Episode 396 - Oh Napkins
In this episode of Awesome Etiquette
Welcome to Awesome Etiquette, where we explore modern etiquette through the lens of consideration, respect and honesty. On today’s show we take your questions on letting people “sneak” behind you into secured areas, conveying race through emojis, text message thank yous, and napkin etiquette. For Awesome Etiquette Sustaining members our question is about talking to your partner about their table manners. Plus your most excellent feedback, etiquette salute and a postscript on Gilded age etiquette from Mary Sherwood who would have been Emily’s etiquette advisor.
Speaker 1: maybe it's just that you don't know how to use social courtesy. That's old fashioned
Speaker 1: watch act as host and hostess. They know that courtesy means showing respect, thinking of the other person, real friendliness.
Speaker 1: Hello and welcome to awesome etiquette
Speaker 2: where we explore modern etiquette through the lens of consideration, respect and honesty.
Speaker 1: On today's show, we take your questions on letting people sneak behind you into secured areas, conveying race through emojis
Speaker 1: text message. Thank you's and napkin etiquette for
Speaker 2: awesome etiquette sustaining members. Our question of the week is about talking to your partner about their table manners
Speaker 1: plus your most excellent feedback etiquette salute and a postscript on gilded age etiquette from mary Sherwood who would have been Emily's etiquette adviser. All
Speaker 2: that's coming
Speaker 1: up,
Speaker 1: awesome etiquette comes to you from the studios of our home offices in Vermont and is proud to be produced by the Emily Post Institute. I'm dan post Senning
Speaker 2: and I'm lizzie post
Speaker 2: and we have got to say that we are starting the show on a very happy note today
Speaker 2: dan I know you've seen it. I know I've seen it. I'm wondering how many of our listeners saw it. We got recommended by the new york times. I was so excited when Caitlin sent me the picture from her print version of the times, the sunday times this weekend, the new york times on sunday this weekend. There we go.
Speaker 2: And it was, it was very exciting to see the other podcasts that were recommended for a little listening. Should you want to get back to being normal.
Speaker 1: I thought that the mention was awesome and I was even more excited about the context of the mention, it was where I would want
Speaker 1: the awesome Medicaid podcast to live in the minds of the new york Times reviewer. And sure enough, that was the way that they were thinking about it. And
Speaker 1: I also liked seeing that some people still get the print version of the new york times and
Speaker 2: that
Speaker 1: the resolution on phones is good enough that if you expand the picture that someone sends you of their print version, you can read it because you've used up all your free articles on the website
Speaker 2: and that what I then
Speaker 1: read it as you said that the whole context was that it was an article that was recommending
Speaker 1: podcast that would give you a sense of normalcy as hopefully there's a bit of a normal returning to many of our lives professionally and personally, after two years of pandemic living and to see awesome etiquette credited as being a long running eight years in existence
Speaker 2: show
Speaker 1: that had some real consistency and brought that feeling of, of normalcy if not comfort, I thought was was really flattering. I certainly appreciate it. I I appreciated you sending it on as soon as you got it on sunday.
Speaker 2: I know normally we were, we were in the middle of a
Speaker 2: um because we're working on the book, we actually are working weekends right now and dan had a very busy sunday and I had a very, I am, I just burned out. I can't work today at all day. And when I got that text from Kaitlin, it was like renewed energy. Here you go. Like this is a fun work thing to put a cap on your weekend.
Speaker 2: It was really delightful to read it. I was really excited. It was a lot of fun having some family and friends reach out and and say that they had seen it. I feel like a proud mama right now this little show.
Speaker 1: Well I think you should. And the other thing that I think is really important to say is if you're a new listener to awesome etiquette, welcome and if you recently discovered this show, we're so glad that you did and we hope that it provides a little bit of that sense of normalcy and comfort that was talked about in the new york times.
Speaker 2: Well with that, do you think we should probably get to the show and display such normalcy and comfort?
Speaker 1: I think that's a wonderful idea. Let's do
Speaker 2: it,
Speaker 2: awesome etiquette is here to answer your questions, You can email them to awesome etiquette. Emily post dot com leave a voicemail or text at 802858 kind that's 8028585463 or reach us on social media on twitter, we're at Emily Post on instagram, we are at Emily Post institute and on facebook for awesome etiquette just use the hashtag awesome etiquette with your social media posts so that we know you want your question on the show.
Speaker 1: Our first question this week is titled hesitant in healthcare.
Speaker 1: Dear lizzie and dan, many thanks to you for your wonderful work. I would so appreciate your expertise on a quandary I often encounter at work,
Speaker 1: I work in health care in a setting where a badge is required to get in and out of many places in the institution,
Speaker 1: a badge is typically required for very good reason for example, to limit access to research labs where delicate work is being conducted or to limit access to patient care spaces to vetted staff in order to protect vulnerable populations
Speaker 1: at entrances where badges are not required, staff often hold the door for those behind them. A nice gesture in the workplace,
Speaker 1: at entrances where badges are required, I do not do so, but people often try to sneak in behind me
Speaker 1: seemingly assuming this is all right, because they look like they belong. For example wearing clothing with an organizational logo.
