How much do you really know about drinking wine? In my case, not much. It was not until very recently that I learned that I did not know how to hold a wine glass properly (Hint: Hold it by the stem, not the cup). Let’s all learn the basics about wine together.
Pick a Color
First, there are two main categories of wine: white wine or red wine. White wines are mostly made of white grapes; they are made without skins or seeds. The skins are separated from the juice and yeast is added for fermentation. White wines are lighter and have a crisp, fruity flavor and aroma. Red wine is made from the darker red and black grapes. On another note, sparkling wine is a wine with significant levels of carbon dioxide in it, making it fizzy.
Bonus Tip: Champagne is the same thing as sparkling wine, the only difference being that sparkling wine can only be called champagne if it comes from the region of Champagne, France.
Hold the Glass Correctly and Stare at Your Glass
To hold wine, you can grab either the stem or hold onto the base of the wine glass. Never grab the bowl portion of the wine glass because holding it by the “bowl” warms your drink, which is not what you want. You hold champagne flutes the same way. While sipping your drink, remember to stare directly into your glass because it is impolite to look at another person while drinking if you are in conversation.
Let It Breathe
When you drink wine, you need to perform a practice called “letting it breathe.” Letting a wine breathe is when you expose the wine to the air to facilitate and promote the exchange of wine molecules with air molecules. Letting the wine breathe makes it easier to smell, which therefore makes the wine taste better since our sense of taste is directly affected by our sense of smell. You can let the wine breathe by swirling the wine. To swirl the wine, you can either place the glass firmly on the table and swirl it by the stem, or, as an alternative, you can pick the wine glass up and twist your wrist in circles.
How to Pour Wine
Know the appropriate measurements when pouring drinks. Red wine glasses should be 1/3 full, white wine should be ½ full, and sparkling wine or champagne should be ¾ full. Always “twist pour,” which is when you twist the bottle at the end of pouring.
Here’s a great guide to wine tasting:
Going to a party? Brush up on your etiquette lessons. Want to learn how to be the ultimate lady after the party? Learn how to write a classy thank you note for the host.
I haven’t written in some time for Ladies Again because I’ve been so busy preparing for nursing school. In the past few months, I have had the opportunity to observe different groups of women in various environments, including at school and at my part-time job in an upscale hotel. For the past few months, I have seen the way the women can be kind, thoughtful and supportive, and, at times, competitive, demeaning and cruel to others. In each environment, I noticed that some women carried themselves better than others by choosing to refrain from engaging in catty or cliquey destructive behavior.
There was a clique of women in one of my classes that would gossip about other students, and sigh loudly or giggle when a student would ask the professor simple questions or when a student would struggle to complete lab assignments. Those women were immature and childish. But I noticed that there are other women in the class who asked thoughtful questions during the class and stayed mostly to themselves. It was the same situation at the hotel job–some women engaged in catty behavior and gossiped about their coworkers or customers, while others stayed mostly to themselves.
I believe that the women who choose to ignore catty behavior are much more sophisticated than the women who engage in cliquey, mean-girl behavior. Those women tend to be much classier, introspective and emotionally intelligent people than the women who engage in school-girl cliques. Sometimes it is easy to get wrapped up in gossiping about others or joining others in griping about an issue, but it takes a great deal of strength and restraint to refrain from negative and destructive behaviors.
What are you doing every week to be calm, collected and classy? And how do you decide when a woman is sophisticated?
Are you successful in your dating life, but unsuccessful in your love life? While it’s easy to say that men are intimidated by your success, the odds are that the reality of the situation is much different. What is more likely is that you are bringing the masculine skills that you use at work into your dating relationships, and it is a major turn off for the men you are dating. I’m not knocking successful working women—it’s great that you have figured out a way to support yourself by being direct, aggressive, competitive and goal-oriented at work. I am instead knocking women who have not figured out that you cannot carry over your aggressiveness and competitiveness into your dating life and expect men to fall in love with you. Men fantasize about Sofia Vergara’s curves and softness, not Hillary Clinton’s crisp grey pantsuit.
