Personal Etiquette

This category contains 7 posts

Do Something Nice for Dad – A Father’s Day Collage

to all the amazing dads out there! 

fathersHere is a pop culture collage I put together for my dad and big brother (two terrific fathers), and dedicated to all the fathers.

Take some time to do something nice for your dad or a dad in your life today.  Let them know they are special and they’re doing a great job.



Royal Flush Wins Again: Public Restroom Etiquette

The public restroom experience can be truly horrific. Unidentified brown spots, wet substances, funky smells, lurking weirdos can be a part of the experience at any point.  If only we would all do our part to maintain a somewhat usable bathroom environment, then maybe we could “go” without puking. Following these ten tips could change our lives. Seriously.

1.  Wipe down the sink counter if you wet it while washing your hands (or anything else).
2. If you urinate on the seat, then wipe off the residue.
3. Gentlemen, don’t go peeping across urinals. It makes others uncomfortable.
4. Ladies, dispose of sanitary items neatly and completely.
5. If the restroom is mostly empty don’t plop down in the stall right next an already occupied stall. Give people their space.
6. Don’t discuss sensitive material or talk badly about people in the restroom. You never know who’s listening from the stall.
7. Flush! Please flush.
8. Wash your hands. Even if you don’t think you got anything on them, just wash them for hygienic peace of mind.
9. Discard of paper towels in the trash receptacle, not the toilet or the floor.
10. Most importantly, if you own or manage a public restroom, then clean or have it cleaned regularly based on the amount of traffic it gets.

Wouldn’t we all be in a happier place if we had sparkling clean, flowery scented bathroom visits? …Or at least, if we didn’t step in yellow puddles? Let’s make it happen!

Scents and Sensibility

Scent is one of those things that carries an emotional connection.  Getting a whiff of your grandmother’s favorite perfume could take you to the most comforting moments of your childhood, a lover’s fragrance may be exhilarating, and the mean cab driver’s cologne might be repulsive.  When you select and apply your own fragrance, think of what kind of feeling you want to leave with others.

Gucci Guilty is one of my favorite fragrances because it's more of a universal scent that's daring without being overpowering.

To make your best impression, you want to choose those fragrances that complement your body chemistry because they will give off the most pleasant scents. You also want to refrain from drowning yourself in the stuff and dominating all breathable air within close perimeter. A little spritz or dab to your pulse points (i.e. inside the wrists, behind the ears, décolletage or cleavage, behind the knees, etc.) will make the scent last without overdoing it. Also consider the many ways to sweeten your skin, from scented soaps and body washes, to perfumes and body sprays, and from body lotions and body oils, to colognes and aftershave.

So play with it, have fun, but please keep it mild and delightful.

Who Minds Your Manners?: The Abridged Laws of Etiquette

My mother and grandmothers began teaching me the laws of etiquette from a very young age.  (I can remember lessons as far back as three years old.)  Through all of the training, a solid group of sayings and thoughts on etiquette, manners, and protocol stuck with me.  They have gotten me through many encounters within different settings, cultures, and countries in the company of all types of people and customs.  You may have heard some of them along the way, but I’ll share them here with you, because I am confident they will help you shine in just about any protocol bind.

1. There is a time and place for everything (often abbreviated by moms as “Time and Place”).  This saying encourages you to remember that you should consider where you are and what is going on around you, before you speak or act.  For example, if you are already at the party surrounded by other people, that is not the time to tell your girlfriend she looks like she is gaining weight and her dress makes her look pudgy around the middle.  Or consider that if you are at an academic function, that is not the time to run wild and go streaking across the stage.

2. It’s not just what you say, but how you say it. (This is still my mother’s favorite saying.)  You can and should  tell the truth.  It’s how you tell it that decides how the other person feels by the end of the conversation.  So I can look at you and say, “Whoa you look like crap! What the hell happened to you?” or I can go with, “Hey, it’s been a rough morning.  I might need a splash of cold water and a cup of coffee to pick me up too.  Want to come with me?”  The message is sent either way, but the latter phrasing cushions the message so that you aren’t directly offending the person.

3. If you aren’t sure, follow your host’s lead.  Depending on what setting you are in, you would follow the example of the person who invited you, the highest ranking person, or the leader of the group.  If you are attending a formal dinner party and don’t know where to sit, look to your host(ess) for a cue.  When you are out with coworkers and don’t know if it is okay to order alcohol, wait until the boss or the person who holds the most superior position orders his/her drink and then decide based on what he/she is having.

