Behind The Collection GOOD EVENING February 22, 2024
What's The Deal With Puzzling? January 17, 2024
La La Land's Guide to Modern Day Etiquette
Once upon a time, etiquette and good manners were hammered into people at the same time as they learned to tie their shoelaces. To help people along the learning curve, books were written on the subject, and lessons were delivered by scary-looking women with the title of ‘Governess’. Unfortunately, modern day etiquette isn’t quite as clear-cut, nor are the rules delivered as a part of the school curriculum.
So, if you’re a bit fuzzy on which one is the salad fork, La La Land is here to help with this quick guide to modern manners.
Modern day etiquette for mobile phones
Back when correct etiquette was something people obsessed over, mobile phones weren’t yet invented. This definitely limited one’s scope for committing faux-pas of the epic variety. Mobile phones are probably involved in 99.9% of today’s obnoxious behaviour, so it’s worth noting these modern day etiquette bullet points.
- Your phone isn’t fused to your hand (yet), so it’s OK to put it in your handbag or pocket sometimes.
- Quit yelling! If you can’t hear the other person, it doesn’t always mean they can’t hear you.
- Get off the phone while you’re going through the checkout at Coles. If you don’t, the cashier will give you the wrong change and you will deserve it.
- It’s never, ever OK to take a selfie at a funeral.
- Don’t dissect the latest episode of Married At First Sight with your bestie at 160db in the middle of a peak-hour train carriage. Especially don’t do it on FaceTime.
- You pay for voicemail. So if your phone rings in the middle of a conversation with a real live person, it’s actually OK to let the call go to voicemail. That’s why you pay for voicemail.
- Before a big night out, swap mobile phones with your friend. This will stop you from drunk sexting your ex.
- If you leave your fancy big iPhone on a table at a restaurant, the waitperson might mistake it for a plate and put it in the dishwasher (and you will deserve it).
If you forget your manners and a phone is involved, try sending this by way of apology.
Modern day etiquette for dining
Ok, we admit that it’s fairly unlikely you’ll be dining with the queen anytime soon, but that doesn’t give you free rein to behave like a Neanderthal at the dinner table. Having nice manners makes you pleasant to eat with. It also increases the chances of your dining companions being able to keep their food down (or not throwing it at you). Here are the basic rules for modern day dining etiquette:
- Use a plate. Taking in your nutrients out of a pot is only ok if you are a houseplant.
- If there’s lots of silverware on the table, start from the outside and work inwards, only changing your weapons each time the plate is cleared by the waitperson. When you finish a course, placing your cutlery side by side on the plate at about a four or five o’clock angle is a good way to indicate to the waitperson that you’re done.
- Don’t obsess about the glassware. The waitperson knows what liquid to pour in what glass. Your task is to ensure that you resist all temptation to gulp it down before the food arrives.
- Don’t start eating until everyone has been served their meal. You may get away with sneaking a French fry, but only if you offer one to everybody else on the table.
- Try really, really hard not to touch your mobile phone during the meal. This increases in importance by a factor of 20% if you’re not in your own home, and a factor of 30% if you’re at a restaurant. Add another 50% if you’re on a date. First date? Add 80%. And if you’re at someone’s house eating a meal that they just cooked you, add a zillion percent.
- Don’t pick at your teeth after you’ve eaten – not even if there happens to be toothpicks on the table. This is a trap.
- Napkins are for placing in your lap, and the only time you should remove them is if you’re leaving the table, or dabbing delicately at the corners of your mouth. If you even think about blowing your nose on one, a team of people wearing hazmat suits will descend upon your table and remove both you and the napkin – we’ve seen it happen.
- Exhibit decorum when using the office fridge. Don’t overcrowd it with your Almond Mylk, frightening Kale and Beet salads or rotting leftovers. And don’t eat anything you didn’t put in there.
- Remember, your dietary requirements and choices are yours and yours alone. So if you choose to exist as someone who will only eat fruit that’s fallen from trees on a Sunday, that should not dictate where a group of 20 people goes for dinner. Take some fallen fruit to the place the majority has agreed upon and ask the waitperson politely for a paring knife.
