Yalanda Rene Jacques
Being a Polished Beauty not only means having your wardrobe on point, but also your table manners and everyday etiquette. We espouse to be more polished in everyday life, which brings many things... whether better relationships with people, opportunities, jobs, or life travels, etc. Having good manners is not about being stuck up, but exemplifying good manners which gives you class in general. It's about making people feel comfortable around you and being a decent human being in the process. It's a selfless act that breeds kindness and generosity in you and others. So let's jump right in as I'd like to debunk some stereotypical thoughts reference etiquette, but most importantly table manners.
1) RUDE CORRECTING BEHAVIOR: Exemplifying good table manners does not give you the right to correct others in a humiliating and degrading way in public. In today's society, no one cares if someone picks up the wrong fork at your dinner party, so remember your own character and how you handle situations reflects back on you also. Instead of verbally correcting the person and pointing out their simple mistake in front of everyone, you could in turn keep your mouth shut. I had the pleasure of meeting the incomparable Joan Rivers many years ago, and as I followed her TV show she one day recounted the story of being at a dinner party where a guest picked up a specific food with their fingers instead of using a fork. Instead of making the guest feel uncomfortable the host picked up the same food with their fingers as well in an effort to make the guest feel more comfortable. Now that's a class act!!
2) FINGER FOODS: This is a big one as I've seen people doing the most ridiculous things over the years in an attempt to appear "proper". Certain foods are considered finger foods and that's because they are culturally eaten that way. In the U.S., BBQ ribs, fried chicken, tea sandwiches, and hamburgers are eaten with your fingers, but if you go to some European countries you may see people using knife & fork to eat a hamburger, and that's okay.... blend in. When in Rome, do as the Romans do. But here it is absolutely proper table manners to use your fingers, and actually in some places like my home state of Texas you might be ridiculed a bit if you dare to take out a knife & fork to eat BBQ ribs. Like really!!
3) ELBOWS ON THE TABLE: There is a time when YOU CAN have your elbows on the table, but that is only for example when you first arrive and are just having drinks & conversation before your food arrives. However, as soon as bread, appetizers or any other food comes, please REMOVE your elbows from the table and proceed to enjoy your dining. This is probably one of the biggest misconceptions, but the late Leticia Baldridge, who was a Former White House Social Secretary and wrote countless books on etiquette, dispels this. To improvise having your elbows on the table, it is acceptable however in most situations to gently rest your wrists on table. For different countries, always research beforehand.
4) CUTTING BREAD: Typically people use a knife to cut bread, but this is usually because you're not sure if someone has washed their hands, but some breads, like french baguettes, or foccacia are traditionally to be broken with your hands. But... if you've just washed your hands, go for it and correct anyone who tries to stop you. Lol! Just kidding! (Use your knife for cutting softer breads like biscuits, banana breads, or sweet pastries.)
5) WHAT TO DO WITH YOUR NAPKIN?: If excusing yourself to go to the ladies, or men's bathroom in the middle of dining, never lay your napkin on the table next to your plate. Your napkin should be left in your chair til you return, as no one needs to see your food or lipstick stained napkin. But, when the meal is over and everyone is exiting the restaurant, this is the time to place your napkin on the table next to your plate. However be mindful not to put on top of the soiled dish. If it's a cloth material napkin it will be laundered and used again for other guests, so if you place on top of the remnants of your meal it soaks up the oils & other sauces. Remember, it's about being considerate of others.
BONUS ETIQUETTE TIP: GOOD ETIQUETTE DOES NOT EQUAL BEING A PUSHOVER: Being soft is a false stereotype of people who practice etiquette and good manners. If you've ever met someone with really good manners, chances are they are most likely very disciplined and assertive. Does Bri, from "Desperate Housewives" ring a bell. Lol! House clean, manners intact, and impeccably dressed, but she will get you straight in a second if you try to come in her house with muddy shoes, or act rude with her. So yes, having good manners and etiquette does not mean you allow people to walk all over you. It does not mean you are a soft pushover... in fact you have standards and stand for something, unlike some people who swing whichever way the wind blows. Just remember, manners first.
Written by: Yalanda Rene Jacques Image Expert, Producer, Author, Actress CEO, Polished Beauties
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