Saturday, December 12, 2015

P’s and Q’s and Peas By Yvonne

It’s always good to have a little something to munch on when you’re drinking.  We will see many a nut dish during the holidays, and most of us will dig in. Not so fast. 

Call me a germophobe, but I really would rather not dig in with my hands and spread or share holiday cheer germs. Also, the optics don’t look good. Nothing lacks elegance more than a hand grabbing a bunch of Goldfish, assorted nuts, Wasabi peas, and other grabbables. A spoon should always be provided.

Here's what not to do.
The Peas

The Approach (germ infested table)

The Dig

Thursday, October 29, 2015


People you like, do it. People you don’t like, definitely do it.  I don’t. But maybe you do it, too.  You ball up your cocktail napkin and leave it on the nearest surface. It could be a granite top, fine teak, oak or mahogany – it doesn’t matter. Litterbugs don’t care.  It’s not their party, but they'll do what they want to.

How would you like to be the one who has to pick up that ball of mess?  Were you just too busy to tear yourself away from cocktail chatter to find a receptacle for it?  Apparently, that was the case the other night at a wonderful book party in a beautiful apartment.

Never hand your used cocktail napkin to a staff member without wrapping it in a clean napkin.  If there’s no one to hand it to, find a place to put it in, trash cans are usually found in the kitchen or bathroom.  A host shouldn’t have to tell his/her guests what to do with a cocktail napkin. A good guest should know better. Cheers!

Saturday, October 10, 2015


There's a whole lot of hair flying around these days and it's not mine.

I never had much hair to flip and when I tried, I almost suffered whiplash. There is nothing more annoying than someone’s hair flying around in a public space, like on a bus. The woman in front of you is totally oblivious of her dander (okay, dandruff, but she got my dander up) going all over the place along with a strand or two. Recently, I sat near someone who did a scratch and flip. I tapped her on the shoulder and said, “I’m getting some of your hair in my face.” She apologized and stopped. 
That was easy.

Grooming so that you can be presentable in public, shouldn’t be performed in public.

What do you think?

Sunday, September 27, 2015


From what I gathered, someone was about to get their feelings hurt. My fellow elevator passenger, a neighbor (we don’t know each other) was advising that they keep the ring until they’re sure.  Something about me must’ve seemed trustworthy as she proceeded to put someone’s business out on the street in an elevator. Beware, you never know who’s on the elevator with you, she could be an etiquette blogger!

I couldn’t figure out who was on the other end or how upset they were.  That’s the problem with halfersations; you’ll never get the whole story, she went on and on with her half.  She didn’t even bother to whisper an apology.  If you have to take a call, keep it brief and let the caller know you’re on an elevator. To continue a conversation while others are on an elevator is a downright diss to them - they don't matter.

Chatty Cathy remained on the elevator and continued to advise the ring bearer. I'll never know the outcome and I don't care.  All I do know, she is one rude neighbor.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Mind If I Don't Mind My Manners? By Yvonne

What happened to the civilized world while we were on sabbatical?  Such horrors!

A wonderful dip being assaulted by shameless double dipping! 

Men and women becoming motionless doormen as they block exit doors on buses and look at you funny when you say, “Excuse me." The nerve!

A woman sitting in the window of a sandwich shop, flossing her teeth!

Younger men looking at their feet as elderly women and men stand on their feet!

The list goes on and on. 

Pictured, a young woman, so tuckered out from her weekend, decided to make herself at home (no doubt, in her home it was fine to put your feet on the furniture with shoes on) on a crowded train.  When the conductor asked her to sit up, it didn’t occur to her to wipe off the seat for a fellow passenger.

Have you seen any good or bad manners recently?  Do tell.

To respond just click on comment and post anonymously.

Saturday, August 15, 2015


We were on sabbatical and then the summer came along.  Mind your manners until we come back in the fall, when we will attempt to mine them for you.

Quick Tips:

  • Remember to take your makeup off so you won't leave your mark on the pillowcase.
  • Even if you don't want to, offer to help.
  • Don't bring your cell phone to the table with you. (if your host is that boring, you shouldn't be there)
  • Until you're invited to help yourself to food and drink, always ask. 
  • Leave poolside the way you found it.


