LowComDom Performances Presents
Rules Miss Manners Has Never Told You About
By Dave Barry
I think we can all agree that there is not enough common courtesy shown . . . HEY! PAY ATTENTION WHEN I'M TALKING TO YOU! I said I think we can all agree that there is not enough common courtesy shown today.
When we take the time to be courteous to each other, we find that we are happier and less likely to engage in nuclear war. This point was driven home by the recent summit talks, where Nancy Reagan and Raisa Gorbachev, each of whose husband thinks the other's husband is vermin, were able to sit down at a high-level tea and engage in courteous conversation:
MRS. REAGAN (smiling so hard that little clots of her makeup are breaking off and falling into the cream pitcher): Here! Let me pour you some tea!
MRS. GORBACHEV (snatching at the teapot): No! Allow me! (A struggle ensues. There is a scream.)
MRS. REAGAN: I'm SO sorry! I appear to have scalded one of your aides! Here! Take one of mine!
MRS. GORBACHEV: No! YOU take one of MINE! And so on. By the time they got these two high-level women separated, the world was a safer place indeed. We need more of this kind of courtesy, which is why today we're going to brush up on the rules of etiquette governing everyday social situations.
WHAT TO DO WHEN SOMEBODY DIES:
At the funeral, go up and inspect the deceased, then make some kind of comforting remark to the next of kin, such as, "Ted looks great! He doesn't even look dead!" (Unless Ted is in an urn.) If there is a party afterward, nobody should start dancing until the next of kin have eaten.
You always introduce the YOUNGER person to the OLDER person, using the wording: "Miss Brown, I'd like to introduce you to an older person." (Unless her name is not "Miss Brown.") If you do not know a person's age, ask for a driver's license and a major credit card. If you are introduced to a member of a minority group, use the "high-five" style handshake, followed by a remark designed to show you don't mind a bit, such as "I see you are a (name of minority group)! Good!"
HOW MANY HORS D'OEUVRES YOU ARE ALLOWED TO TAKE OFF A TRAY BEING CARRIED BY A WAITER AT A NICE PARTY:
Two, but there are ways around it, depending on the style of the hors d'oeuvres. If they're those little pastry things where you can't tell what's inside, you take one, bite off about two-thirds of it, then say: "This is CHEESE! I HATE cheese!" Then you put the rest of it back on the tray and bite another one and go, "DARN it! ANOTHER cheese!" and so on. If it's a kind of hors d'oeuvre that doesn't have a disguise, such as shrimp, you tell the waiter you need extra ones "for a friend" who's "out in the car" and "can't walk" because he "doesn't have any feet." The more details you add, the more believable your story will be. "The car is a 1974 Buick LeSabre," you might add, for example.
EATING LOBSTER IN A FORMAL SETTING:
First you snap off the antennae and say: "Would anybody care for my antennae? How about an eye stalk?" Then you take the rest of the lobster apart and make general conversation about what you find inside ("What's this? It looks like mucus!")
You should tip the waiter $10, minus $2 if he tells you his name, another $2 if he claims it will be His Pleasure to serve you, another $2 for each "special" he describes involving confusing terms such as "shallots," and $4 if the menu contains the word "fixin's." In many restaurants, this means the waiter will actually owe YOU money. If you are traveling with a child age 6 months to 3 years, you should leave an additional amount equal to twice the bill to compensate for the fact that they will have to take the banquette out and burn it because the cracks are wedged solid with gobbets made of partially chewed former restaurant rolls saturated with baby spit.
In New York, tip the taxicab driver $40 if he does not mention his hemorrhoids.
HOW TO GET FREE DRINKS AT A WEDDING RECEPTION YOU HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH EXCEPT IT'S BEING HELD AT THE HOTEL WHERE YOU'RE STAYING AND YOU HAPPENED TO WANDER BY:
Sidle in and stand around the bar with the invited guests, occasionally remarking: "It sure is good to see my old friend, the groom, again! Or the bride! I lent my formal clothes to a friend! He has no feet!"
GOT AN ETIQUETTE QUESTION FOR DAVE? Stick it in your nose.