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Manners, Manners Everywhere…

Hiatus took me by surprise. Just kind of stopped writing and a day turned to another and another. And then I was a little lost. COVID has taken its toll in the house of Duchess. Skittish Tabby and I eat a lot of bad food, absorb way to many murder mysteries and see far too few people. The snowball grew. As did my ass and thighs.

Thank goodness an old love showed up to pull us from the sludge.

A message from a friend. “Hey, would you talk to this group about manners?” A hand flies to my nonexistent pearls. Perhaps that’s the root of the problem. Work from home…perfect white orbs remain on a hook just outside the master bath. There are days I wrap the longest strand about my neck just for the thrill of halcyon, bygone days I fear may never return. Drama much? It’s what propelled me to hermit stage.

The thought of a group searching for etiquette proves just the thing to pull me from funk quicksand. At least for a day or two. The struggle is real.

It’s a well-known group of philanthropic girls and moms and I’ve been their tea speaker before. A Sunday afternoon spent demonstrating tea service, discussing manners and the concerns of the younger ladies sets one’s heart aflutter, non?

We make the deep dive into all those forks and which bread plate belongs to whom. It is, after all, the most important plate on the table. We are reminded that our napkins never make the trip back to the table until the meal ends, a thank you is an actual physical card not of the email variety and that boys confound us regardless of age.

Yes, the girls questions venture to boys. How do you talk to them? Who pays on a date? How to introduce them to your parents? And why are they so weird?

I point out that even when one is old and single, boys can be hard to chat with but the secret lies in talking to them the same way one would talk to anyone else. Like a friend. Or a new friend. Or an alien. I didn’t tell them that last part.

I remind them of the wage gap. And that spending time with amazing you should come with a price. And that price is dinner. Whether its In and Out or Steak 44, the guy pays. Not just because he makes more than you but because it is an honor to spend time with you and learn about you and get to know you better. Once you’re in a “relationship” you can divvy up the money thing any way you like. But he should work for it in the beginning. That’s me being dragged into modern. Personally, I believe he should pay all the time. Pfft.

I don’t tell them it will break their father’s heart when they walk out the door with said crush. Or that he’ll call the guy a putz when he forgets to open the car door for her or that parents pace the floor in panic when chickens come home late. Poor little things already have so much on their plates remembering to use forks from the outside in, that phones don’t have a spot in a proper table setting and that conversation is hard and a lost art.

I do tell them if they can master conversation and manners, they can rule every room they enter. From the deluge of thank you notes I received this week, one thinks they heard loud and clear.

Could  it be we’re all  a little hungry during this time for some kind and generous behavior, the root of all etiquette? No doubt. Now keep you election opinions to yourself, pour a glass of champs and remember your manners.


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