Speaker 1: I am very uncomfortable with this scenario as I take my duty especially to help protect patients very seriously,
Speaker 1: but I am unsure how to respond politely yet firmly. I would so appreciate any sample scripts or other polite responses. You could provide for this situation.
Speaker 1: Please feel free to answer my question on the show with gratitude for your work and time hesitant in healthcare.
Speaker 2: Oh, hesitant in health care. I want to give you some confidence for this situation. If we can dan immediately my mind for this went to
Speaker 2: and it might have been because we were just editing the section of the book that was on personal space and body language. But I immediately tried to play this in a physical way. Like is there some way when I'm walking through that door that I can occupy the space between the door and myself with with such limited space there that someone couldn't sneak through.
Speaker 2: And I know that sometimes that might be possible. And other times doors are like on an automatic timer or they have that that pressurized hydraulic that makes them close slowly.
Speaker 2: And
Speaker 1: so I'm like yeah,
Speaker 2: yeah, yeah, exactly. Like it might be that just the design of the doors you're going through could make this very difficult
Speaker 2: as I'm picturing the scenario and I do. I get that scenario trying to kind of like sneak in behind someone and you definitely see it happen in like apartment buildings and things like that. But there isn't always a conversation to be had. You know, and that could make it awkward to then just jump in with something because it's not like someone's always asking, hey, could you hold the door in which case you could respond?
Speaker 2: Oh, because this is restricted. I actually can't. I'm really sorry. Which I think would be absolutely reasonable. And and anybody operating with some good etiquette in their system would recognize, oh, sorry, I don't want to put you in a position of doing something bad. Um, but
Speaker 2: when there isn't, when it's just someone who's trying to piggyback on your door opening,
Speaker 2: I get a lot less comfortable with trying to mitigate that myself, even though I would probably feel fairly responsible or even maybe slightly, and if it's not fairly responsible, I don't know, what do you think?
Speaker 1: I had a very similar thought to you in that
Speaker 1: my first reaction is about that physical space. Are there physical cues that you can give? Can you just open the door enough that you can get through?
Speaker 1: And I was imagining just like you that sometimes that's probably not possible. And I like your idea of a sample script,
Speaker 1: if someone asks if essentially you're doing the thing that doesn't make it easy and they have to ask you, but if the door is just closing and someone sort of reaches and and keeps it from closing. I'm imagining them then being close enough to you that you might be able to say something
Speaker 1: like,
Speaker 1: I'm sorry, would you mind checking in with your own badge
Speaker 2: and making
Speaker 1: it making it something that you ask of them, essentially? And I think tone is so important. I think that you ask in a way that isn't saying, I'm assuming you don't have one or
Speaker 1: that you're trying to sneak in sort of assuming that it's all okay. But you're just wanting to be sure everybody's following the correct protocols and procedures and in that kind of thinking, I was also thinking that it might be really helpful to talk to a supervisor or manager, someone in charge of security and ask them, how would you like me to handle this? Is it okay if someone does this, if they have their own badge or do you really need each of us to check in on our own
Speaker 2: dan? That is the gold star answer right there is. I think that getting the, the administration's, you know, handle on it, what would they want you to do in this particular situation would make this a lot easier.
Speaker 2: Whether or not they give you a sample script or not. You know, one way or the other. I think making sure that you have sort of, what does the organization want in this circumstance, in your back pocket.
Speaker 2: For me, that would give me a lot of confidence to handle it in the moment.
Speaker 1: I agree. I think the thinking there too, is that the answer you get might become the basis of a real sample script that if there's a concrete answer,
Speaker 1: oh yeah, we really want to be sure that everybody swipes their badge. So we have account or that we know everybody specifically,
Speaker 1: then that becomes the basis for what you say to somebody in a slightly different tone with a friendlier sort of more open demeanor.
Speaker 1: It's not,
Speaker 1: oh they really need that and you shouldn't do this. It's just would you mind swiping it with your own bad so that the hospital can keep track of it or whoever, whatever the, the organization or the facility is, can keep track of it.
Speaker 2: Absolutely hesitant and healthcare. This is an excellent question about door holding, which is such a common and wonderful
Speaker 2: piece of etiquette. I love the twist on it.
Speaker 2: We really hope that our answer helps in future door threshold crossings.
Speaker 1: Our rules apply equally to all with no exceptions.
Speaker 1: That is part of making them fair. Each one of us has the responsibility of learning the rules and remembering to follow them
Speaker 1: and we can work together to make better rules when we need them.
Speaker 2: Our next question is titled emojis and ethnicity.
Speaker 2: Hello, lizzie and dan. What do you think of the skin colored emojis that are now available? And do you think it's rude or insensitive if people continue to use the default yellow?
Speaker 2: I have friends who are people of color and they appreciate the chance to get to choose an emoji that better matches their skin tone and I think that's great and makes a lot of sense,
Speaker 2: but I'm white and for some reason it feels strange to choose the white skin tone emoji. Like I'm asserting my whiteness or reminding everyone that I'm white,
Speaker 2: but I recently read an article that said white people sticking with the default yellow is a form of privilege that we feel like we don't have to define our race.
