IF YOU PLEASE

IF YOU PLEASE

Navigating the social realm of today’s modern world may offer many ways to now view things.  Our very own Etiquette Guy, Jay Remer, is on the scene to provide both sense and sensibility with any social conundrums you may have.  

Dear Etiquette Guy,

Can you please remind me of some of the fall season rules…like no white dinner jackets after Labor Day, etc.? Can I still dress summery if I live in a resort climate?

On The Scene Again

Dear Scene and Be Seen,

Given the pandemic, flexibility is the new name of the game. In fashion, the old rules may no longer apply as stringently. If you really feel like wearing white after Labor Day has passed, then wear white. With climate change weighing heavily on us, unseasonably peculiar weather patterns require us to be more adaptable. Look and feel the way that puts you in a festive mood. We’re awakening to a new world, and with that comes new rules.

 

 

Dear Etiquette Guy,

With Covid in mind, is there a protocol you recommend when asking people I will gather with if they have been fully vaccinated as a health precaution?

Very Vaccinated

Dear Ready to Mingle,

This intersection has already presented challenges because the decision to vaccinate is a very personal one. I have found that asking the host before accepting the invitation is the way to go if this is a concern. Legitimate reasons for requiring vaccinations or asking that guests wear masks need to be considered by hosts and guests. For example, if someone has a compromised immune system, they may request that unvaccinated people wear masks. The bottom line is that the host calls the shots. They, too, may have personal views that may or may not align with yours. You must do what is best for you, even if that means sending your regrets.

 

 

Dear Etiquette Guy,

Since weddings are happening again, do you have any favorite gifts these days that you recommend for the fortunate couple?

Aisle Be There

Dear Aisle Say,

Personally, I like kitchen gadgetry. I also like good-quality gardening tools. Consumables, gift cards, and experiences are always an excellent choice for older couples who already have everything they need. There is also no harm in asking the couple what they’d like. Buying something for them that they would not normally splurge on for themselves is often a guaranteed hit.

 

 

Dear Etiquette Guy

We will invariably be invited to costume Halloween parties again this year. It’s just not my favorite holiday, especially with the pressure of dressing up. Thoughts on a polite decline?  

Hallowed Eve

Dear All About Eve,

If Halloween parties just aren’t your thing, sending your regrets as you would any other invitation is appropriate. The reason for declining is personal and need not be shared. If pressed, however, honesty is the best policy. Your true friends will not judge you negatively for being your authentic self. The shoe will be on the other foot one day, giving you, too, the opportunity to graciously accept regrets without explanation.

CHARTING THE COURSE

CHARTING THE COURSE

In this topsy-turvy world, we can always count on intuition and common sense to help us stay the course as we round the bend with the pandemic, according to our infallibly sensible Etiquette Guy, Jay Remer.

Dear Etiquette Guy, 

Can you please help me take the guesswork out of dressing for a summer black-tie dinner party? 

Curiously Dressing Up 

Dear Dressing Up,  

Whenever dressing for any formal occasion, my best advice is to be comfortable, which begins with ensuring your ensemble and shoes fit correctly. Women are fortunate that they have far more flexibility and can wear colorful dresses–short or long, depending on the occasion. This traditionalist advises resisting wearing slacks or skirts for black-tie affairs, as they are too informal. It’s wonderful to enjoy all the flair you wish. Being colorful, chic, and bejeweled is always a winning combination. 

 

For men, I recommend wearing a basic black tuxedo. In the summer, a white dinner jacket is appropriate and preferred, especially in warmer climates like Texas. A crisp white shirt sets off a black suit beautifully, but soft colors can work nicely with a white jacket, especially if the color highlights your best features. A hand-tied black silk bow tie is traditional–and for a good reason–it’s always perfect. Black silk or cotton socks match your patent leather or polished black shoes. If you feel the need to add some flair to your sartorial look, limit it to one item only–a colorful tie with or without matching bright cummerbund, etc. Keeping things simple eliminates the guesswork and achieves a smashing look.

 

 

Dear Etiquette Guy, 

Now that COVID-19 has rounded the corner, what is the appropriate attire at summer weddings, daytime, and evening events? 

