Warning: array_slice() expects parameter 1 to be array, boolean given in /home/uvatha/public_html/kayhoflander/wp-content/plugins/my-twitter-widget/widget.php on line 164

Warning: key() expects parameter 1 to be array, null given in /home/uvatha/public_html/kayhoflander/wp-content/plugins/my-twitter-widget/widget.php on line 164

Tag Archive: Emily Post

Oct 21

On Emily Post and which fork to use

“She must not swing her arms as though they were dangling ropes; she must not switch herself this way and that; she must not shout; and she must not, while wearing her bridal veil, smoke a cigarette.” – Emily Post

If you ever wonder what fork to use or how to behave in public, just ask Emily Post.

Miss Emily Post, the undisputed American expert on etiquette and civility, was born in 1882. Her birthday is coming up soon on Oct. 27.

When I saw her birthday on a calendar recently, I began thinking how we could use some of her priceless wisdom today.

I haven’t thought much about etiquette, manners and Emily Post for a long time, not consciously anyway. I guess I don’t do that because it was imprinted deep into my psyche as it was for many “young ladies” who grew up in the 50s and 60s.

In the 50s and 60s, we were taught what was referred to then as “standards.”

Recently, I had the opportunity to attend a reunion of college girlfriends, and the talk of our old “standards” peppered the conversation.

As we reminisced, we shared stories of the etiquette practices of our day—what was expected of young ladies on campus.

We were incredulous recalling those standards of behavior that were ubiquitous then, but would be considered down right odd, perhaps illegal, now.

For example, smoking for young ladies was a socially accepted practice then as long as one followed certain ironclad rules.

My friend Gloria produced a standards handbook from the 60s and read to us: “It is a common courtesy to never smoke around those who do not smoke without first asking permission. Also never walk with a cigarette in your hand. When lighting a cigarette never let it dangle from your mouth and always blow out the match.”

She continued reading:
• Please stand when an older person enters the room, but there is no need to stand if the person is merely passing through.

• During dinner when passing food, always begin by passing to the hostess or head of the table first; she will pass to the right. Receive dishes with your right hand, serve yourself, and pass with your left hand. Be sure everything is passed and that the hostess has started to eat before you do.

• Phone calls should not be accepted during dinner, except long distance (which back then was a rarity).

• There are certain places where wheat jeans (I assume that means Khaki), cutoffs, slacks and Bermudas are “out of bounds”. These places include classes, the library, campus and uptown.

In other words, everywhere, so the message was clear—ladies, if you are going out in public, wear your dresses.

Regarding which fork to use, our standards were simple: start with the outside flatware, set farthest away from your plate, and with each new course use the next utensil in the setting, moving inside toward your plate.

But we were also admonished to remember that the attributes of a great lady are far more important than her manners.

As Emily Post once advised: “Manners are a sensitive awareness of the feelings of others. If you have that awareness, you have good manners, no matter what fork you use.”

So pass the potatoes please, but of course, remember to receive with your right hand and pass with your left.

I don’t think we teach this anymore, do we?

Sep 15

Watching television and eating dinner can be complicated

“If it weren’t for Philo T. Farnsworth, inventor of television we’d still be eating frozen radio dinners.” – Johnny Carson

The late Johnny Carson would be shocked to learn that the traditional frozen TV dinners he once joked about are not popular anymore. Instead, the American public seems to prefer the trendy “bistro gourmet entrees” that are made in the oven or as quick skillet dinners.

And, don’t we just love to eat our dinners and watch television at the same time even if Emily Post and our grandmothers would disapprove?

Grab those dinners, whatever they are, and go straight to the television set and settle in for a favorite show.

Trying to eat dinner in front of the television set, however, is not as easy as it sounds.

At the exact moment in time when one wants nothing more than to sit in a comfy chair, eat a simple meal, and watch one’s favorite show, a law of the universe kicks into effect. That law dictates that the cable television signal or quality of the picture will be disrupted. It is written somewhere. You will spend the rest of the evening fiddling with the set. Your dinner will get cold.

“Wonderful,” my husband said when this happened to us the other night, “Nothing to do now but call the cable guy tomorrow.”

Next day, to my eternal surprise, the cable guy showed up. After a long and valiant attempt to fix the problem, he timidly told me that he had no idea what was wrong and would have to bring a more experienced technician tomorrow.”

“Rookie,” I am thinking at this point. “They sent a rookie!”

The following day not one but two cable guys arrived. After nearly three hours of sweat and struggle both inside and outside of the house, they reported to me that they could not fix the problem. To make matters worse they meekly broke the bad news that all three television sets in the house were affected.

A surge was the likely culprit.

They kindly rigged the television we watch the most (its tuner was fried) so it would feed through the VCR/DVD player. However, we have to use that device’s remote control now to adjust channels and the television remote to turn the thing on and off and adjust volume. The big screen is damaged least of all with just two channels affected. The television in our bedroom can still be used if we only want to watch Nickelodeon.

Television watching is suddenly far too complicated in our household.

I have a good book and a bistro skillet dinner ready for tonight.

There is only one problem as Orson Welles once said, “I hate television. I hate it as much as peanuts, but I can’t stop eating peanuts.”

» Newer posts