Speaker 2: It feels so fraught. What do you think? C.
Speaker 1: O C. Thank you so much for the question and
Speaker 1: I want to start off with my show Notes Bullet one. Before I start to actually answer, I just wrote
Speaker 2: yes
Speaker 1: and
Speaker 1: lizzie Post knows that I've been ready to start a little personal campaign. I've been thinking about writing Apple because I tend to use Apple devices all the time about
Speaker 1: the emojis that are provided because I really want emoji that allows me to define a family of different races
Speaker 1: and it's come up for me personally where I've wanted to use it and it hasn't been available to me and
Speaker 1: it's just mildly frustrating. I think it would be such an easy fix and they've done the work of allowing people to choose the color for the prayer hands and the individuals and I would just love to be able to have that same specificity with the family groups.
Speaker 2: Yeah. When you touch the family ones, they don't give you like the option of changing like either the number of kids like right now because you also can't get one that has three kids.
Speaker 1: I've noticed that as of
Speaker 2: today, the third one came along, like you can impressing them now and it's like, you know, you don't, you don't get any options to change what you're seeing.
Speaker 1: So this particular question gives me a chance to talk about on the most public platform that I get to participate in. My desire for a
Speaker 1: mixed race,
Speaker 1: selectable set of characters for the family groups.
Speaker 1: Okay, On to the question.
Speaker 2: My
Speaker 1: first thought is that I, I don't think it's rude or insensitive
Speaker 1: out of hand if people continue to use the default yellow, I think that that is a default that a lot of people go with. I wasn't even aware that you could select different colors for a lot of these things until relatively recently, so I would never receive that from someone and say, oh, this person is is is choosing this as a type of privilege,
Speaker 1: my thought would be that that's just the default color and that's what comes up,
Speaker 1: I also think that once you start thinking about it, it presents an interesting set of choices for anybody. And it's certainly true that one of the privileges of whiteness is that oftentimes
Speaker 1: you don't need to think about it and that is part of the privilege of it. And I think that just the fact that you're asking yourself the question
Speaker 1: is a really worthwhile exercise and it's a worthwhile thing to think about and consider,
Speaker 1: even though I don't think it's particularly rude to just go with the default yellow.
Speaker 1: Mhm.
Speaker 1: Something that I've noticed is practicality is that my most common use of emojis is with the most recently used and once I'd set the colors on a couple of those,
Speaker 1: they came up as my most recent and it essentially became my default to use that level of specificity
Speaker 2: and
Speaker 1: I think that that might be a direction to consider and something that you might do as an active step of
Speaker 1: considering your whiteness. However, whatever feelings might come along with that and including feelings of some discomfort about it. And
Speaker 1: if it came up as a question of is this asserting my privilege? I think that I would be prepared to talk about it or think about it to myself as a question of acknowledging that privilege. And
Speaker 1: whenever we're talking about these issues, I don't think there's one answer that's going to be seen the same by everybody and that's one of the lessons we learned when we start thinking about these things.
Speaker 1: So you have to think about it for yourself and figure out where your comfort lies and then proceed from that place and do the best you can if it comes up as a question for other people.
Speaker 2: Yeah. And I think for some
Speaker 2: the options that are there no matter which you would be choosing that, that most closely resembles you. It just gives that option of more personalization for for me dan I'm with you and I'll be curious to read more about it or see some of the articles that might have popped up if they give a search.
Speaker 2: But I'm with you that I don't find the yellow root to use as it is often the default that's set there. So if you haven't explored the second tier of options on that, um, you could very easily be just receiving the default and someone hasn't just bothered to or cared to or they've, they've specifically chosen not to go down that route of trying to identify
Speaker 2: their race with their emoji. But I also don't think it's a problem
Speaker 2: no matter which of the
Speaker 2: options you went with, if you chose one that actually did feel like it represented you, I'll tell you, I feel a little bit like a fraud right now because my person emoji has blonde hair and I no longer have really blonde hair. And so I'm like, oh wait, I'm not really a blonde anymore. Maybe I should change that to the brunette.
Speaker 2: But that's hair color different. Different deal
Speaker 1: was your post. I think that I will always think of you as a blonde
Speaker 2: even though it's not my natural hair color. Yes.
Speaker 1: And hearing that you might think of yourself as a brunette at the moment
Speaker 1: is more information for me. It's something that that makes me see you a little bit differently. And
Speaker 1: in some ways, I think that's, that's the discussion that we're having here. It's about questions about how we see ourselves and how we present that to other people and then how it's seen by other people.
Speaker 1: And I think that the question is best answered by each individual themselves, that you want to think about how you identify and how you want to represent yourself. And I think it's important to have some context for that, but we all operate in different contexts and you do the best you can in the situations that you operate in. C
Speaker 1: I think that you're just asking this question
Speaker 1: is expanding all of our context and I really appreciate your putting this in front of us and I really appreciate the opportunity to send a message to any employees for Apple out there who might be listening, that I think the next place to offer this level of specificity is with the families.
Speaker 2: Absolutely see thanks for the question.