I learned this first-hand from an experience I had with an ex-boyfriend. We were once sharing stories about ex-spouses, and he mentioned that he dated a successful financial manager. He told me that he had to break up with her because she was too controlling. She would decide everything, from where they would go to eat or watch a movie, and by the end of their relationship, she was even giving him orders when they were at home like he was her employee. I remember him saying “If I have to deal with orders all day at work, why would I want to come home to someone causing problems too?”
In this case, the woman did not understand that she has to be nurturing with her spouse, not cold, combative and domineering. Most women do not know that they are behaving this way with men unfortunately, and it shows in research. In the book “Why He Didn’t Call You Back: 1,000 Guys Reveal What They Really Thought About You After Your Date,” 1,000 men surveyed say that they are turned off the most by masculine, argumentative and controlling women. In fact, a large percentage of men surveyed for that book say that they are more likely to dismiss women for bossy behavior than any other kind of behavior. The men classified bossy women in six ways: controlling, argumentative, competitive, unfeminine, excessively independent, and unnurturing.
Since heterosexual men are attracted to women, it makes sense that they are not attracted to masculine women. They want feminine, caring women. In fact, many men surveyed say that the preferred jobs for their future wife are schoolteachers, nurses or chefs. How can you tell if you are a bossy, unfeminine woman? Here are a few questions for you, adapted from “Why He Didn’t Call You Back”:
Have you ever said “I want a man, but I don’t need one!”
Has anyone ever told you “You’d make a great lawyer”?
Do you usually organize events and outings?
Have you ever went on a date wearing your work clothes?
Do you think you can be defensive?
Do you think your career defines you?
How You Can Be Less of a Bossy Lady
Let the man take the lead: Try to manage your controlling side by relaxing and letting the man decide the date location. Or, if you’re already in a relationship, always ask for your spouse’s input on all couple decisions, no matter how small. The man needs to take the lead, or at least feel like he is taking the lead and making decisions. That is the way the world works, and you need to accept that the man needs to feel like a man.
Leave work at work: Don’t spend more than a few minutes talking about work with a date, if you are dating, otherwise, your date will feel like a business dinner.
Dress like a lady: Don’t go on a date wearing your work clothes. Your date clothes should reveal some, but not a lot, of skin. You should be wearing a feminine dress or fitting skirt on a date, not a suit or baggy shift dress.
Find ways to be kind: You job as a woman is to make your man feel as though your existence makes life easier for him than if he lived without you. Figure out a way to be kind and give gifts to your spouse or date. In the book, the author discussed the way one woman would have a bowl of peanuts ready for her husband when he returned home every night from work. Find ways to be kind on a regular basis to your spouse.
Seek therapy: It can be difficult to be a modern woman because we have to find ways to juggle one aggressive personality at work, and another personality at home with our spouses, friends and family. If you have a hard time turning off your workplace behavior, consider going to a therapist or counselor to learn how to better control your masculine impulses (because it’s interfering with your love life!).
As a classy woman, what do you have to offer these men that will make them come back for more? It certainly isn’t sex because these men can easily get sex from a random promiscuous woman at a local bar. It isn’t your looks because there are millions of beautiful women in the world, so that doesn’t make you in particular special. Could it be your DVD collection? No, these men probably do not want to see your movie collection because they probably have a Netflix account. So, what will bring them back for more once you’ve already caught their eye?
Your nurturing side will keep them coming back. Can you cook a decent meal? Is your home tidy and neat or messy and cluttered? Can you give back or neck massages? How often do you show your friends and family that you care about them? When is the last time you gave someone a gift when it wasn’t the holiday season or their birthday? How often do you give hugs? What does your home really smell like? Be honest.
