his mate." Leading a tradition of poets penning verses about Valentine's.

 

In fact, Stephanie, if your boyfriend is feeling strong-armed about taking you out to dinner, then it's up to you to give him a bit of sweetness in return. How about a box of chocolate covered espresso beans?

 

Kissing

Q.  When I greet someone and they give me a smack on the cheek or a smooch on the lips I always wonder how that person knew what kind of kiss to give me. My partner doesn't enjoy kissing, so my kisses with him are those of affection more than passion.  FS, Penobscot, ME

A.  The many kinds of kisses are used in different types of relationships to express love, affection, peace, respect, friendship, romance and are described in many words. 

  • The French have twenty words and the Germans use over thirty words for a kiss.
  • The physical act of kissing between two people consists of the combined sensitivity of touch, taste and smell.

 

There are a lot of reasons guys don't kiss. Someone at some point, perhaps when as a kid playing Spin the Bottle or Post Office, or when he was a pimply teen, told him he didn't know how to kiss. Or that his kisses were too wet or not wet enough. Maybe he was repelled because he was too rough. He may know, or think, that he has bad breath. Why ask me? It is you who should be so curious that you ask him, your boyfriend. Opening up to you about kissing may well loosen his lips.

However, keep in mind:

  • Kissing is not universally accepted; there are parts of the world where it is taboo to kiss in public.
  • In some cultures lip-kissing is still banned.

 

 

Business Lunch Table Manners

Q.  When you're having a business lunch where do you put your knife and your fork when you're taking a break from eating while discussing business? Sometimes it seems awkward resting them on the plate, but I'm never sure whether I can put them back on the table, or what?  Harry, Philadelphia

A.  Especially during this flu season when we've all turned into germaphobes, table manners make special sense when it comes to safe gourmet hygiene. They say that tables where people eat are germ breeders, so when you return your fork and knife to the table, instead of leaving them on your plate, you're not only leaving your germs but food that turns to bacteria on the table. Just as you wouldn't blow your nose into your napkin and leave the napkin on the table.

  • Once your fork and spoon touch food and your saliva, they don't return to the table. Leave the utensils you've contaminated on your plate or in the soup bowl.

 

Didi Lorillard researches manners and etiquette at NewportManners for her forthcoming book.

 

Related Slideshow: 20 Romantic New England Getaways - 2018

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Cliffside Inn

Newport, RI

This Bed & Breakfast is located right in the historic district of Newport, Rhode Island. Each room is unique and complete with amenities like imported linens, spa showers and fireplaces. It is just steps away from the Newport Cliff Walk, providing excellent views of the Atlantic.  Don’t miss the seasonal gourmet breakfast!

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Nantucket Hotel & Resort 

Nantucket, MA

Nantucket is a great place to visit no matter what season it is. 

Couples can visit historic museums, and windmills; visit world-class restaurants, check out great art galleries; and gaze at the spectacular sunrises and sunsets. 

They’re all waiting for you and your significant other. 

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The Inn at Round Barn Farm

Waitsfield, VT

The Inn at Round Barn Farm offers the chance for couples to escape to quiet and relaxation, with whirlpools, king canopy beds and much more. 

Winter activities include snowshoeing with the resident guide dog during the day and a special candlelit dinner followed by a bonfire at night. 

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Four Seasons Hotel

Boston, MA

If you and your partner are looking for a getaway in the city, try the Four Seasons Boston. It has views of the Public Garden and, depending on your room selection, luxurious amenities like velvet chairs and silk pillows.

The Four Seasons has 273 guest rooms and 77 luxury suites for your enjoyment.

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Foxwoods Resort & Casino

Mashantucket, CT

The 9 million sq. ft resort and casino gives you and your significant other plenty to do on your romantic getaway. Gamble, see a show, play golf (weather permitting) or just relax in the hotel and spa area.

Looking for a romantic getaway? You can't go wrong at Foxwoods.

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Daniel Webster Inn

Sandwich, MA

Pamper your mind, body, and soul at the Daniel Webster Inn and Spa.

Head over to the nearby Heritage Museum and Gardens for some wonderful exhibits.

One of the more popular attractions is the Carousel Gallery.

The working carousel was designed by Charles Looff in 1908. Rides are unlimited with the price of admission.

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Killington Mountain Lodge

Killington, VT

If you ski, or even if you don't ski, the Killington Mountain Lodge is a great place for couples to spend a romantic weekend. 

At the lodge, there is an outdoor pool with swim-up fire pit, a movie room with free popcorn,  and amazing mountain views. The lodge offers shuttles to take guests to and from the nearby Killington Ski Resort’s lifts. 

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Cranwell Resort & Spa

Lenox, MA

A beautiful brick estate tucked in the Berkshires of Lenox, MA, the Cranwell Resort is ultimate for luxury. Guests have the option of pre-ordering treats to their rooms like chocolate covered strawberries, locally brewed beers, and flowers – perhaps a pleasant surprise for their significant other. There are plenty of dining options that strive to use fresh and locally produced ingredients. Check out their Romance Package or their ski and stay package for those looking for some adventure.  

Cranwell is a great option for couples who want some quality time by the fire or in the snow.

