Not every aspect of etiquette is drawn out and complicated like the proper way to address someone on an invitation or how long you should wait to get up after the hostess has left the dinner table. There are simple things, like which hand you cough into, that are considered rules of etiquette too, and it's more than just good manners. But a lot of these rules are rooted in a time when achieving social standing was the most important thing, coming out to society at a debutante ball and holding garden parties in your spacious backyard were the norm. But as the times change, so should etiquette rules.
While the rules have not officially changed, there are some things that have taken on a more lenient meaning or have become irrelevant altogether. However, it's still fun to know these rules, and important in case you find yourself marrying into a family that is of old money and old society. There are rules about writing invitations, responding to invitations, chaperoning a ball and even hosting guests in your country home. These might not apply to you directly, but knowing them will definitely be a good conversation starter. Can you pass this etiquette quiz? Take it now to find out!
When walking on the sidewalk with a lady, where should a gentleman always be situated?
On the good side of the lady
No matter if a gentleman is walking with one or two ladies, he is to always stand closest to the curb. He is to never sandwich himself in between the two ladies. Standing closest to the street protects the ladies from traffic mishaps.
What is the telltale sign of a female social climber?
Repetitive name dropping
If a woman makes a point to talk about all of the prominent people, especially men, that she knows, it's because it took her a lot of effort to get to know them, something someone already in society wouldn't have to do.
In a group of people, if you are trying to indicate a specific person to someone else, what's the appropriate way to do that?
You can certainly point at things, but you must never point at people. It gives the impression that they are being talked about, and people usually assume it's in a negative way. Gesturing with an open palm is more welcoming and positive in nature.
How long should dinner guests wait before responding to a formal invitation?
They should respond immediately.
Engraved or written invitations must be answered and put back in the mail immediately, but if it was a telephone invite, the call must be returned right away. Don't expect to get out of it, either. Only death, serious illness or an extremely unforeseen accident will excuse you.
If at a restaurant or formal dinner gathering, when is it appropriate for guests to start eating?
When the host has been served
When everyone has been served
This is something that most people still do but maybe didn't know it is deeply rooted in etiquette. It is not proper to start eating until everyone has been served their food, even in a passed dish or family-style type of dinner.
Are candles appropriate on the table for a luncheon like they are for a dinner?
Only if they're unscented
A luncheon is a much more casual event than a dinner. The whole point of candles is to bring light to the room and table when there is no daylight. But since luncheons are during the day, that renders candles useless.
When getting into the limo, if you're the boss, where should you sit?
The back and farthest right seat in a limo is considered the "power seat." The next person in power line claims the back left seat, and the most junior in power gets the middle. Maybe it's a safety thing, or maybe that seat is just the furthest away from everything else going on.
How can a stranger to the community acquire social standing?
Go wherever their spouse goes
Attending fancy parties
Going to the hottest restaurants
Getting an invitation to someone's home
Joining things like the church or local club is a great way to meet other ladies, but no one will secure status without being invited places. Once a lady secures that first invitation, that could be the start of her standing in society.
If the family a bride is marrying into has social status, does that bride inherit that same status?
She has to earn it.
Only if her family has the same status
It is said that the social status of a bride's family or family in law is hers to take. Upon marriage, she will take on the social status of her new family as well as her own family. It is usual that nothing will really change for her, socially.
Is it appropriate for gentleman to wear his day clothes to dinner?
Yes, unless people are coming over
If he adds a coat
Even if there is no one coming to dinner, a gentleman is expected to change for the meal. However, he is not required to wear a tuxedo, but rather something more comfortable that he can also lounge in after dinner.
In letter writing, is using big words, wordy descriptions and flowery vocabulary a sign of elegance?
For certain occasions
Depends on who's writing it
Yes, it is.
Writing a letter should portray simplicity and come from a natural place. If language is used that is not normal for the writer, it comes off as forced and like they're trying too hard to be something they're not.
