Newport Manners & Etiquette: Kiss Me, Kiss Me Not
Wednesday, December 25, 2013
Taking control of the kiss
People use the holidays as an excuse for kissing everyone and anyone who'll let them. How do I fend off germy kisses without being rude? I don't want to be sick for New Years again. Andrea, Providence
At first sighting of an approaching pucker, extend your hand for a serious shake and say, "I wouldn't want you to get what I'm getting over." If that doesn't whet their whistle without damaging their spirits, fend them off further by extending both out-stretched hands and grab both shoulders to keep them from coming any closer saying, "Now, now, hold that kiss for the New Year. ~Didi
Handling elderly abuse
My aunt is 97 and strong, able and alert. She was my blood uncle's wife. She's not my blood relation, but my uncle asked me to watch over her because he had always supported her relatives. I wasn't sure what he meant at the time, but it became evident after his death. As my aunt and uncle had no children, her blood nieces and nephews take on the responsibility of helping her maintain her wish to stay in her own home. Despite the far drive and back, I try to visit every month, but I don't have any say in anything. Over the past decade things have clearly gone missing from her house. Antique lamps and tables substituted with far lesser quality items. Decorative pieces of silver, china, and art have also disappeared. Petty theft that obviously neither of us could do anything about.
Just before Christmas, as is our tradition, my Aunt and I had our own little celebration and she bemoaned the fact that her huge brand new TV had been replaced by one of far lesser quality that has very poor reception and dull color. My aunt is half blind and that huge TV was her best friend. How do I get her TV back without causing a brouhaha? The sad thing is that she doesn't understand why anyone would have taken a TV that she had just bought and leave her with a secondhand one that doesn't function. T.B., Concord, NH
Short of buying your aunt a new TV, it sounds as though you don't have any authority. However, you could offer a reward for the return of the TV. Spread the word to her nephews and nieces that you don't want to know who took their aunt's new TV, you just want it brought back or replaced before your next visit. If the TV is returned, you will leave an envelope with cash in a designated safe spot and they can claim their reward the next time they visit her. No questions asked. ~ Didi
Significant Other ring etiquette
My "significant other" and I live together but have no plans to marry. She would like a ring as a token of my commitment to her. What kind of ring would you suggest? I thought perhaps a signet ring with my family crest might be suitable. Thanks! L.C., Boston, MA
What woman wouldn't want a fine piece of jewelry?
However, signet rings are worn by the blood family member. As you say, you have no plans to marry; technically she's not a family member by blood. Why not give her a ring in her birthstone or a "forever" ring. Another thought is the Cartier "Trinity Ring" of three bands interwoven, which can be found in a range of prices depending on the metal and stones. Another Cartier classic is the "Love" ring, also three bands, but they're not interwoven. The LOVE ring band has the symbol of the O with a hyphen running through the middle. Apparently Cartier's LOVE collection is a symbol of commitment that "seals the circle of eternal love" because it is studded with their trademark screws. You also might look at antique rings or "seal rings."
My guess is that your partner is looking for a ring that has the appearance of a wedding band to wear on her left ring finger. Find out which finger she wants to wear the ring on. Traditionally, a ring on the finger next to the pinky on the left hand signifies commitment. The ring finger next to the pinky on the right hand is best for a "Cocktail ring," which can be fun and flashy and not necessarily an everyday ring. Also, look online at the popular Hermes rings/bands for women, which she can wear on either her left hand as a commitment band or on her right hand as a fashion statement.
When investing in something that your partner is going to wear every day, you want to make sure that she really likes it. Find out which finger she would wear it on and give her a couple of choices. Even if you were married, she wouldn't be wearing your family crest ring--unless you were deceased. ~Didi
Proper funeral etiquette
Would it be improper to attend the wake of old girlfriend's dad whom I have not seen in forty years? Jason, Woonsocket
Just the fact that you're asking means you kind of want to attend, but feel awkward having not seen him for so long. You would be attending his wake in support of the deceased's family and because you liked and respected him. Wakes can be a social occasion and an opportunity to catch up with old friends and acquaintances. If your gut tells you to go, then attend, because it would not be improper. ~Didi
Do you have a question for Didi? Visit her at NewportManners.com . We can withhold your name and location. Didi researches etiquette and all matters of manners for her book,"Newport Etiquette." Previous weekly GoLocalProv.com columns can be found by typing in Didi Lorillard in the above lefthand search.
6 Delicious New England Bakeries
The Daily Meal has compiled a list of America's 50 Best Bakeries; which New England hotspots made the list?
Seven Stars Bakery, Providence
Seven Stars Bakery is a staple for any Providence foodie. With breads and pastries made from scratch with local ingredients, the top-notch Seven Stars Bakery strives for quality. Can't decide what you're in the mood for? Try the lemon pound cake, olive bread filled with Kalamata and Moroccan oil cured olives, or ginger biscuit scones.
820 Hope Street, Providence
342 Broadway, Providence
Rumford Center, 20 Newman Avenue, East Providence
A & J King, Salem, MA
A & J King Artisan Bakers serves traditional, artisanal bread and pastries. Along with the bakery's regular menu selections, A & J King features rotating weekly specials like semolina apricot fennel and asiago chile. Have their tried-and-true sticky bun or the caramel bourbon pecan bread pudding for another gooey treat.
48 Central Street, Salem, MA
Mike’s Pastry, Boston, MA
For the best cannoli in Boston, it's all about Mike’s Pastry. But while you're in there make sure to check out the rest of what it has to offer; you won't regret it. From boozy rum cakes to red velvet whoopie pies to ricotta pie to lobster tail, a flaky pastry filled with either white cream or yellow custard, there’s something to suit every sweet craving. And of course, don't forget the classic Boston cream pies!
300 Hanover Street, Boston
Clear Flour Bread, Brookline, MA
Clear Flour Bread has been a Brookline fixture for more than 30 years and has the awards to show for it! Clear Flour Bread prides itself on its Italian and French pastries being made from scratch, shaped by hand, and baked in a stone hearth. The morning buns will pick you right up on those sluggish Mondays, and their croissants, cranberry currant scones, and molasses cookies are to die for.
178 Thorndike Street, Brookline, MA
Standard Baking Co., Portland, ME
The Standard Baking Company in downtown Portland has every bread you could possibly want. Rosemary focaccia, pain de mie, brioche, boules, epi bread? Check. Morning buns? Check. Croissants? Take your pick: almond, chocolate, plain, or ham and cheese? Whatever you're in the mood for, owners Allison Bray and Matt James have got you covered.
75 Commercial Street, Portland, ME
Flour Bakery + Café, Boston, MA
A trip to Flour Bakery and Café is the kind of thing that will easily make your day. Be sure to try the amazing sticky buns, the banana bread, granola bars, or brioche with raisins. And for those with a sweet tooth, check out the lemon curd cakes with raspberry preserve, Milky Way tarts, and chocolate cupcakes with Crispy Magic Frosting. Is your mouth watering yet?
12 Farnsworth Street, Boston
1595 Washington Street, Boston
190 Mass. Ave., Cambridge
131 Clarendon Street, Boston
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