Sunday, November 19, 2017
News Roundup

Foundations of good manners never go out of style

RECOMMENDED READING


The second week of January, and we're all fasting from holiday overindulgences, stepping up our exercise routines and buckling back down to business.

And after a merry season of parties in which we heard repeated reports of protocol violations, we hereby open Etiquette Boot Camp 2012.

"Manners by their very nature adapt to the time," reports the latest, and 18th, edition of Emily Post's Etiquette, so up to date that it offers a chapter on social media that includes guidelines about Facebook, Twitter and blogs. In more than 700 pages, it advises readers how to behave in nearly every possible setting, from text messaging to enlisting household help.

"And as fluid as manners are, they all rest on the same fundamental principles: respect, consideration and honesty," its authors write. Regardless of how we label etiquette, aren't those the basic principles we learned in nursery school?

Apparently not. I have taken no scientific poll, but I can tell you three areas that exasperate the most patient people I know: reservations, formal dress codes and expressions of gratitude.

I have lost count of the number of charity events I attend every year, not to mention weddings and birthday parties and other celebratory occasions. And nearly every time, a frustrated host or committee leader offers the same litany: Although reservations are requested, many guests wait until the very last minute to commit. Or accept the invitation and fail to appear.

Are they waiting for something better to come along? If so, that's neither nice nor considerate.

Accept the invitation, or offer your regrets, and declare your intentions as early as possible. Regardless of the number of guests, hosts need to know how to make people comfortable and how much food and drink to offer.

For women, formal dress generally means a long dress and fine jewelry.

Back in December, Judith Martin's "Miss Manners" column, which publishes in these pages, undertook to explain the appropriate attire for men: "If there is such a thing," she wrote, "formal evening clothes are specified on invitations as either "black tie" (black dinner jacket with black satin or grosgrain lapels, pants with stripe down the sides matching the lapels, pleated white shirt, black bow tie) or "white tie" (black tailcoat with satin lapels, pants with a stripe on the outside legs, white pique waistcoat, starched white linen shirt, white pique bow tie).

"Hosts sympathetic with an inability to comply need not advertise this, as it should be assumed that dressing one degree down — black tie for white, a black business suit for black tie — would not attract violent attention from a bouncer."

Red cummerbund? Suspenders? Slip-on shoes? Miss Manners discusses all of those contingencies online at tinyurl.com/tbt-manners.

Now, to the issue of thankfulness. All of you have written notes of gratitude for all of the kindnesses bestowed on you during the holidays. I know you have. And if circumstances have prevented you from doing so, there is still time.

A certain 13-year-old I know, active in school and church and several sports, recently wrote 112 notes to friends and family who attended her birthday party and brought or sent gifts. Most of that correspondence went out the week after her big celebration.

In her family, there's a rule: If someone gives you something, you thank them.

As soon as the girl and her brother were able to write their names, their parents wrote the notes, and the children added their signatures. As soon as the youngsters were able to write, they learned it was their responsibility to offer their own expressions of thanksgiving, and promptly.

Adults are expected to do the same, and no whining about something they'd rather have, or about the note-writing, for that matter.

Add these "magic words," the Emily Post book suggests: "please," "thank you," "you're welcome" and "I'm sorry." Those are graceful beginnings and endings and merit frequent use.

At ease, everybody.

And happy new year.

Mary Jane Park can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 893-8267.

Comments

Updated: 5 hours ago
Lightning finds its game too late, loses to Islanders

Lightning finds its game too late, loses to Islanders

TAMPA — The firepower showed up in the third period.Yanni Gourde and Ondrej Palat scored 13 seconds apart. Gourde scored again.Suddenly it was a one-goal game, and the Lightning appeared on its way to one of those comeback wins that would be remember...
Updated: 5 hours ago
No. 14 UCF rolls Temple 45-19, heads to War on I-4 unbeaten

No. 14 UCF rolls Temple 45-19, heads to War on I-4 unbeaten

PHILADELPHIA — There were so many reasons for UCF coach Scott Frost to worry about his team’s focus. With a huge game against USF looming, playing an improving Temple team in a stadium where the empty seats outnumbered the filled ones by about a 3-1 ...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Gerald McCoy to Ndamukong Suh: ‘Let them remember us’

Gerald McCoy to Ndamukong Suh: ‘Let them remember us’

TAMPA — In the spring of 2010, one of the biggest debates during the week leading up to the NFL draft was which defensive tackle would be selected first: Nebraska’s Ndamukong Suh or Oklahoma’s Gerald McCoy.Both figured to be highly productive NFL pla...
Updated: 6 hours ago
No. 2 Miami finishes on 30-0 run, tops Virginia 44-28

No. 2 Miami finishes on 30-0 run, tops Virginia 44-28

MIAMI — After Miami clinched the first Atlantic Coast Conference Coastal Division crown in program history, upset the then-No. 3 team in the country, claimed one of the top four spots in the College Football Playoff rankings and after many of the nat...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Bucs’ belief in Jameis Winston has been shaken

Bucs’ belief in Jameis Winston has been shaken

TAMPA — Belief is the biggest attribute a quarterback can bring to his team. Belief in his talent. Belief in his commitment to winning. Belief in his ability to bring everyone together and have his voice lead the path forward.But the belief the Bucs ...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Topkin: As Rays start dealing, how far will they go?

Topkin: As Rays start dealing, how far will they go?

After collecting intelligence at last week’s GM meetings, the Rays soon will launch their offseason mission of trading at least a couple of veterans to reduce payroll.The question is how far they will go — how many players they deal, and how big of n...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Bucs-Dolphins: Things to watch in Sunday’s 1 p.m. game

Bucs-Dolphins: Things to watch in Sunday’s 1 p.m. game

TAMPA — Can the Bucs pull off back-to-back wins with a backup quarterback? Win a game on the road for the first time this season? Politely hand the unnamed trophy for the state’s worst football team back to the Dolphins?With WR Mike Evans back from h...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Florida State routs Delaware State 77-6

Florida State routs Delaware State 77-6

TALLAHASSEE — Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher longed for his team to play in this type of game throughout its disappointing season.After Hurricane Irma caused a three-week layoff between FSU’s first two games, forcing it to play 11 in a row to finis...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Senate ethics, relatively silent, could face busy year

Senate ethics, relatively silent, could face busy year

WASHINGTON — It’s been nearly six years since the Senate Ethics Committee conducted a major investigation of a sitting senator. Next year, the panel could be working nonstop, deciding the fate of up to three lawmakers, including two facing allegation...
Updated: 6 hours ago