Feminine and caring women have an advantage in today’s dating market. Since it is the winter season and many people have downtime at work, now may be a good time to brush up on your Susie Homemaker domestic skills. Here are a few ideas:
The U.S. weight-loss industry earned $20 billion in 2012, which included diet books, diet drugs and weight-loss surgeries. And yet, the number of obese Americans officially outnumbers the number of overweight Americans. We are at epidemic levels of obesity: 68 percent of all Americans are obese or overweight. What is causing this disconnect? It could be that Americans are looking for weight loss answers in all of the wrong places. As a college nutritional science student, I talk about weight-loss strategies and treatments nearly everyday, and I know that there are several indisputable factors that contribute to obesity. Let’s ignore all of the trendy fad diets and weight loss products dominating the weight loss conversation today and talk about weight loss strategies that actually work.
Weight loss is a subject that we at Ladies Again are interested in because health status greatly impacts an individual’s value in the dating and marriage market. It is simple: Healthy, successful men want to date, marry and reproduce with healthy women who can produce and raise healthy offspring. In general, people are looking for partners who will live long and healthy lives, not shortened lives muddled by the consequences of obesity, such as stroke, heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and liver and kidney diseases (obesity may shorten life expectancy up to 14 years). Not to mention that obesity adds up to expensive medical bills (someone has to pay for the doctor’s appointments and medications for diabetes, blood pressure and cholesterol). In sum, losing weight is very challenging, but doing so significantly boosts your overall health and value in the dating market. Weight loss is hard, but always worth the effort.
So what causes obesity? Obesity is caused when the amount of energy inputted into the body exceeds the energy released by the body. It is that simple. When excess fat is consumed and not used, the body stores the fat in fat cells of the adipose tissues. As the fat cells accumulate they expand in size. When the excess fat exceeds the fat cells, it is distributed and deposited in vital organs, such as the heart and the liver, which leads to heart failure and fatty liver. The wonderful thing about the body is that is highly adaptable, so when excess fat is consumed, the fat cells increase in number and expand to accommodate. Unfortunately, this also means that when we lose weight, the fat cells only shrink in size, but never in number. This is why people with excess fat tend to regain lost weight rapidly because their fat cells readily fill. This means that we must work very hard to make sure that excess fat cells do not develop.
Aside from genetic variants, there are two major factors for obesity: high overall caloric intake (high proportion sizes) and physical inactivity. Humans have developed to hunt for our meat or walk long distances for fruits and vegetables. Now, it takes no effort to order a Big Mac or a pizza―you don’t even have to leave your house anymore to order food (we really should say “food” in quotation marks since we’re talking about foods filled with trans fats, high-fructose corn syrup and white flours). Unfortunately, high-caloric food is always within close range, and Americans eat this food in abundance. Second, Americans rarely exercise―we drive to our homes, where we eat pizza on the couch while watching television. There is a misconception that humans need to only exercise 30 minutes per day to stay healthy. “People must be physically active if they are to eat enough food to deliver all the nutrients they need without unhealthy weight gain,” wrote Whitney and Rolfers in Understanding Nutrition. To prevent weight gain, the Dietary Reference Intakes recommends 60 minutes of moderately intense (get that heart rate beating) exercise each day. Per day. More exercise is recommended if losing weight is the goal.
There’s a lot of incorrect weight loss advice floating around. The problem with fad diets is that they are difficult to sustain long-term and often promote inadequate diets (our bodies need a certain amount of carbohydrates, proteins and healthy fats per day to function). Lose weight too quickly, and you risk losing muscle tissue instead of fat, which is dangerous and defeats the point of dieting to maintain optimal health.
So how do you lose weight the safe way? Try these effective nutritional and physical activity strategies:
Set Reasonable Goals
Understand and accept that losing weight is a challenge, and it is dangerous to lose weight too quickly. The safe rate for weight loss is 0.5 to 2 lbs (or 0.2 or 0.9 kg) per week; or 10 percent of body weight every six months.