Speaker 1: It's a simple enough matter to give people you meet plenty of room to pass good manners again and they put you in a good light.
Speaker 1: Our next question is about text message. Thank you
Speaker 1: dear lizzie and Daniel greetings. I've been listening to the podcast since the very first episode and thank you both for so many years of making etiquette truly awesome.
Speaker 1: My question is about the changing role of thank you notes in a text message based society.
Speaker 1: My husband and I were invited to a dinner party at the home of a couple with whom we are very close for context. The couple as a generation older than we are and so we view them as an honorary aunt and uncle. It was a very informal dinner for no particular special occasion and all of the coordination beforehand was done by text message.
Speaker 1: We had a lovely time and thank them profusely before we left for their warm hospitality.
Speaker 1: Upon returning home, I hand wrote a thank you card to send to them gold stars, but because the dinner party was on a saturday night, it would not likely reach them by mail until the following Tuesday.
Speaker 1: However, on the day after the party sunday, I received a text message from them with a warm thanks again to us for coming and for bringing along a couple of small gifts.
Speaker 1: Instantly I felt embarrassed for even though their text message was upbeat and seemed not at all tinged with resentment, it occurred to me that they're not having first received a thank you text from me. Their guest may have made me seem like quite the ingrate.
Speaker 1: I she officially responded in kind noting that an official thank you note was already in the mail,
Speaker 1: but I still worried that it seemed rude of me not to have initiated the post event text exchange.
Speaker 1: Although I'm a millennial and age, I'm somewhat of an older soul, I prefer to send old fashioned thank you notes even for relatively minor gifts or deeds,
Speaker 1: even though I would have thought the handwritten thank you note to be the etiquette gold standard for expressing gratitude. It occurs to me that it's inevitable time delay may not suit it well for changing standards of behavior and expectations in our impatient present day,
Speaker 1: although naturally people still expect to receive thank you cards for major milestones like weddings and bar mitzvahs.
Speaker 1: It is admittedly less likely these days to expect a snail mail thank you for lesser occasions.
Speaker 1: Thus, should I have sent a thank you text message the following day instead of the thank you note,
Speaker 1: should I have preemptively texted that a thank you note was on its way with or without a third. Thank you thrown in Or might this have come off as heavy handed, overly formal or so disproportionately over grateful as to seem insincere or phony.
Speaker 1: I want to continue the long tradition of handwritten thank you notes without making anyone feel slighted or unappreciated.
Speaker 1: I thank you kindly for any advice you can offer on how best to be thankful in the 140 character
Speaker 2: era. My
Speaker 1: best Joshua
Speaker 2: Joshua. This is a fabulous question and big overarching thought, I think you're in great territory when I read that description in the middle of your email to us about how
Speaker 2: you had written the note knowing that it would probably arrive on the Tuesday and they had reached out to thank you for a couple of things that you had given to them
Speaker 2: and they're no had no, as you say, it wasn't tinged with any like missed out. Thank you or anything like that happening. And then you're responding by saying, oh, we had such a fabulous time. And then also saying, you know, there's a thank you note on its way to you. I think that is perfect.
Speaker 2: And I think it's completely fine that you weren't the one to reach out via text message first. Um, I think you could certainly choose to in the future embrace the text message, thank you and go for it. But I like you appreciate those handwritten thank you notes. And I wouldn't want to encourage you to stop doing those. It might just be including a quick little text.
Speaker 2: Oh, thank you again so much. Still dreaming of that, you know, chocolate tort when I woke up this morning or something like that. That's that quick first. Thank you. And then maybe your thank you notes take on more of a feel of, of sort of
Speaker 1: a
Speaker 2: boy. It was so wonderful to see you. Like, just a little bit more of a thank you or maybe you go into a little bit more description in it, but I just I love hearing you. Oh, well, I shouldn't say I love this, but I can appreciate hearing you almost paint yourself into an etiquette corner, you know, it's like we can we can sometimes
Speaker 2: be in such good stead with our etiquette all around and still second guess it, you know, And that's that's personally what I hear going here. I think you're doing a great job and you're you're right on target.
Speaker 1: I want a second that. And I also wanna just note for
Speaker 1: myself and everyone out there listening who could also take inspiration from it
Speaker 2: that once this
Speaker 1: becomes a habit it becomes easier and easier to do that If your spirit is oh I just love doing this and I just knock them out, I send them for all kinds of things, little things, big things.
Speaker 2: It really is an
Speaker 1: opportunity. It's a chance to
Speaker 1: to invest in relationships and to connect with people in meaningful and significant ways. And when I think about the timing question, the first thought that jumps to my mind is
Speaker 1: even if you hadn't received the text message from them, thanking you for the hostess gift that you brought or host gift that you
Speaker 2: brought.
Speaker 1: And even if
Speaker 1: by the time sunday went by and monday went by and Tuesday morning they woke up and they were saying to themselves, boy, you know,
Speaker 2: usually you would have heard from
Speaker 1: somebody about something
Speaker 1: that by really getting it in the mail and getting it out there, it's going to arrive that day or the next day. And I almost want to guarantee that when the handwritten notarize it will erase any of the questions or doubt and supplant them with the thought of, oh that's what this person takes that level of care with it. I so appreciate that. That's so nice, That's so thoughtful.
