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Newport Manners & Etiquette: Mens Short-Shorts, Unrequited Love & Wedding Invitation Etiquette

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

 

New trends in the wedding etiquette RSVP stir up the pot, unrequited love, and how short or long should men's short-shorts be? All questions to Didi Lorillard at NewportManners this week.

Men's short-shorts

Q.  What about men's short-shorts? How to go short on a hot summer day without looking foolish wearing short-shorts? How do I accessorize: socks, no socks? Shoes, what kind?  George, Brooklyn, NY

 

A.  Short-shorts don't have to be a fashion faux pas. Try shirting with a loose silhouette on top of a great set of legs -- burly and tan. The trend is this:  short-shorts hemlines are on the rise. Conventional shorts end at the knee. Experiment by elevating the hemline of traditional shorts steadily going shorter until you reach a length that feels comfortable on you -- mid-thigh should be about right. Unless, of course, you want to look like a marathon runner. 

You wouldn't be comfortable for long wearing short-shorts that are painfully too tight.

Place your hands down by your sides and if the tips of your fingers can feel your shorts, the shorts are too long and are not iconic short-shorts. 

 

Unrequited love

Q.  My boyfriend does not spend time with me because he says he is too busy and loves his work too much. What should I do?  ED, Harare, Zimbabwe

 

A.  It sounds as though your boyfriend isn't interested in you, so ask yourself:  why would you want to spend time with someone who doesn't want to be with you? If I were in your situation, I would forget about him. He's not your boyfriend. Find someone who wants to share their life with you. Someone who moves heaven and earth to make time to be with you. 

Don't waste your emotions and energy on a person who is clearly not as interested in you as you are in him.

If you're desperately in love with him, have a talk to find out if there is something special he would like to do, if he did have some time off. Then make a plan and help him keep it. Be flexible once or even twice if he says he needs to postpone. But the third time he backs out of the date, break off with him. Move on.

If you don't value yourself, then he won't value you either. Take a stand, but be flexible -- to a point.

 

Tragic or farcical marriage

Q.  The daughter of a childhood friend who is also a work colleague, with whom I frequently play golf, is marrying a man who is gay. My knowledge comes from a highly reputable source. A big wedding will take place in a Catholic church, with a dinner dance reception at their estate for 300 guests; an expensive dance band will play all night. Everybody is happy, but me. I've known the family my whole life. What is my responsibility? Do I tell my childhood friend the next time we're teeing off that his future son-in-law is gay? Or do I hypocritically attend the wedding with my wife, who also knows the groom is gay?  Name Withheld, East Hampton, NY

 

A.  You might be heroic telling the bride-to-be, not her father, that you've heard from a reliable source that her fiancé is gay. But the better part of wisdom is simply to keep quiet.

What happens if the bride doesn't believe you? It's probably a risk you shouldn't take. You and your wife couldn't go to the wedding.  People would wonder why you weren't there.

What if the bride already knows and says, "I love him and he loves me and we're getting married," and you hear Edith Piaf singing in the background, "Je ne regrette rien"? 

You're walking a tightrope between comedy and tragedy. What if she acknowledges the situation? It will feel like a tragedy, and you will only come off badly.  Or perhaps she is completely ignorant and you'll know you're part of a farce. Is she naive and too innocent to understand what she's getting into? Are you heroic enough to ask if they've made love?

As close as you are to the bride's family, it is none of your business. Dance with abandonment at her wedding, knowing that the situation in their marriage is not your concern. 

If you feel you really have to say something, ask your old friend the father-of-the-bride, if the bride and groom have a prenup. Leave it at that.

 

Wedding invitation RSVP

Q.  How do I reply to a formal wedding invitation RSVP when there was no response card enclosed with the wedding invitation?  –Barbara, Torrance, CA

 

 A.  We’re seeing a trend in the RSVP that’s putting people off-guard. You’re not the only one befuddled. Wedding invitations are arriving without the requisite reply card with its self-addressed return envelope. And, what’s more, there is no choice to make as to whether to check off beef, chicken, or fish on the menu order for the reception dinner.

Reserved for formal weddings, the etiquette of not providing a reply card is actually rather chic.

In six or seven separate lines, on your best personal stationery, you handwrite your own reply: 

1. The name(s) of the person(s) replying: Ms. Barbara Brown or Mr. and Mrs. John Brown

2.  Information as to whether you are accepting or regretting: accept(s) with pleasure or sincerely regret(s)

 

When accepting:

3.  The third line is the politeness: the kind invitation of

4.  The name(s) of the host(s): Mr. Williams or Mr. and Mrs. Williams

5.  The date of the wedding:  for July tenth

6.  The time of the wedding: at six o’clock

 

When regretting:

3. The third line states the reason you are regretting:  that because of a previous engagement

4. The fourth line says who is unable to accept: she/they will be unable to accept

5. The politeness:  the kind invitation of

6. The name(s) of the host(s):  Mrs. Williams or Mr. and Mrs. Williams

7. the date of the wedding:  for July tenth

 

For example:

Ms. Barbara Brown

accepts with pleasure

the kind invitation of

Mr. and Mrs. Williams

for Saturday, July tenth

at six o’clock

or

Ms. Barbara Brown and Mr. Andrew Chase

sincerely regret

that because of a previous engagement

they will be unable to accept

the kind invitation of  Mrs. Williams

for Saturday, July tenth

  • As you can see from the above examples, there isn’t much punctuation, which is why it is important to place the facts  on six or seven consecutive lines.
  • When the stationery you have doesn’t fit the occasion, use a boxed note card: either a simple plain note card or a correspondence card with a motif. 

 

Addressing your reply envelope:

Using the envelope that came with your correspondence note card, or letterhead, address it to the name and address that appears on the original invitation envelope.

  • When there is only the return address and no name associated with it, use the name of the host(s) that appears on the wedding invitation when addressing your reply envelope.

 

Didi Lorillard researches manners and etiquette at NewportManners.

 

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