4. Money can’t buy class.  (Wealth does not equal taste.)  How many times have you seen this?  A new money pop star, crass heiress, brash entrepreneur, a friend who landed a good job, etc. and they have no upbringing, but they find themselves amidst high society and they just don’t know how to act.  They need to either learn on their own or be guided in what is appropriate to say, do, wear and so on.  But believe me when I say, no amount of money in the world will improve their behavior amongst and towards others (unless maybe it’s money put towards etiquette training).

5. When in Rome, do as the Romans.  Along with this concept, my paternal grandmother taught me that the key ingredient is making your host(ess) or friends feel comfortable being themselves around you.  Don’t turn your nose up to their traditions, hobbies, cultural practices or daily lifestyle.  Of course, you should draw some barriers for yourself, but not so many that you spoil the fun.  Jump in, make yourself right at home and put everyone at ease.

6. Good manners will take you far in life.  My maternal Grandma always reminded us that no matter what situation presents itself, always mind your manners.  Be gracious, courteous and pleasant in your dealings with others, unless or until an issue calls for more aggressive behavior.  And even then, you still maintain a dignified position, because when the issue is over you want to come out on top.

I’ve Got You Covered

This is an etiquette tip that will apply until the end of time (unless we evolve to grow face masks).

Today, a man sat down in the seat next to me on the train and began coughing up his left lung. No biggie …until I noticed that he was blasting his germy wetness all over the place. Yet, somehow, it wasn’t as bad as when that guy walking down 48th Street let out a humongoid sneeze, spraying his unmasked diabolical mucous right onto my face. I thought I would just die – right there – just fall out on the pavement.

Well, I lived to tell you about it. So I’m here to say, “Cover your blow hole.” If you’re blowing, spitting, coughing, sneezing, spraying anything out of your mouth or nose, then please, please, pretty please shield that area. Even if you aren’t sick, we, the Random People in Public Spaces, aren’t interested in getting intimate with you on your fancy flying saliva level. No offense, we’re just not that into you. Also consider blocking us from your yawns and belches, because it’s quite unpleasant to catch an unexpected whiff of that pungent French onion soup lunch.

The best options are to use either a tissue or the inner bend of your arm to shield your face. No, wiping snot with your fingers and then shaking someone’s hand is not cool. Of course the tissue is best, because you can discard of it immediately afterwards. Use your arm in absence of a tissue, because that part of you will more than likely have minimal contact with other people.

If you make this a habit, you can make the world a cleaner, germ quarantined place. I know you want that as badly as I do.

This has been a public service announcement.

Little Lady Tips – 2/3/12


Clean, Fancy, Fresh …Before You Step Out

Hygiene care, primping and polishing have got to be top-of-the list priorities every day before you make it to work …or play.  Most of us get that, and the rest of the world appreciates it!  We all prefer sitting next to the well groomed, sweet smelling, fresh faced stranger.  Those are the best.

What we don’t apprecia-te is when Stranger X plops down beside us on the train and proceeds to clip and paint nails, brush and flick hair, apply makeup, roll on deodorant and squirt cologne, or pick teeth.  Come on, who really wants to see that?  Yes, we see you — you do not become invisible when you stick your finger in your nose.  Worse yet, who wants your shedding hair and dandruff sprinkling into their morning coffee or nail clippings whizzing by their ears?  The whole thing gets to be unsanitary, unbecoming and even dangerous.  I mean refreshing chapstick or lip gloss is OK, but smearing full on foundation and poking out your eye with the mascara wand during rush hour commute is not cute.

Then there is the unexpected.  You are rushing to an interview, or a client meeting, or some funky fun birthday bash and you think you can save time doing the finishing touches in the elevator.  The person next to you is clearly uncomfortable, unbeknownst to you — head down, sniffing underarms, tucking in shirt, buckling belt.  Then you arrive at your destination and Elevator Riding Partner is your interviewer, client, or hottest partygoer, who you now can’t look in the eye.  Ah shucks!

So to present your best self from the very start (and to make the rest of us feel better), let’s handle hygiene and bodily care at home, in a restroom, or a private location of your choice.