Reduce Energy Intake
Obesity is caused by an energy imbalance, where more energy is being consumed than expended. So to lose weight safely, a person must increase activity and reduce food intake by creating a deficit of 300 to 500 calories per day (for people with a BMI of 27 to 35). This will produce a weight loss of 1-2 pounds per week, which will make sure that you lose fat but also retain your lean muscle tissue.
Emphasize Nutritional Adequacy
Each day, healthy humans need to eat a certain amount of carbohydrates, proteins and fats to maintain bodily functioning. Out of all of the calories we consume, 45-65 percent should be carbohydrates (fruits, vegetables, whole grains), 20-35 percent should be fats and 10-35 should be protein. You need a balance of all three nutrients.
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ABCDEFGH[/youtube]Fad diets that tell dieters to reduce carbohydrates never work because we need good carbs to function properly. Too little carbohydrates isn’t good because the body takes proteins and turns them into glucose in a process called gluconeogenesis. Your brain and muscles need glucose from carbs to function! Also, the body cannot process too much protein, so our bodies excrete the amino acids through our urea (this puts stress on our kidneys).
Try to eat a diet of fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes and lean protein, such as turkey or seafood. So to lose weight, simply consume less of all of the food you eat, but continue to eat a balanced diet. Do not reduce your proportion of carbohydrates, proteins or fat―only reduce your total caloric intake.
Bigbox grocery stores tend to put packaged foods in the center of the store. Excluding whole grain pastas and jarred vegetables, most of the valuable nutrient-dense fruits and vegetables, lean meats and dairy products are located on the outskirts of the grocery store aisles; the junk foods are all in the center. Try shopping by avoiding the center aisles of your grocery stores. Or simply try shopping at farmer’s markets. Finally, get in the habit of reading nutritional labels. Check for processed sugars, “natural flavors” (which are actually just fragrances) and artery-clogging trans fats.
A few other nutritional changes you can make:
Eat slower: Allow your body to tell your brain that you have reached satiety and are full. Fast eating correlates with higher weights.
Drink water: Try to go one week by just drinking water to quench your thirst and nothing else. Why? Because sugar-sweetened beverages have been closely linked to obesity. Also, water, increases fullness and reduces hunger, and consequently reduces energy intake.
Don’t eat 3 hours before bed: Your body needs time to process your meal, so don’t eat too late at night.
Finally, think of your body as a temple. Dismiss and ignore empty caloric drinks and snacks. You have too many life goals and things to offer than to put a 700-calorie burger in your body. Your body is too precious to treat it like a garbage can. Remember that the next time you pass by a cupcake shop.
I went for a two hour walk today. That means that there were a lot of things that did not get done. While I was walking I was listening to an audiobook my sister recommended entitled “The One Thing” by Gary Keller. Although, this book was not written specifically for women (in fact it is very popular in business circles amongst entrepreneurs), I think it has huge implications for womanhood and feminism. The book was simple, straight to the point, and surprisingly common sense. So common sense, in fact, that it was the epitome of the cliché that “common sense is not so common”. It said everything I have always thought, but have never been able to put into words and contained lots of surprisingly practical advice. This best-kept secret of productivity that Mr. Keller spoke about can be summed up into three words “the one thing”.
The One Thing
“The One thing” is a complicated yet simple idea that says (in entirely too simple words) that you can’t have it all. You have to choose. The book debunks myths like “the multi-tasking myth” and “the balanced life” myth, and explains to us that in order to be most effective in life we need to narrow down our focus. This probably sounds terribly limiting, but it’s actually not when you fully understand it. It is actually extremely freeing. In fact, as I listened to the audiobook, I got excited thinking about all the tedious and time-wasting tasks I hope to eliminate from my life to get down to the one thing.
The Domino Effect
One of the first illustrations Keller described in the book was how a single domino can cause a ripple effect that knocks down a slew of other dominoes in succession. He then went on to discuss how a researcher found that a single domino can knock down a domino twice its size and that when the bigger domino does the same to another twice its own size and this pattern repeats, by the 57th domino, we’re knocking down a domino that reaches the moon!
