Tag Archives: etiquette

Dear Young Putz

We just crossed paths at an office building not too far from me. My husband had some business to take care of, and I was waiting for him in the lobby. There was one chair there, occupied by your ridiculously young self. I leaned against the wall for 5 minutes, while you were sprawled all over the easy chair answering your email and BBMs. You looked up, saw me leaning against the wall. Did you offer me your seat? No. Did it even occur to you that it might be the chivalrous thing to do? No.

In fact, you finally got up to talk to the receptionist, and I immediately sat down in the seat you vacated. Within a few seconds you turned around and saw that I was sitting in “your” seat. I could see the frustration on your face that you had lost your seat. I busied myself with MY blackberry.

I know I am not an old woman by any means, but I have at least 15 years on you. I was brought up that if a lady is standing, then no men are sitting. My husband would have given up his seat for any woman – young or old, it is immaterial. But then he was brought up in a time where men were gentlemen and knew what chivalry was.

It’s a shame that it didn’t bother you to see me standing for minutes on end. It’s a shame that you were not brought up with the right values. Would I have taken the seat if you offered it? Maybe, maybe not. But it would have been the correct thing for you to do to offer.

I think I will stop before I start wagging my index finger at you and call you a young whippersnapper.

Signed

A very disgruntled HSM

WWYD – telephone

So you are hanging out with friends, and one of them has to use the facilities. While in there, their cell phone rings and it’s on the table next to you. Is it etiquette to leave it alone or should one answer it? What if it’s your spouse’s phone? Should you ignore or pick up?

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Mechitzah Etiquette

Can someone explain to me how come it is acceptable for a man to come on the woman’s side of the mechitzah at shul, at a function, anywhere, BUT if a woman should even dare stick her pinky toe on their side it’s a huge scandal? Where is this written? And what on earth are the reasons behind it?

I have 4 sons, sometimes I need to access them, and that necessitates a trip or two into the male domain. I am going there to help out a child not to ogle the menfolk or make an entrance. If my son needs me I am there. Period. Personally, I care not one whit whether I am going where no woman has gone before, but when my sons are asked to tell their mother to leave, it gets my back up.

So lets here it, my intelligent readers – what’s the reason for this double standard?

Table Manners

Maybe it’s the Brit in me, but there are certain manners that are very important to me, and I insist on teaching them to my kids. (Now I am in no way, shape or form saying that all my kids follow all of these things all the time….but in an ideal world they would)

One of my biggest pet peeves is the drinking of soup. First of all, slurping it is just so rude! I have been to business lunches etc and these most powerful executives just slurp it up without a thought.  Secondly, one is supposed to keep one’s back straight and bring the soup spoon up to the mouth. I know that somewhere there is a halachic backing to this too – the soup serves us, we are not supposed to bow down to it. You are also supposed to scoop the soup away from you.

No elbows on the table, put hands in laps unless needed to eat, no fingers in food, napkins are there in order to protect your clothes, not hide food you don’t like. No reaching across people for the dish you want, ask for it to be passed. If there is no salt on the table, do not insult the hostess by asking for it. No talking with mouth full or wiping mouth on sleeve. No knife in mouth, ever. Chew with your mouth closed. Don’t use napkins to blow your nose – don’t blow your nose at the table. Euw. Don’t pick your teeth or lick your fingers at the table either. Keep all chair legs on the floor.

A big one in my house – there is to be no reading at the table (no texting or talking on the phone either). Meal times are family times, everyone needs to contribute to the conversation.

If you have a food allergy let the hostess know way before time so she can accommodate you. (I live by this, having a fatal mushroom allergy).

In our house I expect the kids to wait to eat until everyone is served and sitting down. (except for soup, it’s ok to start that because it’s hot).

When one is done eating I was taught to put my knife and fork on the plate, at an angle, to signify I am done with this course.

When the kids were little I taught them to ask to be excused from the table when they were done eating. I remembered the youngest one being 2 and piping up “please I be scused from table?” – very cute. They surprise a lot of people by doing this, but so many have said they wish their kids were so polite. I still insist they all ask permission, especially when we are eating somewhere else.

When you start with the kids young enough you can get most of these manners ingrained. However I find that most children these days wouldn’t know table manner if they smacked them upside the head. Many adults too, unfortunately. Good manners go a long way.

ETA – I absolutely insist that all baseball caps or hats of any kind are removed before sitting at the table, unless worn for religious reasons (that covers my hats and snoods) . Breakfast is fine to eat in pajamas, but no other meals.