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Didi’s Manners & Etiquette: Mrs. Trump’s Bad Table Manners, Weddings + More

Friday, April 07, 2017


Questions to Didi Lorillard at Newportmanners this week focused on bridal registries, keeping up with manners and etiquette, when and why we stand up when someone enters the room, is womansplaying a trend? and the twelve tips to teaching children table manners, including parents such as Mrs. Trump. 

When to stand, and why

Q. I'm confused about the manners and etiquette of why people stand up or don't stand up, and when to stand and when not to stand up when someone comes into my office? In particular when a boss or older person enters my space or when a woman coworker comes in.  George, Boston


A.  What's the difference between a man and a gentleman? Not all men are gentlemen. A gentleman is accountable for his actions. If the man respects women in general, he stands when a woman enters his space and is instantaneously identified as a gentleman. The exception would be in the workplace where you might talk several times in a day -- or at home when you're hanging out relaxed and casual.

Why stand?  Out of respect -- no matter the gender -- for the person entering your office and especially if the person is a bit older. 

  • I may be older than you and I'm a woman, but when you make an appointment with me and enter my office, I'll stand to greet you with a handshake because I assume I'm going to respect you. I give you the benefit of the doubt. 
  • On the other hand, If I've just fired you for lying to me and you walk into my office, I won't stand up for you because I don't respect the way that you've behaved.

When to stand: 

In business you would stand up out of respect for your boss or a colleague, although if the person has been in and out of your office recently, you wouldn't do so.

  • You wouldn't stand for your assistant, the mail deliverer or tech person, because s/he enters your office often and is part of your working team.
  • You would stand for a client, your boss's wife or a coworker's relative, even if they stopped by to chat announced.


Socially you would stand to greet or welcome any woman or man, who appears to be eighteen or older, entering the space where you're seated. You are only given an exception if you are infirm or quite elderly.

*Don't forget to button your jacket when you stand up and then release it when you are seated again.

Then if you've both sat down to talk, you would stand up when s/he started to leave.

Clueless about beverage glasses

Q. What glasses do you use with what? There seem to be so many choices. As a soon-to-be newlywed I want to know what glasses to register for on our wedding registry?  Christina, Westwood, CA

A.  As a newlywed you're certainly not expected to have a proper glass for every kind of beverage. Jelly jars will do for most any chilled beverage!

Take into consideration the fact that the shape of the glass determines the flow of the wine when it touches the tongue's various sensitive zones of temperature, texture and taste at the same time. Unless you're a connoisseur of fine wines, the size and shape of the glass may not matter.

Here is an overly simplified guide to glassware:

  • Start off by registering for eight basic water tumblers. Versatile, because the shape of the glass can be a tall cylinder tumbler, as opposed to a bulbous shaped glass, that can be used for mineral water, ice tea, soda, gin or vodka tonics, a Dark 'N' Stormy, beer and milk.
  • Add eight all-purpose wine glasses either the traditional bulbous shape with a stem or they can be "O" shaped tumblers without a stem. 


As even red wine should be served at a cool room temperature, holding the glass by a stem keeps the wine at that temperature longer than when you warm the bowl of the stemless glass with the palm of your hand while holding it.


Better yet, ask for white wine glassware as well as for red -- eight of both.

  • What you want to keep in mind is that even though red wine glasses vary in size and can hold anywhere between 8 to 24 ounces of wine, the standard pour is only five ounces -- no matter the size of the wine glass. 
  • Although you can certainly drink white wine out of a red wine glass, there are glasses specifically shaped for different varieties of red wine. 
  • Generally, the more full bodied the red wine, the larger the glass.
  • Red wine glasses are more global in shape and are wider and taller than white wine glasses. 
  • These rounder fuller shaped red wine glasses have a narrower rim that helps to hold in the aromas longer.
  • White wines are more delicate and the white wine glass is slightly smaller and open-rimed. 


Mansplaying and womansplaying

Q. This may sound like a stupid question but how should a woman sit? I'm noticing women sitting with their knees splayed out, is that okay?  JC, Little Compton, RI


A. Mansplaying, also called lava balling, has become quite common. Sitting with his legs spread wide for maximum testicular comfort may be alright in the coziness of his home while watching a basketball game, but it is annoying on crowded subways because the man is bullying for space. Who knows what's going on when you notice mansplaying in a movie theater. 

Seeing Mr. Trump mansplaying in the oval office during a photo op is totally gross with that bright red too-long tie dangling in front of his trouser zipper.

With women wearing pants more than skirts, its only natural that there is a trend toward womansplaying. When a woman sits with her knees touching you can't see up her skirt. When she's wearing pants there is no reason to keep her knees together. 

Don't get me wrong, I'm not a big fan of either mansplaying or womansplaying, and neither should it be the stance during a job interview or in a professional meeting of any kind.

Twelve manners for children

Q.  Where do we start when teaching our young children manners, can you give us the basics, Didi?  Carolina, New York City

A.  Teach children that manners matter by having good manners yourself that you role model for them. Monkey see, monkey do. As you can see here Mrs. Trump with her elbow on the table is not a model for good table manners.


Twelve Manners Children Should Memorize

  • Don't take more than you can eat.
  • Never put your elbows on the table because you could tip over your beverage glass.
  • Keep your napkin laid out across your lap to catch food that falls, and leave it on the table when you leave your chair.
  • Don't put too much food in your mouth.
  • "Please" and "thank you" should be used all the time. 
  • Don't talk with your mouth full or the food will fall out.
  • Answer as soon as you are spoken to.
  • Teach your children to disagree respectfully.
  • Ask to be excused from the table and take your plate to the sink.
  • After opening a door, hold it open for the person behind you.
  • If you lift the toilet seat, place it back down after peeing.
  • And be sure to wash your hands.


Didi Lorillard researches manners and etiquette at NewportManners.


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