Elbows off, smiles on
Miss Manners crashes dinner: It's a new Kardashian world, but old standardsstill matter
Manners do not discriminate. Rich, poor, Kardashian - anyone can be charmer. It's part of why Latin men can be so attractive (despite often hidden macho agendas) and how the Chinese choose business partners.
For Mary Lee Kennedy, 62, manners are about kindness.
At the Strip House Wednesday night, 34 business professionals received a manners manicure by Kennedy, in a red-lipstick room. During her lesson, Kennedy recalled her teen years in Louisiana, where she wasn't allowed to leave home without her gloves.
In her seminars on etiquette, she likes to mix old with the new.
Kennedy led the Emerging Leaders, a group dedicated to grooming young professionals and developments downtown, through their dinner with a relaxed basic training in etiquette.
Hannah Thieodeux, 24, a senior broadcast major at the University of Houston, was there on invitation by the Emerging Leaders president Shavonnah Roberts.
"I'm glad she didn't make it stuffy," Thieodeux said. "So many of these manners seminars are like that."
Thieodeux says most of the information regurgitated things she's heard before at other events like these, but that it served as a good refresher.
"I picked up on things that I'd even use on a date," Thieodeux said.
Here's a list of basic dinner table no-nos:
- Chewing with your mouth open or talking with food in your mouth
- Slurping, smacking, blowing your nose or making any other unpleasant noises
- Holding a utensil like a shovel
- Picking your teeth at the table — or, even worse, flossing
- Failing to place your napkin on your lap or not using it all
- Taking a sip of a drink while still chewing food (unless you're choking)
- Cutting up all your food at once
- Slouching over your place setting or leaning on your elbows while eating
- Executing the "boardinghouse reach" rather than asking someone to pass you something that's far away
- Leaving the table without saying, "excuse me"
- Never let your back recline against your chair during dinner (a difficult habit to break)
- Ladies do not cross their legs, only their ankles (an even harder habit to break)
- Never ask a new acquaintance about their schooling (not everyone goes to college)
- You CAN wear white after Labor Day (still seems dangerous)
- Black attire at weddings is fine (never white)
- Look people in the eye while toasting (isn't that flirtatious?)
- Don't make your eating habits an announcement (looking at you vegetarians)
- Never talk about sex, politics or religion
After trying these rules out on the dinner table, my party found themselves conversing on carnivale in St. Lucia, skin-scalding pools in Las Vegas and traffic in Chicago. Strip House served a Caesar salad with hearts of Romaine and paprika croutons, filet mignon with black truffle creamed spinach and crisp goose fat potatoes and the chocolate cake with chocolate whipped cream and vanilla sauce.
Psst ... Strip House's filet mignon is very soft — like biting into a nightgown (which isn't very polite).