This interesting narrative depicts the power of a small action having large effects. People in business often talk of the Pareto effect which states that 80 percent of all results come from 20 percent of all actions. What Keller is saying with the domino effect is that a person can narrow down their actions to a single action that by doing so it will make all other actions easier or unnecessary.
Why Women Need to Stop Competing With Men
At the end of the day, this has huge implications for women and feminism. Modern feminism pushes women to want to achieve more and more and multi-task and do EVERYTHING men are doing. The problem with this is that when your goal is to out-perform someone whose circumstances are not compatible with your own, you end up not doing what is best for yourself. As I said when I started this article, when you make a choice to do something, other things do not get done.
The One Thing Women Should Do
After listening to most of the book (I’m about 75 percent done), I have decided to cut a lot of the crazier things out of my life. Crazy goals, that while interesting, are ultimately meaningless to my quality of life; and crazy people, who waste my time and drive me to unproductive and unhealthy activities or just overall want to use me. Over a year ago, I completely stopped watching television, but I think that in order to become even more productive I need to cut out excessive internet activities as well. With all that being cut out, I should have more time for practicing cooking, spending time with family and achieving that one big impactful goal that is most meaningful to me. Keller says that everyone can begin by asking themselves one very important question: What is the one thing you can do right now that will make everything else easier or unnecessary? This question is a great place to start (and the book is a great place to continue), but as you begin to go down this rabbit hole, be prepared to let things go including your ego, pride, sense of entitlement and selfishness. Hopefully, it will lead you to at the end of your life having let go of the one thing most people cringe over: regret.
The fact of the matter is, the more you try to do, the less you get done. If you try to be a superwoman who sweeps up in the board room, your personal relationships will most likely suffer (and vice versa). So, my recommendation is sit down with yourself and figure out the one thing that would make your life meaningful. What is the one thing that will make your toil worth it in the end? Continue asking yourself, “what’s my one thing today?” I really believe that this little change will transform the quality of your entire life.
I like to talk, like a lot. Especially if I’m dating a guy that I connect with. One of the best parts of being in a relationship is being able to have honest and intimate conversations with a person who knows you better than you even know yourself. But I, like a lot of young women, had to learn the hard way that everything should not be shared with a man, your coworkers or your relatives. There is such thing as polite conversation.
In her book “Commonsense Etiquette,” Marjabelle Young Stewart argues that unpleasant conversation causes undue stress to others. She writes:
I find that the best table conversations, whether for a family dinner or a formal one, are those that are of interest to most or all the people at the table and that have elements of humor or surprise. I try to avoid subjects that are unpleasant and likely to cause distress or argument. Detailed recountings of the mundane events of the day probably won’t add much to a meal, but amusing stories and bits of news will.
In other words, be pleasant. At all times. Otherwise, you close doors to potential opportunities at work and with potential suitors. Since we are concerned with relationships at Ladies Again, here are a few things you should never discuss with a man you are interested in, as long as you live:
Bodily fluids. Why do so many women want to talk to men about their periods? I do not understand the logic of being gross with your man. No one wants to date a woman who talks freely about farting, burping or vomiting after a hard night of drinking with the girls. Polite conversation is for the man’s benefit, not yours, because you do not want to make him feel uncomfortable. I know that as a woman you probably feel comfortable enough with your spouse to discuss everything about your life, but trust me, he does not ever want to hear it. Save the conversations about bodily fluids with your mom, friends or gynecologist.
Your sexual history. In When Harry Met Sally, the two main characters casually joke over lunch about their previous sexual experiences. It was a cute moment in the film, but a scene like that never happens in reality. A man never wants to hear details about your previous sexual experiences. Remember, you are lady and you need to act accordingly. It is unacceptable for you to brag about the number of men you have slept with or discuss your reckless sexually fluid past. It is disgusting to do so because you are not, and will never be, one of the guys. For many men, it is just as grotesque for a woman to discuss her sexual escapades as it is for a woman to discuss her menstrual cycle.