Friday, May 15, 2015

When Your Lunch Becomes Rude By Yvonne

Last week, at a doctor’s office, the receptionist greeted me looking suspiciously like a cow. She appeared to be chewing on something and then commenced to clean her lunch away in her mouth with her tongue and making noises clearing food between her teeth all the while asking me questions.  It seems to be a common habit in small shops – the lone salesperson serving customers and polishing off lunch at the same time.

This awful, rude practice must stop immediately. A cow would never think of imitating you.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015


            On April 21st, I wrote a post on applause from the point of view of an audience member. This week, a dancer is gives his thoughts on the subject.  I promised him that I wouldn’t reveal his name.  All I can divulge is that he’s one of the finest dancers in the world and has been a principal dancer at two of the leading ballet companies in the world.

Do you think any time is the right time for applause?

I think that if someone wants to applaud because they are moved or excited, they should.  Although sometimes it can get out of hand and in the past I have wondered if a triple pirouette really moved someone so much they had to applaud.  I don't want to tamper anyone's enthusiasm for the art form, but frequent outbursts can distract from the overall performance.  I tend to think if something is extraordinary then go for it, if not save it for when they finish so everyone in the audience can appreciate their performance in a complete and full form.  

Has clapping ever affected your performance?

Audience clapping can have a dual affect.  It can take you out of your concentration, or it can bolster your performance even more.  As a performer, we crave to make the audience excited, or have them feel an emotion, essentially to take them to another place in their mind.  Sometimes this comes out as applause, and when it's right it can be amazing to feel the audience participation.  

What kind of audience to you consider ideal?

 I have performed all over the world.  Each audience is different.  In addition, an audience is made up of many people from unique backgrounds, so it's very difficult to say what an ideal audience is because appreciation is shown in many different ways.  In general, an appreciative, enthusiastic audience is ideal.  Like sports, not everyone is a season ticket holder who comes to the ballet every night.  However, if the audience gets invested in the art on stage, and acquires some new knowledge and appreciation, and reflects that in their response, then that is my ideal audience.  

Tuesday, April 21, 2015


The other night, I had the pleasure of going to the ballet.  There were pieces I liked, and pieces I didn’t like.  When I liked a particular piece, I would clap at the end of it.  I tend not to clap while someone is still performing because I don't want to do anything that could be disruptive to the performer or to fellow audience members.   That night, dancers didn’t have to do so much as lift their legs up high, and there was thunderous applause.  

I asked a good friend and ballet enthusiast his thoughts on when to clap and not to clap.
“I think it goes beyond etiquette and people knowledgeable about ballet get it – dancers have to hear the music to keep time. That’s hard to do over applause,” he explained.

He does agree it’s hard not to applaud for a phenomenal pirouette or pas de deux giving dancers a rush from the show of appreciation.  “But one should take care not to drown out the music,” he pointed out.

The same goes for opera, best to save the applause at the end and not after every high note.  Nothing terrible will happen for clapping when the feeling hits you but holding applause could make something wonderful happen – such as a magnificent, uninterrupted performance.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015


“What does “Yelp” mean?” asked a friend whose first language is French.  “It’s what little dogs do to get attention,” I explained.  And then I yelped a few times to demonstrate to her how annoying it is. And so are many comments on Yelp.  They are also mean, spiteful and are the handiwork of people with not much going on in their lives except to try and gain some kind of voice by trashing establishments and the people who work in them.  

Yelpers, I learned will actually post their negative review while sitting in the very restaurant. Question – if it’s so horrible why are you still there?  Why not pay the bill, stiff the server and go away? Or speak to the manager and give him/her the chance to make the situation right.

Resorting to Yelp is cowardly and worst, puts you in the class of cyber bullies.  Thankfully, restaurants can’t commit suicide but horrible things have happened to individuals because of the cyber bully culture.

Not all Yelpers are mean. Many take the time to point out the good in their experiences. They don’t yelp at the help.  They get pleasure out of writing something good.  They are from the old school.  “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all.”

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Petitetiquette: Runny Nose at the Table? by Yvonne
Last night, in a restaurant, I saw a man blowing his nose with his dinner napkin. Ewww!  It happens, all of a sudden you have a runny nose and you're not at home. You can discreetly pat your nose and then go to the restroom.

When the meal is over, don't leave your napkin so that the side you patted your nose with is on the outside. Don't ball it up and throw in on the plate. Don't fold it up as if you're folding a pillow case, just leave it neatly on the table. Feel better!

Just an aside - after a dinner party at a friend's home in Milan, Italy, I folded my dinner napkin up as if it were clean laundry. The host said, "Never do that. I it means you're never coming back to my house."