If a dinner guest asks for the salt, must you pass the pepper as well?
Only send what they asked for
If you want to
Not unless they ask for it
In etiquette rules, salt and pepper are like a couple; you should never send one without the other. Even if the person doesn't ask for it, chances are they'll end up wanting it, or someone near them will.
How should one set the table for dinner when no guests are expected?
Everyday plates and flatware
The same as if guests were coming
Emily Post clearly states that whether or not guests are coming for dinner, the linens should be spotless, the silver should be at its most polished and the service must be impeccable. Each place setting should be set as well, even if people aren't sitting there.
At the dinner table, should you enter your chair from the left or the right?
Whichever side doesn't have another guest as to not disturb them
To enter your chair, you should do so from the left, but to exit your seat, doing so from the right is proper. There's no reason for this other than if everyone follows the same pattern, there won't be guests bumping into each other trying to sit down.
Doesn't matter as long as you pull your chair out far enough
What age group of people can be invited to a formal ball?
The main difference between a ball and a dance is that people of all ages are welcomed at a ball, whereas at a dance it's usually only one age group of guests. A dance can also be held in someone's home, while a ball is almost always held elsewhere due to the sheer number of guests.
When you put your purse over your shoulder, which shoulder is the proper one to put it over?
Since the right hand is considered the social hand, that extends to the shoulder as well. It's poor etiquette to have to switch sides when you go to greet someone, so always having your purse on your left shoulder is proper.
Of course one would! An afternoon tea held outdoors is simply called a garden party. It can be as formal as a wedding reception or as casual as a sampling of finger sandwiches. It's really up to the host.
If you're looking to get into a sport but don't know much about it, is it appropriate to ask someone more advanced to play with you?
This rule is to avoid the novice acting like they are somehow superior because they are playing with an expert. If the expert asks, the novice may accept as long as they maintain the attitude of a novice.
At a passed plate dinner party, which direction do the plates get passed?
There's no order.
Pass it to whoever wants it.
The general rule of etiquette is that dishes get passed in a counterclockwise direction. The only exception to this is if someone in the other direction asks for something after everyone has gotten some. Then the dish can go right to them.
Which hand should you be coughing and sneezing into?
The right hand is considered the social hand, the one you'll be shaking hands and waving with. The left hand is considered the personal hand and the one you use for coughing, sneezing, scratching, etc.
Given that no one but family and extremely close friends are invited to the christening, the invitations are kept simple and casual stating the pertinent information of the time, place and if there's a luncheon to follow. A telephone call or verbal invitation is also acceptable.
Either Friday afternoon or Saturday lunch to Monday morning
This mostly applies to an occasion where you are hosting weekend guests at your home. That guest is to arrive either Friday afternoon or Saturday at lunch and is welcome and expected to stay through Monday morning.
Are women expected to keep up with fashion trends?
In a way
They are expected to know the latest styles, but they should only wear them if the style fits them and coordinates with their standing in society. It's better to wear something older that fits and flatters than something new that makes them look silly.
If someone is in your way, is it proper to say "excuse me"?
It's important to be aware of your tone when saying "excuse me." It can come off very sarcastic, rude and patronizing if said in a certain way. It can also come off as very confrontational, so be aware.
Making sure that everything the groom will need for the wedding is organized, folded and packed is the first duty of the best man when it comes to wedding time. He's also responsible for loading the car or other means of transportation with the groom's bags.
Is a man always expected to open the door for others?
When he's courting someone, yes
Only if he's opening it for a lady
Door opening actually doesn't depend on the gender, it depends on who gets to the door first. Normally, a gentleman will walk ahead of a lady so he can open the door for her, but it doesn't always have to be the man.
If you're the one inviting people to a restaurant, does that mean you have to pay?
It sure does.
It depends on how you word the invitation. If you literally say "I'm inviting you," then yes, you are expected to pay. But it if it's a more general, "Let's go out to eat," then everyone pays for themselves or figures out a payment situation.