Bette’s Etiquette Beat: Love is in the Air!
Love is in the air! The day of hearts and flowers, hugs and kisses, proposals and romantic gestures is upon us once again. I always find it curious that we need a special day on the calendar designated to being loving towards each other. Shouldn’t we be that way all the time? I like to think I practice in the February 14th sentiment all year round: buying flowers for someone special (including myself!), sending a card to a friend saying I value having them in my life or cooking a nice dinner and breaking bread over a lovely bottle of wine with someone near and dear. Just writing this makes me want to get on the phone and host a dinner party for all the VIPs in my life – every night of the week!
Realistically, I know that is not going to happen. I love to let people know that they are important to me and I do not wait for an arbitrary day in the year to let them know that. That being said, when I think of Valentine’s Day, certain things come to mind: roses, romantic dinners, doors being held open, chairs being pulled out, standing when a lady leaves the table etc. I recently had an encounter that reminded me that the “proverbial knight in shining armour” is not a thing of yesterday or of ancient lore.
About three weeks ago, I dropped in on my former housemate in Westboro. Her driveway is accessed by a small laneway that goes to the back of the house which is usually cleared. Finding her not at home, I got back in the car to continue my errands, but I backed up right into a pile of snow. I was royally s-t-u-c-k! After spending about half an hour desperately trying to get “unstuck”(during which time I also lost my keys in the snow) I did what every annoyed, frustrated and exhausted strong willed person would do next – I started crying-LOUDLY. And behold, my Sir Galahad appeared in the form of the school principal neighbour, valiantly responding to my distressed damsel’s sobs. With his arrival, cooler heads prevailed and he found my key and armed with a bag of salt and expert driving technique, had me out of the rut in a matter of minutes. With a tip of his toque and a warm smile, he was gone. It is nice to see that in 2012, chivalry is very much alive in Ottawa, and not only on Valentine’s Day.
So if you have big plans for the day, here are a few etiquette pitfalls I suggest you avoid and to show that special person that you are a very well mannered companion :
– Baseball hats (or any other hat wear for that matter) should be removed at the table. I have mentioned it before, but if they are part of your ensemble, then I respectfully suggest you look at a hatless option, just for one day. And gals unless you are wearing a hat that requires 100 hat pins and numerous ribbons, same goes for you. Bald spots and bad hair days are not a reason to leave your lid on.
– Cell phones at the table- forbidden! Not just on February 14th– all year round. If there is a need to call 911, flag down the waiter. Same goes for texting- a silent, but just as deadly dining faux pas.
– February is also flu month, so if you have to blow your nose and can’t leave the table, please use a tissue or hanky and do not, under any circumstances use your table napkin. Gesundheit to that I say!
However and with whomever you spend February 14th above all else, enjoy yourself. And this year, try to make it a point to have more days during the year, where you show appreciation to those in your life and yourself.
You can send your thoughts (and any questions) on this month’s topic or any other etiquette related queries to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I will respond in a future column.
Glad you dropped in-you are always welcome.
* Feature photo entitled: “All you need is love” is provided to OLM courtesy of Nancy Greenway*