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Newport Harbor Hotel

Newport, RI

Located right on the water, the Newport Harbor Hotel and Marina is an ideal stay for a romantic getaway. They have two packages for couples looking for a sweet vacation. The “Romance by the Sea” includes: overnight harbor view room, champagne, and chocolates right to your room upon your arrival, waterfront dining at Saltwater and breakfast for two the next morning, as well as two passes to the Newport Mansions, International Tennis Hall of Fame, or Newport Vineyard.

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Captain Lord Mansion

Kennebunkport, ME

This beautifully restored B&B supplies romantic vacationers with an intimate Maine getaway overlooking the Kennebunk River. After being served a delicious three-course breakfast, visitors are welcome to stroll through the Inn’s elegant gardens, which include fountains and a waterfall, or spend the day at the Captain Lord Mansion’s spa.

Located only 3 blocks from the Kennebunkport Dock Square, couples can also easily stroll to do some downtown shopping, or enjoy the excellent local restaurants. 

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Harbor View Hotel

Martha’s Vineyard, MA

Martha’s Vineyard isn’t just for the summer.

Enjoy a romantic stay at the Harbor View Hotel, where most rooms have a view of the ocean and every room comes with plush robes to relax in.

Harbor View Hotel is offering an amazing Valentine's Day special. If you and your significant other go there for dinner, the hotel will pay for your room. Does it get better than that? 

The hotel’s restaurant, Water Street, has ocean views as well as a view of the Edgartown Lighthouse.  

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Mystic Aquarium

Mystic, CT

For something completely different, Mystic Aquarium is a fun destination for a day trip: see the penguins, play with starfish, and enjoy a Sea Lion Show.

You and your significant other can make reservations for pancakes with penguins and other cool events. 

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Glynn House Inn

Ashland, NH

Set directly in the middle of the White Mountains and Lake District of New Hampshire, this finely decorated 1896 Victorian house provides a desirable intimate and cozy getaway. With six bedrooms, five of which are pet-friendly, as well as six custom suites that include double whirlpool baths, the Glynn House provides couples interested in a romantic, adventurous, or laid back weekend.

Breakfast will be served at individual tables in the dining room, and complimentary wine and hors d’oeuvres await you in the afternoon. Whether you are interested in relaxing on the houses’ wrap around porches to enjoy the view, or whether you want to get out and enjoy fishing, fine restaurants, golf, hiking, skiing, or snowmobiling on the nearby mountains, the Glynn Inn may be the place for you.

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Stonecroft Country Inn

Mystic, CT

Stonecroft Country Inn is just minutes from downtown Mystic, the Mystic Seaport, and Mystic Aquarium.

While you are there, do some shopping and be sure to grab a slice at the famous Mystic Pizza.

When you are done with that, keep warm next to the Inn's fire pit, which is next to their pond and waterfall.

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The Porches Inn

North Adams, MA

What was once a series of dilapidated Victorian-era row houses, is now one of the most innovative and romantic hotels in the Berkshires.

As part of the Massachusetts Museum of Modern Art (MassMoCA), The Porches Inn features unique designs and bold colors, while still paying homage to the generations of mill workers' families who once lived there.

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Rabbit Hill Inn

Lower Waterford, VT

Tucked away in the little town of Lower Waterford, Vermont, the Rabbit Hill Inn is a Bed & Breakfast with incredible views of the White Mountains. Originally built in 1795 as a trader’s tavern, it sits on 15 acres of countryside and comes with its own library of books and games.

Choose to stay in its Classic rooms with sitting areas to appreciate the mountains, or splurge on its Superior or Luxury rooms complete with a warm fireplace.

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Bear Mountain Lodge

Bethlehem, NH

Designed as a couples’ getaway, Bear Mountain Lodge touts 26 wooded acres in the heart of the White Mountains. This log cabin B&B has all the amenities to relax and cozy up with your partner and enjoy a glass of wine together, like in-room Jacuzzis and floor-to-ceiling fireplaces. If you’re looking for more adventure, Bear Mountain Lodge offers guests discounted lift tickets for Bretton Woods and Cannon Mountain for skiing, plus snow-shoe trails right on-site.

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Inn at Sunrise Point

Camden, ME

The Inn at Sunrise Point is located on 5 acres of secluded beachfront property and is just a quick drive from Camden, Maine. You’ll plenty of options for accommodations: rooms in the Garden House, the Main House, or private cottages.

The Inn at Sunrise Point boasts ocean views, fireplaces and decks for all rooms on the property, making it easy for you are your partner to enjoy the sunrise over Penobsecot Bay. If you’re looking for something active to do, day trips to Monhegan Island or Acadia National Park are easy. Or you could try some ice rock climbing.

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Blantyre

Lenox, MA

Rated as one of the “10 Most Romantic Hotels in the World” earlier this year by Forbes.com, the Blantyre, is an ideal elegant romantic getaway. 

Activities include spa treatments at the Potting Shed Spa or in room; as well as outdoor activities such as snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and ice skating and much more. 

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Griswold Inn

Essex, CT

For a classic New England getaway, try the Griswold Inn, located on the Connecticut River banks in Essex, CT. First opened in 1776, it serves as one of the oldest inns in the country to be continuously operated, and they certainly take pride in their colonial history.

Rooms boast the classic New England feel with traditional colonial fixtures and timely furniture. They offer historic dining options like Sticky Toffee Pudding to follow up a classic Chicken Pot Pie.

 
 

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