Now seems as good a time as any to share some basic etiquette lessons with my faithful readers:
1) "I know that with steak one should drink red wine. What should you drink when you're enjoying broccoli casserole?" Answer--paint thinner. Do whatever you take to burn out the inside of your mouth after eating something so foul as broccoli casserole.
2) "At dinner parties, the seating should be boy, girl, boy, girl. How do you seat people at the table when it's all men?" Answer--when it's all men they never sit around the table, but rather mill about the basement and pick pieces of the pizza directly from the box, which is sitting on the upended broken refrigerator that doubles as a coffee table. And don't block the TV.
3) "When invited to a cocktail party, it's customary to bring drinks. However, I have tacky friends that take their leftover drinks back home with them when they leave for the night. How do I politely tell them that it is awkward to have someone snatch up their wine or beer on their way out in middle of the party?" Answer--as you fetch their coats, lick the tops and sides of whatever drinks they brought so they realize those drinks now belong to the host.
4) "When holding a door for someone who is entering or exiting a building, it can be awkward if they're so far behind you that you're standing there holding the door for more than a few seconds. How far behind you does someone have to be it to be acceptable to not hold the door for them?" Answer--why the hell are you holding a door for someone at all? If they're a man, they'll feel emasculated. If they're a woman, they'll feel condescended. If they're handicapped, they shouldn't be using doors.
5) "Most Europeans cut their food using their left hands, and Americans often switch hands when cutting food. If you're setting a table for a mixed group of Americans and Europeans, where should you set the forks and knives?" Answer--you don't need a fork and knife to eat hot dogs. There, problem solved.
6) "When setting a table, should the utensils that are to be used in the earlier courses be set farther from the plate than the utensils to be used in later courses? How does that work?" Answer--this is a very important dillema, because at one dinner party I set the forks wrong and the guests freaked out, unable to find the right fork and thus they had to eat their salad with their bare hands. I advise just using sporks, and making sure all the sporks are one size.
7) "When answering correspondence, and you aren't aware of the gender of the person you're addressing, and they have a unisex name like "Leslie" or "Terry", should you default to "Mr." or "Ms."?" Answer--default to "Dr." Everyone likes being mistaken for a doctor.
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