  Wedding Wonder 

 Dear Wonderful Wedding Goer, 

As we emerge from the confines of this cruel pandemic, weddings are once again possible. Daytime celebrations are usually less formal than evening affairs. Women have more latitude at afternoon weddings with extravagant hats and flowing chiffon dresses, setting a high style. Slacks and skirts are also appropriate. Remember that comfort is key. Wearing sensible shoes is, well, sensible. Avoid wearing serious jewelry during the day, but please do bring out the bling at night. Sparkle, dazzle and shine as much as you wish. In the afternoon, men may wear casual suits or a snazzy trouser/blazer combo. Traditionally, neckties are standard, but as a more relaxed, comfortable style evolves, ties are becoming optional. For an evening event, ties still create a formal tone, especially if black-tie is not requested.

 

Dear Etiquette Guy,

As pandemic protocol loosens up a bit, can you lend some insight on summer travel etiquette when it comes to interacting with resort staff? 

Off To The Islands 

Dear Island Hopper, 

Traveling this summer will be different than pre-COVID times. Frankly, I’d be less concerned with the staff than with other guests. All hotels, resorts, or other tourism venues should have strict protocols in place. The staff must follow these to the letter. Guests, unfortunately, can be less attentive. In any case, I advise keeping a safe distance, wash your hands appropriately, and wear a mask in close quarters. Avoid physical contact with anyone as a precaution. Use common sense because our safety is everyone’s safety.

 

Dear Etiquette Guy

With school starting back in August, any advice for parents on encouraging our children into a routine again? 

Passionate Parent

Dear Parental Guidance Suggested, 

Raising children during COVID has been the most difficult challenge parents have ever faced in generations. Children thrive on routine and reassurance. They also can understand the reasons why there have been changes and that everyone is struggling–some even suffering. My best advice is for parents to set the pace for establishing their own routine first. Children will naturally follow your lead, especially with encouragement, which is not to be confused with commandments.

 

Above all, have consideration for your children when they are out of sorts and confused. Also, remember to have self-compassion. These times are not easy for any of us, and we must realize that no matter what, we are doing our best. We all deserve grace from time to time. Of course, with any situations that are beyond our ability to handle, professional guidance is available.

SOCIAL MOMENTUM

SOCIAL MOMENTUM

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. It’s a familiar sage we all grew up with and try to live by, right? Here, we introduce our new Etiquette Guy, Jay Remer, who will be sharing his fearlessly flawless insight on modern social conundrums.

Dear Etiquette Guy,

I have friends and colleagues who have received honorary doctorates for their service to a university, as well as friends who have been ordained online to officiate a relative’s wedding. They insist on being referred to as Dr. and Reverend. Please advise.

Title Quandary

Dear Title Inquirer,

One of life’s greatest joys is achieving a milestone. Honorary degrees signify an extraordinary contribution to one’s chosen field. The honorific (title) that comes with such a degree should only be used when addressing an audience about your specific area of expertise. Otherwise, using the title is braggadocios and best avoided.

Obtaining online ordinations usually requires minimal effort. Titles should only be used for ordinations. No one should rest on false laurels since they can often diminish the accomplishments of others.

Dear Etiquette Guy,

You’ve always said that times change, but good manners are timeless. I’m concerned about when people I’ve never met before (a doctor’s office receptionist, restaurant hostess, or a store clerk, for example) call me by a pet name like honey, or sweetheart. I don’t think it’s acceptable for someone younger (or anyone I don’t know) to speak to me in this manner. What can I say to these people that won’t offend them?

Naming Rights

Dear Call-You-By-Your-Name,

Correcting people for using these off-putting greetings is awkward at best. The service industry has developed a less formal approach, especially during the challenges of COVID-19. If we focus on the intention of these greetings, our sensibilities may be more forgiving. Often these remarks are automatic responses that reflect cultural differences.

 

As with most things that cause us discomfort, self-reflecting on why they affect us can be revealing. However, if a correction is necessary, a phrase such as, “Please don’t call me honey,” should suffice. It is up to us to decide which rabbit holes to enter. This one may be one to avoid.

