Miss Manners: No matter the dress code, our friend is in a T-shirt and shorts

0
Placeholder while article actions load

Dear Miss Manners: We have a close friend who is really one of the nicest people you’d ever want to meet. His family and ours often get together for dinners at each other’s homes, restaurants, etc.

The problem, which causes some of us a bit of embarrassment, is that his “dress” is always shorts and a T-shirt. Dinners with guests beyond our group, holiday meals, outings at nice restaurants (including some that in past years would not have let him in dressed that way) — the same shorts and T-shirt.

In all other respects, he is a kind, friendly, wonderful, outgoing person. Is there any way that you can suggest to politely address this with him?

“There’s a dress code: long pants and sleeved shirts. I hope you don’t mind.”

That people do mind, vehemently, has always puzzled Miss Manners. Everyone claims to dress only for comfort or self-expression, but at the same time, everyone is using clothing choice as a way of sizing up others.

Your friend may well mind, claiming that you don’t value him for his real self (which you obviously do). You will have to decide whether it is worthwhile to explain to him that clothing is a visible symbolic system and that not conforming to basic standards is interpreted as lack of respect.

Or you can just stop being embarrassed for him. You are not responsible for his choices.

Dear Miss Manners: I have spent a lot of time in England and France, and I note that in both countries, people use both a knife and fork while eating most foods — holding the fork in the left hand with tines pointed downward and the knife in the right, cutting the food and then spearing it and transferring it on the fork to one’s mouth.

In Europe, there is none of this business of cutting the meat into a bite-sized piece, then transferring the fork from left hand to right before moving meat to mouth, which is how I was taught to eat “correctly” while growing up.

I find the European practice much more, well, practical, and have adopted it. Am I behaving rudely now in my own country? Do you know why our American practice was instituted?

Yes, and Miss Manners apologizes to those who have heard her explain this many times before.

The American style of eating was not “instituted” in the way you imagine. It was brought to this country by Europeans, as the standard practice in Europe in the 18th century.

The use of the fork came late there, and Europeans were used to eating with their hands, a spoon or a hunting knife, for which the right hand was employed. So when they began to use forks, those were also in the right hand when eating, although not when a knife was also employed. Thus the transfer method.

Yes, things have sped up in Europe, and if you want to get your food in faster, that is a way to do it. Civilized American dining, however, retains the older method.

New Miss Manners columns are posted Monday through Saturday on washingtonpost.com/advice. You can send questions to Miss Manners at her website, missmanners.com. You can also follow her @RealMissManners.

FOLLOW US ON GOOGLE NEWS

 

Read original article here

Denial of responsibility! Elite News is an automatic aggregator of the all world’s media. In each content, the hyperlink to the primary source is specified. All trademarks belong to their rightful owners, all materials to their authors. If you are the owner of the content and do not want us to publish your materials, please contact us by email – [email protected]. The content will be deleted within 24 hours.

Leave a comment