Speaker 1: I think that in some ways even that anticipation makes the note land even better
Speaker 2: and
Speaker 1: I wouldn't take that approach every time. I think there's definitely moments where a quick follow up the next day, a text a call
Speaker 1: because you're feeling inspired to do it because you want to because it feels like it was a casual event. This was the way you communicated about it. This is the way you would naturally think about it is a nice thought and you could go ahead and do it and then when the note lands a couple of days later it still makes an impact. But
Speaker 1: big picture, you're in such great shape having that note written and in the mail
Speaker 1: that I think you can almost do no wrong
Speaker 2: and
Speaker 1: in replying to the note that they send, oh, thank you so much for having me notes on it's way
Speaker 2: they're
Speaker 1: giving you the opportunity to engage with that optional text or quicker communication that would follow within a day or two.
Speaker 2: And I don't think that that mention of the note on its way is heavy handed or overly formal or as you state so disproportionately over grateful that it might come across as insincere phony. I just don't, I don't feel like it will carry those tones to it whatsoever. I think someone would be like, oh that
Speaker 2: a notes coming in the mail, you know, like a little thank you notice on its way. I had um for a baby shower, Jamie when I threw Jamie's baby shower last year, she texted me to let me know that her mom was gonna be stopping by with something as a thank you and that was so, so lovely and it just created like
Speaker 2: a little more anticipation and excitement and and something fun to look forward to.
Speaker 2: So I think that you were in really good stead on this one.
Speaker 1: I would even go so far as to confess
Speaker 2: that
Speaker 1: I could imagine a scenario where I would get a texture a call like that and I would be intending to send the note and I would say it's on its way or it's coming and that would be true. Not that it's on its way, but that it's coming,
Speaker 1: but then it would get in the mail after the call and the time delay would reveal that it happened.
Speaker 1: The fact that you've already got it done is so impressive to me and
Speaker 2: dan's worried someone might actually look at a time stamp on this thing.
Speaker 1: I love the impression that it creates that you could get to say it's on its way and it would actually arrived the next day or a day, but
Speaker 2: that wouldn't be like a stretcher or what do we call him? Like a white lie or something like that. Yeah,
Speaker 2: a mickey mouse Y well I wouldn't lie
Speaker 1: about it, but I would, I would say, oh, there's a thank you note coming or something like
Speaker 2: that. I would probably admit to like I was planning on sitting down and writing you a thank you note this afternoon because that dinner was so wonderful. Like I would do something like that,
Speaker 1: Joshua
Speaker 1: keep it up. It sounds like you're doing a great job and it sounds like you have some lovely relationships in your life. Please give our best to your uncle and
Speaker 2: aunt.
Speaker 1: You realize that it's the simple things, being friendly thinking of the other person and showing respect, that make up everyday courtesy.
Speaker 2: This next question is titled, not sure about the napkin and I am so glad to be reading it to my cousin because it's going to allow him to talk about one of his favorite subjects.
Speaker 2: Okay, It was within etiquette.
Speaker 2: Hi lizzie and dan. When should I put my napkin on my lap at dinner, Janice,
Speaker 2: short and sweet because short and sweet
Speaker 1: Janice. Just because lizzie set the question up like she did. I'm going to try to keep my answer as direct as possible and not wax poetic about the significance of the napkin as a utensil at the table.
Speaker 2: Oh no, wax poetic, wax poetic. I love it when you do this. You guys should see the section in our book that came out for napkins because dan waxed poetic. It's
Speaker 1: one of my great contributions to Emily Post etiquette. Is
Speaker 2: that
Speaker 1: I, when I landed at Emily Post and I started teaching our dining etiquette program, I was getting questions about the napkin all the time and we didn't have specific material about napkins. We talked about utensils and table settings and where to set the napkin, but not how you used it or what you did with it at the table.
Speaker 1: And this is really where it all begins. So the direct answer to your question is you put your napkin in your lap when you take your seat at the table and are getting ready to eat. So when the table is set and you're sitting down for the meal,
Speaker 1: particularly casual and informal settings when you take your seat at the table, when you're not going to be
Speaker 1: getting up again, when it's time for you to begin eating,
Speaker 1: you can put your napkin in your lap. And I'd like to tell people it's like home base, it's a safe place you've arrived and you're ready. And
Speaker 1: the only real elaboration on that is that if the answer of when you take your seat at the table and you're ready to eat isn't specific enough, there is another que that you can look for in more formal situations, you can watch your host for cues so you can take your seat
Speaker 1: and wait until your host takes their seats or
Speaker 1: puts their napkin in their lap
Speaker 1: and then you follow suit. So you take your cue from your host because that's the indication that they're ready for the meal to begin.
Speaker 1: So the more formal the situation if you've got a defined host and you're really watching them for cues about all kinds of things like where and when to sit
Speaker 1: and
Speaker 1: probably other things as the meal goes along, following their cue when they put their napkin in their lap is as good a time as any for you to put it in yours.
