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Newport Manners & Etiquette:  Polo Tailgating + What to Say About Dyed Hair + Curb Your Dog

Wednesday, June 07, 2017


Polo season is here with its tailgate picnics, you feel like taking longer walks with your dog, but picking up after it is good manners. And how to break your guy's dyed hair habit. All questions to Didi Lorillard at NewportManners this week.

Polo and picnics

Q. We're meeting friends at Newport polo for tailgating. We've been asked to bring food for a potluck picnic. What are we expected to bring? What should we know about going to a polo tournament?  E+WG, Newport, RI


A.  Find out exactly where on the polo grounds you're meeting your friends to see if they've reserved tailgate parking that includes your car. But don't worry, general parking not on the sidelines is free. As they may have a seasonal corporate membership or have reserved numbered spaces for a number of cars. Find out. Go online (nptpolo.com) ahead of time to see where to park. If there isn't space for your car in the reserved section, you want to know where to find your friends. Every individual over 15-years of age pays general admission in a tailgate reserved area, whether their car is parked there or not. Figure out if you'll need to reimburse your friends and ask what you can contribute, or offer to bring items from the list below.

What to wear:  

  • No riding clothing of any kind. Look like a guest and not a groomsman.
  • Dress code is Smart Casual. Meaning your best relaxed clothing: white or colored trousers, blue blazer, sundress, beautiful hat and big sunglasses, shoes that won't sink into the turf and get caught in the divots at halftime.
  • Take along plenty of sunscreen and wet wipes.


What to bring in your picnic basket:

  • A cotton blanket or French tablecloth and plenty of napkins, cloth or paper.    
  • No beach umbrella because you'll block someone else's view, but you can bring folded lawn chairs.
  • Lots to drink to keep throats from getting parched.
  • Cheese and crackers, fruit, Champagne, Prosecco, and ingredients to make Pimm's Cups.
  • Prepare your picnic ahead of time.
  • Bring ice, utensils, paper plates, glasses.
  • Alternatively, there are many places to buy picnic food on the island: Rosemary & Thyme Cafe (rosemaryandthymecafe.com), Sweet Berry Farm (sweetberryfarm.com), Flo’s Clam Shack (flosclamshacks.com) and the Newport Lobster Shack (newportlobstershack.com) — all terrific sources for prepared picnic food.


What to bring to impress:

  • Pimm's Cups:  Easy to prepare when you arrive at your tailgate destination. Use the English liquor Pimm's Cup No.1 poured over ice in a tall glass (or paper cup) with a slice of lemon and cucumber peel and topped off with a splash of a fruit flavored drink, such as Del's Lemonade or the less sweet La Croix fruit flavored soda water.
  • Sandwiches on soft rolls or in wraps:  tuna, chicken or egg salad, slicked turkey and cheese with bacon or avocado, along with chips.
  • Desserts:  brownies, chocolate chip cookies, lemon squares and fruit salad flavored with a splash of Pimm's.
  • To the best of your ability, try to stay plastic free; plastic bags are increasingly frowned upon. 
  • Use a straw basket to carry in your food and take out your waste.


What to tell a man about dyed hair

Q.  Didi, how do I tell my man that he shouldn't dye his hair? It looked OK up until a couple of years ago when a bald spot became very apparent on the top of his head. But now, really, who has dark brown hair hanging down from a big bald spot? He should wear his baldness as a crown and not be so vain. Anyone who looks at him knows his hair is colored to cover the grey.  Name Withheld


A.  People with dyed hair look in the mirror and identify with their younger self. Dark brown hair is a big part of your man's identity -- including, possibly, his virility.  Many of us carry over our patterns from our 20s and 30s into later adulthood. We tend to look at faces, storing and retrieving what's familiar.

That said, take a good sized hand mirror and have him look at the reflection of the back of his head in a bathroom mirror. He cannot see the back and top of his head unless you show it to him. Give him a warm hug and tell him you love him and want him to stop dying his hair. This is what you can say to him:

  • His dyed hair is habit. He doesn't know how to stop coloring it. Propose that he go to a good barber and have it shorn way down and the hair will grow in the color of his remaining natural hair. Over time he'll get used to going au naturel when he's rid of the dyed hair look that makes wrinkled faces look even older.
  • Mention that dying his hair is not healthy for his scalp. Suggest that his baldness may well have been advanced by the harmful toxins in the hair dye.


Difficult neighbor

Q.  Glancing out the window I spy a woman looking the other way as her dog did his business in the narrow flowerbed that separates our house from the one next door. I ran out to tell her that the dog can't poop there. She said she didn't know what he was doing because she wasn't looking. On a leash, she had stopped walking to let him do his business. I told her to pick it up. She reluctantly found a poo bag and pretended to be picking up her dog's stool. 

Going back into the house I turned my head to see her allowing her dog to continue and asked her once more to get it out of my flowerbed. She pretended to be looking in the foliage. Back in the house I saw her sticking the poo bag back in her pocket while her dog continued pooing. I ran outside again and told her that there was a dog park half a block up the street. Indignant I asked, "How can you let your dog do that? I'm the one who weeds this garden? Now, in a rage, SHE said, "I live in this neighborhood and other people's dogs do their stuff in my yard all the time." 

I don't want to get a Curb Your Dog sign for my driveway. What do you recommend?  EP, Newport


A.  Sprinkle cayenne pepper or any product made to deter critters (deer, rabbits, and dogs) along the border of your flowerbed. Dogs will step up their pace as they walk by in disgust. The scents of previous dogs will disperse. Look at the weather forecast before laying it down so that rain doesn't immediately wash the deterrent away. 

In the meantime, find out what the fine is in your town for not cleaning up after your dog. Next time you spy an interloper, tell the dog walker that there is a $400 fine for not cleaning up after Fido. Why do dog owners feel that their pet can do anything? Don't get me wrong, I love dogs.

Didi Lorillard researches manners and etiquette at NewportManners.


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