Thursday, March 5, 2015


Bad blogger, bad blogger, I’ve fallen behind on posts.

Yesterday, Grammar Girl reminded me that March 4th is National Grammar Day.  I don’t think it made a difference in many people’s lives. Poor grammar is like typos; we start believing in it and see nothing wrong. And we rarely correct our friends and family – children we will correct, and that’s the right thing to do. Our friends whose first language isn't English, we're also more apt to correct.

When I lived in Milan, Italy, my goal was to speak Italian well. I didn’t want to sound like a three year old just learning to speak.  I was fortunate to have good friends who would correct me in a respectful way. They would repeat what I had said incorrectly, correctly, but not in a reprimanding way but in a caring way. I wasn't every shy about asking what was the right way to say something. An American who once lived in Florence gave me a tip. “When Italians speak to you, repeat what they say and then continue the conversation.”

One of my pet peeves is, “Between you and I.”  The grammarian, Patricia T. O’Conner points out that oftentimes we want to sound gentile, in doing so we make innocent grammatical errors for a lifetime. Her book, WOE IS I, The Grammarphobe’s Guide to Better English in Plain English, is terrific. You can even email her when in doubt.

James Baldwin said that in England when you open your mouth you tell everything about yourself - who your father was, who your mother was, etc. Speaking proper grammar shouldn’t have anything to do with class but improper grammar will tell on you. 

If you find any grammatical errors in this post, let me know.

Thursday, February 19, 2015


  •     Just the other day, on the No. 6 downtown line a banker type didn’t budge from the door.
  •     A woman had a value box of 12 packs of Doritos, she ate one bag while talking to her friend with his backpack on.
  •     Man spread seems to be spreading. 

I have a theory about the MTA etiquette campaign running  on subway cars. It’s not working. I think it’s not working because the figures in the campaign don’t look human. They look like  technicolor versions of The Blue Man Group.  I wonder if real people were used if the campaign would resonate better with real people.  The lady who was enjoying her Doritos probably thought the sign was directed at a red male stick figure. So, she just munched on.

What do you think?

Monday, February 2, 2015


This gorgeous baby girl is the daughter of my wonderful niece, Mia.

Her name is Bliss. She's bright, smiles easily and is adored by her family and likewise.  She is hard of hearing in one ear, that’s why she wears a hearing aid.

“Is she wearing Bluetooth?” a man recently asked my niece.  Mia much more gracious than I would be under the circumstance politely answered, “No.” 

“While it was one of dumbest questions, it really tickled me, ” she said. “He was visibly embarrassed, it was an awkward elevator ride after that.” Some have even asked how did they discover she was deaf at such a young age. Mia explains to them that Bliss isn’t deaf; she’s hard of hearing. She feels that answering these questions gives people who really don’t mean any harm, information. I applaud her sensitivity and patience.

I know that children can say the darndest things, but adults sure can ask the stupidest questions. What do you think?

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Petitetiquette: Changing Tables? by Yvonne

Don’t like the table you’re shown to in a restaurant? That’s okay but it’s not if you choose another without asking the host before sitting down. 
This could be the best table in the house but wait until it looks like the best table.

And it’s even worse to sit down at a table that hasn’t been cleared and cleaned yet.  Save that sort of behavior for cafeteria dining.

Monday, January 12, 2015


A couple of years ago, I posted a piece about the new welcome mat – puddles of urine compliments of entitled dogs and their owners.  The situation has worsened at least where I live on the Upper East Side, aka Silk Stocking District. Heh. 


Something about high rent, condo, and maintenance fees just don’t seem to mesh with dried pee stains. In fact, it shouldn’t be the case in any part of the city. 

“Try telling that to a dog with a broken leg,” explained a neighbor whose dog left his mark two steps out of the front door.  I suggested that she carry a small bottle of water and do a quick rinse. “How am I supposed to carry that?” Hmm, she seems to manage when she takes a run in the park with her dog when his leg is fine.

Can you imagine coming home on a warm summer’s evening and being greeted with that putrid smell of dried urine?  It’s dreadful, much like some subway stations.

“They should rinse the sidewalk down a few times a day,” another neighbor said as she nodded her head toward a doorman. Really?  Not even a Lady of Downton Abbey would display such disregard for another human being.

Sorry about the pissy air of the first post of 2015, but it is apropos to the subject. What do you think?