Speaker 2: I like getting the napkin in the lap early because frankly you never know whether you're going to be Klutzy or the person next to you might be Klutzy and sometimes things like wine or are like pre poured at the table
Speaker 2: um or even that very first one and I could just see in my world I am like it's, it's just uh
Speaker 2: what am I trying to say? I'm like velcro
Speaker 1: for spills
Speaker 2: and messes, that's not the right term for it. But I am, I attract them easily and I still choose to wear white places, but it, it is like for like you said, it's home base, I think of it as safety net,
Speaker 2: like okay my napkins in my lap at least like I'm covered as much as I can be let the feast begin, you know
Speaker 1: and and it's not like you are trying to not disturb the place setting until the food is actually brought out or something like that, it really is about taking your place at the table and like lizzie says that's where your napkin goes. You just never know
Speaker 2: Janice. Thank you so much for the short and sweet question. We hope you enjoy many a good dinner with your napkin in your lap.
Speaker 1: But the housekeeper must tell Betty she has noticed a few errors. A napkin is out of place.
Speaker 1: Small matters, but they are important when they show whether or not your habits of etiquette are correct.
Speaker 1: Thank you for your questions. Please send us updates or feedback on our answers to awesome etiquette Emily Post dot com. You can leave us a voicemail or text at 802858 kind. That's 8028585463 or reach us on social media on twitter. We are at Emily Post inst on instagram, we are at Emily Post institute on facebook were awesome etiquette. Just use the hashtag awesome etiquette with your post so that we know you want your question on the show.
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Speaker 1: It's time for our feedback segment where we hear from you about the questions we answer and the topics we cover and today we have feedback from Beverly about a bridesmaid who didn't want to participate in the bouquet toss.
Speaker 1: Hi folks, I just listened to your advice about the bridesmaid who felt coerced into participating in bouquet tossing. I would have given a very different answer.
Speaker 1: I see this as more akin to a vegetarian being served meat than to being served a food I will eat, but don't prefer
Speaker 1: no matter how kind the intention, That's a no thanks.
Speaker 1: I'm reminded of a story told by friends who have been vegetarians for decades early in their marriage, a relative proudly served them a huge stake. They were taken aback but ate it and then felt extremely ill with experience. However, they have come to own their values in every situation and of many polite ways of refusing meat
Speaker 1: bouquet, tossing like many traditional wedding rituals, giving away the bride announcing. I now present Mr and mrs
Speaker 1: are sexist, pure and simple. I realized that many, maybe most people don't stop to think about the history behind these rituals,
Speaker 1: but now that I know they are as distasteful to me as eating steak tartare would be to a vegetarian.
Speaker 1: Maybe the bridesmaid doesn't feel as strongly as I do, but I would not make that assumption when answering her question.
Speaker 1: These rituals persist because of the kind of advice you gave and people's, especially women's intense need to avoid a scene but there doesn't have to be a scene. The bridesmaid could have said firmly and confidently, oh no need, I don't ever participate in those anyway.
Speaker 1: If the bride was more insistent she could pull her aside and say I'm not going to participate so it's fine to skip it if you want to,
Speaker 1: if you really want to do it, maybe you can find some guys to throw in the mix.
Speaker 1: Obviously this wasn't a big part of the bride's dream day or she would have thought of it earlier
Speaker 1: even if it was one person's dream doesn't require another person's betrayal of values.
Speaker 1: You said that as well. But then went on to give advice about how to betray one's values.
Speaker 1: It has become easier and easier for me to navigate these situations with age. I no longer feel a need to eat that steak.
Speaker 1: The keys are to assume good intentions and to be discreet and kind when declining
Speaker 1: but decline. I have over and over and over
Speaker 1: cheers Beverly
Speaker 1: Beverly thank you so much for the feedback. We certainly don't want anybody to do anything that runs strongly against their values and certainly appreciate the perspective that you share and your encouragement to people to stand firm in their beliefs. Thank you for the feedback
Speaker 2: and thank you for sending us your thoughts and updates. Please keep them coming. You can send your feedback or update to
Speaker 1: awesome etiquette at Emily Post
Speaker 2: dot com or leave us a voicemail or text at 802858 K. I N. D. That's 802858
Speaker 1: 5463.
Speaker 1: Yeah,
Speaker 1: it's time for our post script segment where we dive deeper into a topic of etiquette and today we're going to talk about etiquette from the gilded age. Lizzie has obtained a copy of Miss mary Sherwood's mrs john Sherwood's manners and social usages which is the book that Emily would have learned etiquette from
Speaker 1: lizzie. This is so awesome. Take Us Away.
Speaker 2: No, I was really excited. I found this one on Ebay and I actually found an excellent, excellent version of the book. It's in really good condition and I've got to tell you it's quite a cute little book.
Speaker 2: Um it's it's very small. It's like only probably only six inches long, like tall and then only like four or five across
Speaker 2: and it's very it's very comfortable little book, told dan, I told you that I curled up with it on an afternoon
Speaker 2: And I'll tell you this the addition that I have of it is actually um 10 years old. I think it's called the 4th edition.