 

Dear Etiquette Guy,

As a man, I often forget when I should stand if a lady enters a room. Or, should I not stand at all in keeping with modern and equality manner standards so as not to offend her?

  Standing At Attention

Dear Stand and Deliver,

Your confusion is as mysterious to you as to many men during these changing times as we finally recognize women as equals. Since the days of women’s liberation, men have become too shy to show deference to women lest they rebuff their intended good manners.

 

As a result, two standards have evolved: one for business and one for social occasions. In business situations, men and women deserve equal consideration. Therefore, unless everyone stands when anyone enters the rooms, refrain from standing at all. At social affairs, men still show deference to women, although with less fanfare. If you feel more comfortable standing when a woman or an elderly person enters the room, feel free to do so as no one should be offended, and many will show their appreciation with a smile.

 

Someone once remarked, “No one can offend you without your permission.” This implies taking full responsibility for our feelings–a lofty goal–but one worth pondering.

CHARACTER CREATION

CHARACTER CREATION

In the new book, The Pursuit Of Growth (A Lifestyle To Flourish In Today’s World), Dallas-based authors Greg W. Brinkley and Sammy Gonzalez are leading the charge to inspire readers in personal development and goal achievement. Here, in an exclusive expert, the theme of character is a compelling topic during these times.

Character is the mental and moral qualities distinctive to an individual. The responsibility of identifying and improving good character traits is critical to our wellbeing. Good character promotes peace of mind by eliminating guilt associated with bad character. It strengthens trust, which helps to grow personal and professional relationships. It reduces anxiety by eliminating the baggage of bad character. It increases the effectiveness of the ability to lead others. It builds self-esteem through living a life of personal satisfaction and inner peace.

In our culture, accolades are given to those who achieve certain levels of status, which includes their power, wealth, possessions, and personal accomplishments. I won’t argue that any of these examples of achievement are bad in and of themselves, but I will argue that these accomplishments without the presence of good character are not worthy of accolades or celebration. If forced to choose between the two, I would rather live my life with trustworthiness, fairness, respect, caring, responsibility, and good citizenship over piled up trophies, awards, and riches.

  •  Your character is more important than reputation. Reputation is based only on what others observe, while character is the depth underneath the surface.
  •  Your character is based on the principle of doing the right thing regardless of whether or not someone is
    there to see it.
  •  Your character grows through its expression. The more character is displayed, the easier it is to replicate. Good or bad.
  •  Your character is a choice.
  •  Your character is influenced by others, especially close relationships.
  •  Your character traits must receive consistent focus and reflection to ensure they become habitual and natural in their response.
  •  Your character builds your mental strength and discipline.
  •  Your character affects your mental health and wellbeing, and good character is a tremendous benefit to friends, family, and society.
  •  Your character is rewarded over time as a result of the positive influence it extends to others, just as bad character will eventually return and bring pain.

Your character is tested throughout each day, ranging from small decisions that only affect yourself to big decisions that affect others with various risks and consequences. These instances of testing occur when you feel some adversity standing in the way of a decision you need to make. In many circumstances, your natural instinct is to handle adversity by making decisions that will benefit or keep you out of short-term trouble. This may include taking unethical shortcuts, cheating, lying, or reacting based on your primary impulses of getting ahead. It’s very similar to how children behave. In fact, have you noticed that the biggest difference between your struggles with bad character and those of a small child is your ability to hide the bad behavior with more skill? With which character traits do you struggle?

To succeed with the Pursuit of Growth lifestyle, you must develop a habit of feeding yourself examples of good character. You can read books and study how to grow good character traits. If you are religious, you can explore the moral lessons found in your faith.

You have opportunities to observe good character traits in other people. Speak with people to learn their best practices on character. Develop your list of the character traits you must improve upon and define how you can replicate them in your day-to-day life. Think about circumstances where you are likely to face adversity and focus on reacting with good character. Perhaps imagine the worst-case scenario that could occur as a result of making difficult decisions based on good character. You’ll constantly surprise yourself by realizing the worst-case scenarios are rarely as bad as you originally believed. This training prepares you for situations that you’ll face daily, and it strengthens your willpower to make the right decisions. How will you grow your character?

The Book