Put an end to the etiquette argument

Since Adam and Eve first realized they should slap on a fig leaf if they wanted to appear in children’s picture books, humanity has realized the importance of proper manners.

I feel strongly about all things etiquette, which is why I have written the following advice Q&A — a feat never attempted before by a columnist at my skill level.

Q: Should letter writers call you Mr. Manners or Ed Etiquette or what?
- Larry Letterwriter

A: Dear Larry: The works of Emily Post tell us that the proper way to begin a letter to a newspaper columnist include, “Your Excellency,” “You sexy thing” and “You may have already won $10 million!”

Q: We have new friends we like and we want to let them know we really appreciate their friendship. If I invite them over, how do I make them feel privileged to be there?
- Chipper & Perky Smith

A: Dear Chipper and Perky: As you have new friends, I consider the question outside my expertise. I therefore asked a guy on the sidewalk, who said, “Verbal re-enforcement is key.” Constantly telling your guests, “You’re privileged to be here, you know,” in a forceful tone will make a lasting impression.

Q: Where should I put the spoon after dessert? If it’s served on a plate with a low rim, do I leave it inside the plate or on the side?
- Cornelius Hiram Flowerbottom III, Esq.

A: Dear Mr. Flowerbottom III, Esq.: I have an excellent suggestion of where you should stick your spoon. Judging from your question, however, I have reason to believe you followed that advice many years ago.

Q: I’m dating one of those ultra-cooks who demands you cut cabbage at the proper angle, constantly serves the internal organs of some creature or other and cuts radish rosettes with a speed and efficiency that makes you wonder how she obtained said internal organs. Recently, we’ve been arguing because she thinks I’m a slob and I think she’s right but don’t care. She’s been getting picky about things like the proper utensil (I think she made up the “salad spoon”). Anyway, things aren’t going well and I still haven’t made any headway with her younger sister, so what do I do to clear things up?
- Between a rock and a hot plate

A: Dear Between: The important thing to remember here is that the steak knife — placed just to the right of the napkin — is the sharpest knife. Do what you will.

Q: What’s the proper way to say goodbye to people you’ve strung along under the pretense of giving advice when you were really only filling space in a newspaper column for money?

A: So long, suckers.

Follow John Mazerolle on Twitter



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