Speaker 2: And merry Sherwood writes in the preface. There's to preface is to this particular book and in the preface, she talks about how in the 10 years since she's been producing this book which was Born out of questions that had been written to harper's magazine
Speaker 2: that she doesn't have a whole lot to change. And I I sympathized immediately. There are some
Speaker 2: either decades or five year periods when we go to update, and we're like, you know, not a lot has changed this time, like, there isn't a whole new technology that we use, or a whole new sort of idealism that we have or
Speaker 1: something
Speaker 2: Exactly, 18th to 19th. Not huge updates between those two books. Big differences though, between 18th and 17th and big differences between 19th and soon to be 20th. But as I was, as I was going through and reading, I was really heartened by how much
Speaker 2: I felt like our own etiquette was reflected in this book, mary Sherwood talks about manners changing over time, but the principles of etiquette, and she doesn't use that exact language that we use, but the principles of good character and having a good manner
Speaker 2: stay the same. The idea that we all are in this to try to be nice to each other and to to make a society work
Speaker 2: really were hammered home. And I felt like even if I didn't hear
Speaker 2: Emily completely directly, just referencing merry Sherwood in her own 1922 edition of etiquette, that someone who was raised on a book that talked like this would very easily and of course, who had parents like Emily's would then very easily end up being the type of person Emily was and write the type of etiquette that Emily did.
Speaker 2: Um, and I really appreciated that.
Speaker 2: But there was this one little section that I got into the start of the book gets very quickly into. Its funny, it's, it's the first chapter is titled Women as Leaders, but it talks about them as leading the social charge and then goes into quite a lot of detail about
Speaker 2: leaving cards places and and how you were supposed to drop
Speaker 2: your, your card off, which is your personal card that just has your name and your, I believe address on it
Speaker 2: and you would leave this on the Butler's tray or sometimes it gets sent how
Speaker 1: to format an introductory email.
Speaker 2: Yeah, the 1897 version of that. It was really interesting to read a lot of it and then I came
Speaker 2: to a spot that I really appreciated because it was talking about titles
Speaker 2: and titles is definitely one of the harder sections of our book to write. It can often feel like no matter what you do, it doesn't perfectly match what we need. And yet at the same time it's a formality
Speaker 2: that I think has a lot of beauty to it and that can really stoke the formal fires when you see your name with the title.
Speaker 2: And so it was, it was interesting to, to read it. She also does a lot of comparing to english customs throughout the whole book, which I found really interesting. But I did want to just read a little section
Speaker 2: about the cards and about how a lady might change her name depending on whether her husband is alive or if he has passed. Because that was a particular area of etiquette that I struggle with. I've I've I believe I've even said it incorrectly on this show before.
Speaker 2: Um And so it's one of those where I'm really fascinated and what I really loved about this section
Speaker 2: Was that Mary Sherwood seems to talk about how it's it's not perfect that it it has holes in it or that it's something that is fluctuating with the fashion of how young people are thinking of things. So anyway this is beginning on page 18 and taking us through just a little bit into page 20.
Speaker 2: Remember it's a small book.
Speaker 2: It is rare now to see the names of both husband and wife engraved on one card as mr and mrs Brown. The lady has also her own card, Mrs octavius Brown or with the addition the missus. And that's M. I. S. S. E. S. Brown.
Speaker 2: Her husband has his separate card. Each of the sons has his own card. No titles are used on visiting cards in America save military, naval or judicial ones. And indeed many of our most distinguished judges have had cards printed simply with the name without prefects or affects
Speaker 2: Mr Webster. Mr Winthrop Henry Clay are well known instances of simplicity,
Speaker 2: but a woman must always use the prefix mrs or miss. That's M. I. S. S.
Speaker 2: A gentleman may or may not use the prefix mr as he pleases. But women must treat themselves with more respect.
Speaker 2: No card is less proper than one, which is boldly engraved. Gertrude F Brown. It should be Miss Gertrude F Brown.
Speaker 2: A married lady always bears her husband's name during his life on her card.
Speaker 2: Some discussion is now going on as to whether she should continue to call herself mrs octavius Brown or mrs mary Brown after his death.
Speaker 2: The burden of opinion is in the favor of the latter, particularly as a son may bear his father's name. So there will be two mrs octavius Brown's. No lady wishes to be known as old mrs octavius Brown,
Speaker 2: and as we do not use the convenient title of dowager,
Speaker 2: we may as well take the alternative of the christian name.
Speaker 2: We cannot say mrs octavius Brown jr, if the husband has ceased to be a junior,
Speaker 2: many married ladies hesitate to discard the name by which they have always been known.
Speaker 2: Perhaps the simple mrs Brown is the best after all.
Speaker 2: No lady should leave cards upon an unmarried gentleman, except in the case of his having given entertainments at which ladies were present.
Speaker 2: Then the lady of the house should drive to his door, and that's the lady of the house should drive to his door with the cards of herself and family allowing the footman to leave them.