Always keep your number of sexual partners close to your heart. Let’s remember that ladies keep their number of sexual partners low because they do not want to get emotionally attached or impregnated by the wrong man. Therefore, you should only be thinking about having sex with men who are in committed relationships with you. Second, you should avoid any conversation about past sexual partners. In general, if your number of sexual partners is already high, you will have to lie if the conversation comes up. Remember to play coy in bed; you have never tried crazy sex positions before and you have no idea how oral sex works.
Your past relationships. It is just in bad form to discuss past relationships as it is to discuss your sexual escapades. You do not want to make your current beau feel jealous or inadequate by blabbering about your exes. Or make him feel like he is dating used goods or community property. As far as you know, your ex-boyfriend is dead to you. Also, never discuss any crazy dates you have been on. From henceforth, all ex-boyfriends are now referred to “friends.” You did not go to that wedding with your ex-fiance, you went with a friend from college. All photos and videos of you with your ex-boyfriend must be destroyed.
Did I miss any other impolite conversation topics? Let me know in the comments below.
I’m on a strict dating regime where I am looking specifically for a man who would like to be married sometime in the near future. I have never slept around frivolously, but I have certainly wasted my time dating and hanging out with men who were not serious about long-term relationships (see the alpha male I dated here). I have been on maybe 15 dates in the last month, some good, some bad. Along the way, I have learned a few lessons from men circulating in the dating world.
Above all, I have learned that a man will show you immediately if he is interested in dating you for the long-term. Likewise, a person (even a friend!) will also show you very quickly if their intentions do not match with yours. You just have to pay attention to the following signs that they are not excited about the prospect of forming a relationship with you:
If he invites you back to his place multiple times, you have already lost the potential for a relationship. A man will make up any excuse to get a woman he is interested in to his bedroom. It is a telling sign if all of his date ideas involve doing something at his house. Let’s watch a movie at my place. I have to return my motorcycle helmet. I left my wallet upstairs. There is weed at my house. I need to check on my cat. (Note: Is it bad that I once fell for that last one? I really wanted to see the cat!). A lady would have communicated at some point on the first date that you want to take things slowly. Ladies say confidently “I don’t do casual” and respectable men listen and take heed. If a man pushes your boundaries and tries multiple times to get you back to his place, then you already know that he is only after the sex. If he brings up sex at all on the first date, it is already over.
If he is annoyed by your high standards for commitment, then he is not the guy for you. This is a good thing―now you know the kind of man that you are dating up front, within the first few weeks of dating. Better to know now than to sleep with him and get emotionally and physically invested in the relationship. True ladies have sex with men who are emotionally invested in them.
If he does not make plans to see you again, he does not care if he sees you again. You met a great man and you cannot wait to see him again. But how does he feel about you really? Pay close attention to how he asks you out on a second date. A man that is really interested in you will make plans for a second date during the first date. He will already have ideas about seeing you again. A guy who feels only so-so about you will get around to following up with you when he feels like it.
If he does not call you or return phone calls promptly, he is not excited to talk to you. A man that is truly interested in you will go out of his way to call you and hear your voice. If he does not care what you are doing on the weekend, he does not actually care about you on a relationship level. An interested man wants to know what you are doing during the week; a less-interested man may only call to find out when you are going to come over to his place to have sex. A less-interested man is only calling you for his own selfish reasons because he wants to know when you are coming over to please him. Additionally, a man that is not really into you will text you rather than call you. He will text once or twice a week, if that.
If he wants to split the check every time, he is not interested in acting as a provider. If he wants to split the check with you every time, you are just someone that he is hanging out with, not someone that he wants to provide for. Worse, if he insists that you pay your fair share every time, he might be a secret white knight Feminazi in disguise.
