Skip to main content

Miss Manners

08/06/2013 02:25PM, Published by Ashlee Cleveland, Categories:




By Miriam Landru

 

Good manners are hard to find these days. Gone are the times when couples used to enjoy a quiet, romantic dinner and families surrounded the table while sharing stories from their work or school day – with no interruptions.

Now, we are in the digital age. Our smartphones and other technological paraphernalia have taken center stage. We are lost in a textual world. You’re probably guilty of looking at your phone while dining and not paying attention to your friends or family members. Admittedly, I am guilty as well.

I met with two women who feel they can change your dining habits from downright disgraceful into practices that Queen Elizabeth would have at her table, dining with Prince William and Duchess Kate.

Dr. Martha Gabriel (or Dr. Etiquette), an educator to gifted students at Fort Bragg, immersed herself in a weeklong intensive program at the Washington School of Protocol and Etiquette in Portsmouth, Maine nearly 10 years ago. She has been the epitome of manners in practice ever since. While attending, she learned how to properly set a lovely table (her dining room table is exquisite), give the perfect handshake and write the most gracious thank you note among other lessons. She also conducts etiquette camps when given the opportunity and in the past has taught table manners to the Cumberland County Schools Academy of Scholars. Though Dr. Gabriel views herself as possessing excellent etiquette skills, she’d never put someone else down whose dining habits were not up-to-par. “Now that’s just BAD manners!” she exclaimed.

Over at Highland Country Club, a “manner maven” is in residence. From her flaxen hair and smooth polite way of speaking, right down to her perfectly put together ensemble, Betsy Abbott may just be Emily Post reincarnated - southern style. Mrs. Abbott is the leader of the National League of Junior Cotillions - Cumberland County Chapter. Every year beginning in September she conducts a series of etiquette classes designed for 6th, 7th and 8th graders concluding in the spring with a grand formal dinner and ball. Even though the Cotillion is for children, mothers are known to put in special requests. “Can I send my husband?” is the most common order. “It never fails, someone asks every year,” Abbott joked.

Joking aside, our experts agree with my previous notion that cell phones are the biggest dining disturbance in today’s world. “The biggest violation I see is people putting their cell phone on the table. They are texting when they are supposed to be enjoying the company of others or pulling up Facebook and showing them a silly status,” said Abbott disapprovingly. Still, Dr. Gabriel understands the grey area when it comes to cell phones. Not everything is black and white. “If you are expecting an important call, have it on vibrate in your pocket or purse,” she suggested.

Most fine dining restaurants have new policies that include only using cell phones outside. Though you probably won’t see this in practice at your neighborhood fast-food joint, you just might at somewhere like Haymount’s Hilltop House. “Everything has to do with the tone of the restaurant,” noted Abbott. She added, “Obviously I can’t go to dinner and enjoy myself because I’m so busy noticing things…doing what I do I just can’t help it!”

When you’re out and about in our city’s restaurant scene and you notice diners not putting their napkin in their laps, being discourteous to servers, gabbing on their cell phones or smacking on gum- don't reprimand them. The best thing to do is to keep practicing your own good manners.  

 

 

SIDEBAR

TIPS FOR DINING SUCCESS

•   •       Always show respect to who you are with. Focus on them, not your phone.

•   •       Avoid electronics at all costs.

•   •       Remember, liquids on the right, bread on the left

•   •       Always place your napkin in your seat if you leave the table. If you're absolutely done with your meal, your napkin can then go on the table.

•   •       Always show courtesy to servers. Ask "May I?" instead of "Can I?"

•   •       Ask people to pass instead of reaching across the table. Always pass to the right.

•   •       Never, ever chew gum at the table.







manners etiquette


  • Fish Fry Fundraiser

    05/29/2017
    09:00AM — 08:00PM

    Event June 3 at 5 p.m. - 8 p.m. Join Raeford United Methodist Church for their annual Good Ne...


  • Memorial Day Tent Sale at Southern Design

    05/29/2017
    09:30AM — 05:00PM

    Come to Southern Design Furniture May 25 - May 31 and enjoy great Memorial Day sale prices on bea...


  • CSG 2017 Summer Development Camps

    05/31/2017
    09:00AM — 08:30PM

    CSG 2017 Summer Development Camps Hero Training Camp June 12 -14 9 a.m. - Noon. Must regi...


  • Memorial Day Tent Sale at Southern Design

    05/31/2017
    09:30AM — 05:00PM

    Come to Southern Design Furniture May 25 - May 31 and enjoy great Memorial Day sale prices on bea...


  • What the Truck

    05/31/2017
    11:00AM — 02:00PM

    What the Truck! kick-off is coming up! Come one, come all! We will be hosting food trucks every W...


  • The Diary of Anne Frank

    05/31/2017
    08:00PM

    The Gilbert Theater's last show of the 2016-2017 season is The Diary of Anne Frank, written by Go...


  • Yoga in the Outfield Registration Opens

    06/01/2017
    08:00AM — 09:00PM

    We are joining forces with another amazing local organization to bring you: SwampDogs, Yoga and S...


  • Fish Fry Fundraiser

    06/01/2017
    09:00AM — 08:00PM

    Event June 3 at 5 p.m. - 8 p.m. Join Raeford United Methodist Church for their annual Good Ne...


  • The Fayetteville Downtown Alliance’s Field of Honor event is a way for the community to honor and...


  • Othello

    06/01/2017
    06:45PM

    Enjoy Sweet Tea Shakespeare's (STS) presentation of Othello, by William Shakespeare. Divided by c...


  • SwampDogs Game

    06/01/2017
    07:00PM

    Morehead City Marlins at Fayetteville SwampDogs


  • Operation Ceasefire Family Movie Night

    06/02/2017
    07:30PM — 10:00PM

    Event opens to the public about an hour before dusk. Additional information may be provided as th...


  • Elvis Lives!

    06/02/2017
    08:00PM

    Travis focuses on the authenticity of Elvis Presley on stage, creating an illusion for his audien...


  • GRAND RE-OPENING

    06/03/2017
    10:00AM — 04:00PM

    Join us for our Grand Re-Opening!! Check out the new and improved facility...new floors, LED lig...


  • Public Works

    06/03/2017
    12:00PM — 04:00PM

    Come see all types of visual art for all ages. Visit the Arts Council's galleries to see the lar...


  • Soni Martin Exhibition

    06/03/2017
    01:00PM — 06:00PM

    Enjoy this exhibition of new and exciting art from artist Soni Martin, Professor of Visual Art at...


  • 15th Annual Blues-n-Brews Festival

    06/03/2017
    04:00PM — 10:00PM

    Cape Fear Regional Theatre presents the 15th Annual Blues-n-Brews Festival—a one-day event featur...


  • Fish Fry Fundraiser

    06/03/2017
    05:00PM — 08:00PM

    Join Raeford United Methodist Church for their annual Good Neighbor Festival. Order your tick...


  • SwampDogs Game

    06/03/2017
    07:00PM

    Wilmington Sharks at Fayetteville SwampDogs


  • Cape Fear Heroes vs. Savannah Steam The Cape Fear Heroes are an independent Indoor Football Te...


  • The Diary of Anne Frank

    06/03/2017
    08:00PM

    The Gilbert Theater's last show of the 2016-2017 season is The Diary of Anne Frank, written by Go...


CityView Facebook
CityView Family Facebook