Speaker 2: It really cracked me up, dan reading this. It's it's so funny. It just, it crack it both cracks me up because you and I have had so many of these similar conversations like wait with juniors once
Speaker 2: the senior has deceased, you no longer called the junior junior. So what do you do? You know, how would you handle this? And I love that she is both entertaining the idea that this is something of a discussion right now. We have to do that quite often, especially in the world of titles.
Speaker 2: To me, it felt so incredibly relatable, even though it was very old advice and of course I'm not going to go,
Speaker 2: I have my mother in whose house I'm probably still living in if I'm single, you know, drop off cards with the other family members cards via our footman. You know, I think we're probably lucky if we had a footman, but it it really it really did paint such a picture. I loved hearing that over 100 years ago. You know, 100 and 20 years, 30 years ago.
Speaker 2: There's still debate and she's she's watching customs change and they're trying to figure out the simple and practical way to deal with things that start to seem fussy and that it just to that I related so well and I just loved reading it. I can't, I can't wait to read more.
Speaker 1: And I'm even hearing hints and notes of
Speaker 1: of trying to figure out how to offer people full respect, how to how to both be practical and like you say, not too fussy, but also
Speaker 1: um find a place for everybody in ways to present people in in the best possible way. It's like the the answers are different, but a lot of the concerns that I'm sensing behind them are very similar.
Speaker 2: Well, and I love the difference of how, like, like today, I don't think if someone addressed me as just lizzie post that I would feel disrespected and yet I know even a generation prior
Speaker 2: that that can easily be a feeling of if you don't use the title like Mr Mr or Mrs in front of someone's name,
Speaker 2: that it would feel disrespectful and I'm in here I love her call out specifically to women, like, yeah, men, men can try to do the no title thing, like, but women, we, we need to demand this respect. And that title is what does it? It's just such an interesting perspective shift on, on life in the day
Speaker 1: and I'm joking and I'm not joking. I think it's a phenomenal reading and I want to hear more.
Speaker 2: Oh, we definitely will. There's a lot that will come out of this book. I've I've just been tickled pink. I did go to one particular section. We had a listener who wrote to us via instagram and was asking for a comparison of the tables that were laying at the, in the gilded age tv show
Speaker 2: and the english versus the american way and that sort of thing. And I was hoping I might find something in a chapter that was about comparing english to american customs and it actually ended up being
Speaker 2: way more about americans traveling to England and getting used to the fact that although we both speak english, we speak very different languages and there are very different customs
Speaker 2: and it was funny she's almost recommending that americans just stay at hotels that are meant for foreign travelers because they'll be more comfortable than with all of the little nuances of staying at the bed and breakfast which have very interesting rules about like
Speaker 2: taxes that get applied if you, if you bring alcohol onto the premises premises. Excuse me, taxes that get applied if you do this or the way that people expect certain tips to be happening. And it was it was just really interesting to hear her comparing the norms that people from either culture would be used to and what would feel different to them even though we speak the same language. I'm really delighted that I picked up this book.
Speaker 2: I think it's a really, really fun one and I would encourage any of you to to find a good vintage book dealer on ebay and and enjoy all the delicious things that you can delve into.
Speaker 1: Thank you for taking us back from five generations back to a generation before that
Speaker 1: I
Speaker 2: am so excited. This will come with
Speaker 1: me on vacation. This will be my be treed.
Speaker 1: Mm hmm,
Speaker 2: mm hmm mm hmm.
Speaker 1: We like to end our show on a high note. So we turn to you to hear about the good etiquette you're seeing and experiencing out in the world and that can come in so many forms Today we have a salute from Claire
Speaker 1: Claire begins.
Speaker 1: I was running along a fairly busy four lane road the other day when I saw a car stopped in one lane, it's bumper had fallen off the front of the car and a young woman had gotten out of the car and was standing next to it looking at her phone probably making a call or contacting her insurance or triple A.
Speaker 1: A man was running the opposite direction from me and he stopped to ask the woman if she was okay and then kindly and gently told her you're in a pretty dangerous place here because her car was in one of the lanes at the bottom of a hill and could easily be hit by another car.
Speaker 1: He then proceeded to help the woman reattach the bumper to the car using bungee cords so she could safely drive the car to the side of the road and be safely out of harm's way.
Speaker 1: I was so inspired by this man's kindness that I thought of what I could do to help as well and ended up standing on the median on the road so I could flag to approaching drivers that they should move to the next lane so they wouldn't hit the man and the young woman as they worked on the car, it would have been so easy for the man to keep running by and not help.
Speaker 1: And I was touched
Speaker 1: to see him do so much for a stranger.
Speaker 1: Claire.
Speaker 2: Oh Claire, thank you so much for sharing this salute because it's not just a kindness out in the world today, but it's also a safety thing and that's, it's so important. We often say that safety supersedes etiquette and and I like seeing them both work together as well
Speaker 1: and good job getting involved yourself. Thank you so much for the salute,
Speaker 1: Bye
Speaker 1: and
Speaker 2: thank you for listening
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Speaker 1: Our show is edited by Kris Albertine and assistant produced by Bridget Dowd.
Speaker 2: Thanks. Kristen,
Speaker 1: Bridget
Speaker 1: mm hmm.