If he disappears for days at a time, he does not care about keeping you informed about his life. You do not have to talk to your date every day, but if you do not hear from him for days at a time, then he is not really interested in you. I once dated a guy who went missing for ten days without warning. His cell phone was off and he did not return my phone calls or text messages (allegedly, he was on a business trip; the relationship ended immediately after that experience). Pay particular attention to men who pull disappearing acts because you do not want to end up, for instance, pregnant and tied to an absentee father.
If he introduces you as a friend, he is not totally committed to the idea of dating you. Relationship titles matters because it helps both parties in a relationship understand how they are connected to one another. Additionally, men tend to be protective, so a man who is interested in you wants to know that you are loyal and committed to him. If he does not want to put a label on the relationship after weeks or months of dating, then he is not completely interested in you.
If he does not want to talk about the future, then he does not care about having a future with you. Men who are interested in marriage and kids will not panic when you bring up those subjects.
When men show any of these signs, the potential for a relationship is already gone. It is then time for you to move on and begin to date someone new. So really, it is not that you’ve lost the guy, but that he has already lost you.
I’ve always gotten nervous by the idea of eating in fine restaurants, and my fear of publicly embarrassing myself while dining out seems to grow as I get older. I wonder: Which fork should I use? What happens if I spill food on myself? Or worse, what happens if I mispronounce a word on the menu? Will everyone in the restaurant, waitstaff included, know that I am a phony who does not deserve to eat there?
No one wants to be the rube at a restaurant or country club who looks painfully out of place. One of the ways I’m protecting myself from public embarrassment is to read as many etiquette books as I possibly can. In one great book titled “Commonsense Etiquette,” Marjabelle Young Stewart outlines basic table manners and provides historical and contextual explanations for each rule, which in turn, makes each rule easier to comprehend and memorize. She writes:
Since all manners arise from the instinct to treat others kindly, table manners will actually benefit those who use them and those who view them. Simple consideration is the bedrock of all good behavior, table manners included, and once you understand that, you can eat at any table with confidence.
Take one rule and Stewart will explain the rationale behind the purpose of the table manner. Let’s start by looking at the rule that requires guest to sit up straight and to keep their elbows off the table. Why? The reasoning is that slouching over your meal prevents you from looking directly at the other guests around you. If you put your elbows on the table, you appear to look bored or tired at the table. Sit up straight, eat with one hand, and place your stationary hand in your lap. Below, I will share a few basic table etiquette rules from the book:
Basic Rules to Memorize
Sit up straight.
Chew quietly with your mouth closed and never slurp liquids.
Cut foods into bite-sized pieces, one piece at a time (for example, do not cut all of your steak pieces before you eat, or you will look like you are cutting up food for a child).
Do not stuff your mouth.
Do not hold your utensil in midair while talking or listening.
Keep your elbows off the table. You cannot sit up attentively if you are leaning on your arms.
Ask your companions to pass you food that is far away.
Always say ‘please’ or ‘thank you’ when foods are passed and when accepting and declining food.
Excuse yourself when you leave the table.
Compliment the cook for the effort of preparing the meal.
Never pick your teeth, clean your nails, comb your hair or put on lipstick at the table. Excuse yourself and go to the bathroom to blow your nose.
Remember that proper table settings are quite logical, as they reflect the order in which the utensils should be used. We start with the outermost fork or spoon in the setting and work our way in, usually using one utensil per course. If you are served soup, then the table will offer a soup spoon on the outside right of your place setting.
If you do not know which utensil to use, wait until your host or hostess takes the first bite and observe which utensil he or she uses.
Once you have used a utensil, put it on the side of your plate, never back on the table.
When you are resting between bites, you can place your knife and fork across one another in the middle of your plate.
When you are finished with the course, place them parallel to one another and on one side of your plate, which signals to the waiter that you are finished.
Gravy may be aired over meat and potatoes but not over vegetables.
The first thing you should do when sitting at a formal dinner is put the napkin in your lap.
At the beginning of the meal, wait for the person who prepared the meal to sit and begin before beginning yourself.