- If you must send back your meal at a restaurant for whatever reason, be polite about it. Encourage your dining companions to eat the meal that they’ve been served before it gets cold. Failing to follow these instructions may result in one or more people spitting in your mashed potato while you’re not looking.
- If you’re having dinner at someone’s house, sending it back is not an option under any circumstances. Discretely distribute it among your trouser pockets if it’s really bad.
Need some plates? Check out these beauties.
Modern day etiquette for social media
If we did still write serious books about modern day etiquette, there’d be several chapters worth of good advice to follow on social media use. It’s another big topic, with a mind-boggling set of unwritten rules and an array of potential stuff-ups at your very fingertips. Fortunately, there are some simple bullet-points for life to follow here too:
- Don’t air your relationship dramas in your Facebook feed. We have reality television for that sort of entertainment.
- If you wouldn’t say something to someone’s face without expecting a punch in the nose, then you probably shouldn’t type it.
- Responding with LOL is not appropriate if someone announces sad news. It stands for ‘Laugh Out Loud’, not ‘Lots Of Love’.
- Don’t send friend requests to people you aren’t actually friends with. A good guideline for this is whether you knew their last name before you tried to find them on Facebook.
- If you’re going to comment on something, glance through the other comments first. This will save you from saying that smarty-pants thing that three other people have already said, which would make you look like an un-original smarty-pants.
- Make absolutely CERTAIN that someone is actually pregnant before congratulating them – that rounded tummy may just be a food baby. This advice carries over into real life too.
- Familarise yourself with the EDIT and the DELETE button that hovers just above a post or comment, and undertake some periodic ‘delete drills’ to make sure you’re primed. Remember that you only have a nano-second before some sanctimonious rascal screen-shots the regrettable thing you just typed, so you have to act fast.
- For each post that you make, get in there and like or comment on some stuff that other people post. It’s not all about you. Or your dog. Or your cute kids. Or those cat memes that you find hilarious.
Remember at all times, life actually extends outside of Facebook and there are lots of better places for you and your baggage to hang out.
Modern day etiquette for meetings, parties and events
Being invited places is really rather nice. Having a few clues about modern day etiquette in these situations is what ensures that you’ll be invited back again. Here’s the drill on what you should and shouldn’t do, to keep the good times rolling.
- If it’s a party, you should RSVP by the RSVP date, regardless of whether your answer is yes or no. If there’s no RSVP date, respond within two days. Last minute RSVPs scream “I was waiting for a better offer, but nothing came through” to your host.
- You should make every human effort to be on time. If you are going to be late, you need to give the person you are meeting some notice, so they can either reschedule or adjust their plans. Being more than 20 minutes late is not excusable, unless there has been a cyclone or other similarly-scaled event of nature.
- If you’re invited to someone’s house for dinner, you should take a bottle of something nice to drink. You should not start to drink that bottle in the taxi on the way there.
- If you host a party yourself and you receive gifts, it’s good manners to post a thank you card. Not everything can be covered by SMS, regardless of how many Emojis you append to the message.
- Similarly, if you’re invited to someone’s party, take a gift, and attach an appropriate greeting card. Resist all temptation to just write on the wrapping paper. Yes, there must be wrapping paper.
- If there’s no special occasion, take flowers or a plant. Ensure these are still alive before presenting them to your host.
- If you’re a drinker, alternate your drinks with a glass of water. Doing so will ensure you don’t throw up off the balcony, or into the pot plant you just gave your host.
Looking for a greeting card that opens with a bang? Pop one of these on your gift:
Aside from the advice laid out above, it pays to remember that modern day etiquette stretches into almost every aspect of daily life. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe said: “A man’s manners are a mirror in which he shows his portrait.” Now, we don’t know who he is either, but it seems a pretty sensible thing to say. Your good manners are the way you project yourself into the world, and how you show everyone that you respect and appreciate them. You don’t really need to remember all the silly rules. You can probably even forget all that stuff about silverware. You just need to remember to think of others, and the rest will take care of itself.