Tag Archives: etiquette

Mr. Blog’s Party Advice (Imponderable #133)

27 Dec

December 27, 2016


Dear Mr. Blog:

I am throwing a big New Year’s Eve soiree and I am inviting the crème de la crème of society. Nearly the entire Wayne Rogers Junior High marching band will be there! But I have a problem that I hope you can help me with. I don’t want to be a laughingstock at my next algebra club meeting. 

How is a combination of cake and ice cream to be served? On a dessert plate or in a bowl? How is it eaten? Fork or spoon? Is it ever proper to eat from a plate with a spoon?


(Signed) Bruin Z. Othello, AKA Myron from the Block

Dear Myron

This is just the sort of letter I’d toss in the trash over to Mr. Know-It-All’s desk but he’s been locked in the men’s room since last week. However, Myron, I found a good substitute. This is an actual answer to your question from Miss Manners. Yes, she is still alive… sort of.

GENTLE READER: Have you ever tried to eat ice cream with a fork?

You needn’t. Contrary to what many people believe, Miss Manners assures you that etiquette is not out to trick you. When dessert is both textured and runny or gooey, both a spoon and a fork should be available.

It would also be too much of a challenge to have to eat cake from a bowl. The ice cream is properly placed on top of the cake, so that any melting will be absorbed before getting to the plate.

“Too much of a challenge to have to eat cake from a bowl”??? Seriously? Miss Manners’ dictionary must have a different meaning of the word “challenge” than mine does.

Is it too hard to put the cake in a bowl, plop some ice cream on top of it, and eat it all with a spoon? If you can’t eat a piece of cake with a spoon and need to break out a fork to do some heavy lifting, you are A: serving the wrong kind of cake or B: clearly doing something wrong with your life.

Myron, what kind of a person can’t figure this one out?
The question is Imponderable.

blank imponderable header

And in case anyone was wondering, that was an actual letter to Miss Manners from just last week. Sigh, I weep for the world. Somewhere in Europe there are starving kids who would eat a piece of cake with their bare hands out of a tiger’s mouth and people here worry about which utensil to use? This is why I hate people.



What would Miss Manners say?

4 Oct

October 4, 2012

I was faced with an etiquette dilemma yesterday. Etiquette is an interesting subject. There are rules for every situation. Which fork do I eat my salad with? How long do I wait before writing a thank you note? Should I tell my date she has food stuck in her teeth? Stuff like that. Not that I really care. These are the stupid rules that I don’t live by. Which fork do I eat my salad with? Whichever is in my hand. How long do I wait before I write a thank you note? I dunno, never wrote one. I said “thank you” at the time the event I was thanking them for occurred. Should I tell my date she has food stuck in her teeth? Not if I want her to put out.

But I do have to admit that once in a while I am faced with some social situation that I wish there was a handbook for. For example, I think there was a dead man in the men’s room yesterday.

At times like this I wish Mr. Know-It-All was still around because this is right up his alley.

Let me say a (mercifully very) few words about my bathroom philosophy. In a nutshell, I am all business. I don’t talk or socialize, I don’t conduct business, I go in and do what I am there to do and leave as soon as possible. OK, maybe I’ll send a text while I’m siting there but who hasn’t done that? There is nothing enticing to me about the men’s room. I will therefore avoid anything less than clinical in this description. 

I went into the men’s room at The Company I Am employed by and was immediately struck, almost physically struck, by the smell. It was a stench the likes of which can only be found in Satan’s can of air freshener. In normal situations I’d turn around and use the facilities on another floor, but in this case I really had no choice. Not if I wanted to retain my dignity. So I went in and rushed to the urinal and yada yada yada the stink only got worse the longer I stayed there. So I rushed over to the sink (no matter how diabolical the odor I still wash my hands and you better too!) and as I was washing I looked in the mirror and had a view of the closed stalls behind me.

I thought I was alone. There was not a single sound, other than those I made, the whole time I was in there yet the mirror showed me the feet of a man in the stall. Nothing remarkable about the shoes. They were the average shoes you’d see on a businessman, and I am not enough of a lavatory detective to identify a man from his shoes in the bottom of the bathroom stall, nor do I care to be.

But they didn’t move.

The stink was only getting worse yet whatever was causing it was doing so soundlessly. The man in the stall seemed to be totally motionless. And the stink in the men’s room could only be caused by the rotting dead.  Either that or it was the stench that killed the guy and I wasn’t sticking around to find out.

I hurried out and went back to my desk.

What should I have done?

A- Ask the guy in the stall if he is OK.
This makes no sense. If he is fine then it will do no good to embarrass the guy by pointing out that he stinks like road kill. If he is sick then I sure don’t want to catch the evil effluence that he has. And if he is dead then the question is moot.

B- Inform someone that there is a dead man in the men’s room.
If I am wrong then all I have done is embarrass myself, not to mention the guy in the stall when security arrives to investigate.  And if he is dead then my filling out forms and spending time telling various authorities about how I found the corpse on the toilet will not do him any good, let alone me.

C- Do nothing and pretend you were never there.

C. I did C.

I never did find out if the guy was dead, but when I went back at the end of the day the bathroom had been sanitized to within an inch of its life.


For another men’s room etiquette issue, click here.

You know another guy who doesn’t follow social conventions? Larry David. Here is one of my favorite bits.

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