When presented with a finger bowl, dip your fingers in the water, and blot them in your napkin.
You may be served sorbet between courses; this is meant to cleanse the palate and you do not need to eat all of it.
Never grab a fork and hold it like a shovel. Avoid arching your wrists.
All food must be eaten in manageable bites without overfilling the mouth; chewing is to be done with the mouth closed. Wolfing down food aggressively does not denote enthusiasm but greed.
Usually food is passed to the right because most people are right-handed and it is easier to reach the food.
A formal dinner typically includes the following elements: appetizer, soup, appetizer, meat, salad and dessert.
Pay your fair share when dining at a restaurant with friends. If you order a steak for 16 dollars , while everyone else has an appetizer for 3 dollars, make sure to pay extra for your share.
Never split pennies at the table, as it will waste time, irritate your fellow diners and put a damper on the meal.
Communication today, it seems, is mostly digital. You fire off emails to your supervisor, you send text messages to your siblings and friends and you peruse blogs and social media platforms after work hours. While it is great that the world’s digital transformation is making it easier to get work done, we are losing a bit of our sense of humanity and social connectedness in the process. Nothing is as gracious or thoughtful as the written word and emails and text messages are far more disposable, temporary and impersonal.
If you had to guess, when would you say was the last time that you sent a friend or a relative a letter or a thank you card? I send out Christmas cards to my family members annually, but that is the only mass mailing I send out every year. I may send my mother a “Thinking of You” card every now and then, but I am not consistent with my mailings to her. And I cannot remember the last time I sent a handwritten note to anyone.
While no computer screen can make up for all of the visceral components of personal, face-to-face interactions, there are ways to show relatives and friends that you care about them. You can send personalized letters, cards and thank-you notes. Letters mean such a great deal to the people who receive them, which is why it is important to remind your love ones that you care about them. I spent a great deal of time this summer memorizing helpful pointers from Marjabelle Young Stewart’s etiquette book “Commonsense Etiquette,” a book that explores ways to behave with courtesy and style. Is there anything more ladylike than basic etiquette? After reading the text, I followed Stewart’s advice and sought out personal stationery. She recommends that readers keep on hand the following materials:
Formal Writing Paper
This paper is used to respond to formal invitations and write condolence letters. This paper should be plain white or cream of fine heavy stock. Remember that formal paper has a fold on the left side, giving it a fold that measures about 5.5 by 7.75 inches.
Everyday Writing Paper
Everyday writing paper is paper used for writing letters to friends, thank-you notes, letters of congratulation and condolence (use gray writing paper for condolence letters). These letters can be monogrammed or personalized with the letter-writer’s name and address.
Correspondence cards measure 3.5 X 5.75 inches and are used for quick short notes.
Blank Decorated Cards
These are decorated store-bought cards that allow you to write your own greetings. Do not use decorated cards with preprinted messages―you want to send a personalized, classy and thoughtful message to your contacts. Sorry Hallmark!
You should send personalized notes and letters to your contacts throughout the year. Additionally, Stewart argues that there are situations in which it is rude not to write a thank you note, including:
Letter of acceptance or regret to a formal invitation
Thank you for a wedding present
Thank you for spending the night in someone’s home
Thank you note to someone who has done you a special favor
Note of congratulations to an important event, accomplishment or honor in a friend’s life
Thank you for presents not opened in the giver’s presence
Letter of condolence to a friend on the death of an immediate family member
Not sure of what to say in your note? Here are a two sample notes:
Thank you for the lovely evening spent at your dinner party on Monday. The night could not have been organized better, from the lively conversation to the delicious food you prepared. We’re still talking about the luscious red devil cake. Thank you so much for inviting us.
I just learned of the death of your mother. I’ve heard you speak of her warmly and I know how much she meant to you and your brothers and sisters. I just wanted you to know that you have my deepest sympathy. If there is anything at all that I can do for you at, please call me and I’ll come right over.