Category: Calling Card

CULTURE | Calling Card

Speaking of Rude

Dear Ms. Plume, Is the art of the party a dinosaur? People don’t RSVP, or they RSVP and then do the opposite. Do people actually know what RSVP means?? Do they understand that if you hire a caterer for a party, you are paying per guest for food and drinks?

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Feet Up & Tee’d Off

Dear L. A. Plume, I was recently a guest in someone’s home for a dinner party. After dinner we retired to the living room for conversation and drinks. It was quite a lovely evening until the hostess sat down in her favorite chair facing the rest of the room, and took off her shoes and put her feet up on the ottoman. Now I have no issue with people being comfortable in their own home, but her feet, which are just a tad past old and gnarly, were in the middle of the room, like a centerpiece. Unfortunately they did not have the same bouquet that a vase of roses might have, and additionally, we could all see up her skirt. To put it delicately, we were not looking at London or France. Her husband paid absolutely zero attention to these facts. What could we have done or said? Prefers Manolo Blahniks

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Feet Up & Tee’d Off

Dear L. A. Plume, I was recently a guest in someone’€™s home for a dinner party. After dinner we retired to the living room for conversation and drinks. It was quite a lovely evening until the hostess sat down in her favorite chair facing the rest of the room, and took off her shoes and put her feet up on the ottoman.

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Going Up and Giving Back

Dear L. A. Plume,                   I had a situation arise yesterday as I was flying from San Francisco to New York. I boarded the plane in one of the last groups, and when I got to my middle seat I had to climb over an oversized man in the aisle seat who was oozing into my space.

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Is Life a Picnic?

Dear L. A. Plume, I moved to town a few years ago and my next door neighbor was my best friend until she moved away; now we never see each other and rarely talk. I keep wondering if it was something I did, or said, that I’m not aware of. How can I find out? Curious

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Gossip & Girl Talk

Dear L. A. Plume,             What do you do when someone comes to you with gossip about what someone supposedly said about you? This person is a relatively new “friend” and has told me things that long-time friends have said about me – things that are very hurtful.

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On Gifts & Gratitude

Dear L.A.,What has happened to simple good manners? A close friend of mine has two children, who are now 10 and 12, a girl and a boy. Both are polite and will engage in conversation with their mom’s adult friends. Every Christmas and birthday, I give each a well-thought-out present, always something they’d like. But I have yet to receive a thank you of any sort from either child.

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Don’t Be a Scrooge

Dear Ms. Plume, We have a neighbor out here on an island who we refer to as Ms. S, which may be the initial of her name or one of her less than attractive personality traits. During the hurricane clean-up she was inordinately proud of the fact that she stiffed a crew of nice young men who were helping her, and bragged on about it.

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Taking the Cake

Dear Ms. Plume, Neighbors, friends, and a few strangers helped us clear tree branches that fell on our roof during the hurricane, and also helped us with the immediately needed repairs. They are not people who do this for their profession so offering them money seems inappropriate and perhaps slightly offensive for an act of goodwill. However my husband and I would like to acknowledge their efforts, which were greatly appreciated, in some way. Can you offer some suggestions? Safe and Sound

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Questions, Questions, Questions

Dear Ms. Plume, I recently attended a memorial service for a friend who passed away unexpectedly at a young (to us spring chickens) age. She was a dearly loved wife, mother, grandmother, friend and was very active in the community. The church was completely packed. From my perch in the balcony, I noticed that black was the predominant color of dress. But not for everyone. What’s kosher these days for funeral attire?  Signed,  The Lady in Turquoise

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Etiquette & Political Expression

Dear Ms. Plume, How can I get people to stop sending me political texts, emails, and posting things on my Facebook page? How can I say it more concisely than, “Think what you want, let me think what I want; aggressively bullying me and assaulting me with your position isn’t going to change mine.”? Egads! Enough already! Sandy

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Etiquette & Political Expression

Dear Ms. Plume, How can I get people to stop sending me political texts, emails, and posting things on my Facebook page? How can I say it more concisely than, “Think what you want, let me think what I want; aggressively bullying me and assaulting me with your position isn’t going to change mine.”? Egads! Enough already! Sandy

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Planning Weddings & Washing Dishes

  Dear L. A. Plume,   My daughter and I are planning her wedding and whenever her fiance’s mother gets within range she says things like, “When my daughter got married it was the most wonderful wedding ever,” or “she had the most beautiful flowers you can imagine,” or “her invitations were engraved on really fine stock.”

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When a Friend is Grieving

Questions recently have gone like this: Dear L. A. Plume, My friend’s father died, or my friend’s daughter died, or my friend’s husband was diagnosed with . . . What can/should I do? What do I wear? What is appropriate?

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The Give and Take of Gifts

Dear L. A. Plume, I was invited to a wedding where the gift registry didn’t include a single household item. They wanted power tools, pet beds, and the like. I understand that the days of people getting married and setting up a household are for the most part long gone, that they have been living together and have most of the domestic necessities; but still, I object to giving a gift that has no sentimentality and won’t be long remembered. Is it acceptable for me to choose something not on the registry that I believe they will still like? Pat

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Honest & Straightforward

Dear L. A. Plume, I recently had some surgery that has made it difficult for me to resume normal life. I have a dear old friend who is trying to help in any way she can, but she just doesn’t do things the way I do and I find it difficult to not fault her, even though she is doing her best.

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More on the Bluffer’s Guide

In my last column, I discussed The Bluffer’s Guide to Etiquette, by the Englishman William Hanson. It seems that I forgot to mention that, according to Hanson, if you are presented with a selection of cheeses, it is extremely poor form to cut the “nose” or point of cheese; instead you should cut from the rind.

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The Bluffer’s Guide to Etiquette

I was recently given a book, The Bluffer’s Guide to Etiquette, written by William Hansom. It is called the “bluffer’s guide” because it offers assistance in bluffing your way around a social situation when you don’t know the proper etiquette. It also has some handy tips for actually knowing how to behave properly.

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When in Doubt, Just Be Nice

Dear L. A. Plume Every year, thanks to in-home, easier-than-ever-to-use PCs and printers, we seem to get more lengthy Christmas letters. One special one, from folks in California whom we never see, had a paragraph’s worth of details on the exquisite bed linens in a quaint B&B in Murmansk. Do I give a whit? Not unless I’m headed for Murmansk (unlikely), in which case I’ll ask you. Do they think we care? How conceited can people get? Fed Up Frieda

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Guests of Guests Should Not Bring Guests

  Dear L. A. Plume,   It’s that time of year again and I’m having my annual holiday party. Invitations have been issued and the count of people who will fit into the venue, the amount of food and drink I need, have all been calculated to fit into my budget, when lo and behold, several people have asked if they can bring a friend, a few family members, or some neighbors.

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