Newport Manners + Etiquette: Marijuana Manners
Wednesday, February 27, 2013
Does Green Always Mean Go
At an Oscar party hosted by a friend of a coworker I was confronted with an etiquette dilemma. When the Oscars were over, half the guests had gone home and the other half were hanging out in the living room when one of the party-goers pulled out a joint to share with us stragglers. I don't drink, but I have always enjoyed a good weed buzz from time to time, in the right situation. Without telling you what I did, was this the right situation? L.S.
Unlike most of the readers I receive questions from, I don't know where you're from, which ironically, happens to play a bit of a role in the answer. However, regardless of where you live, your dilemma is one that is becoming increasingly relevant to readers across the country. Whether you live in a state where marijuana has been legalized, laws have been softened, or neither, the poignant part of the answer to this question is universal.
Something that I always tell my family is that the person who holds the highest standard of etiquette is the one for whom making people feel comfortable is always top of mind. So without skirting the question, you can answer it better than I can because you had a read of the company in the living room. Whether or not this was the right situation to participate is contingent on who made up those stragglers. Whether you know everyone at the party or no one but the host, it is always paramount to get a good read of who is in the room, what role they play in your life, and what role they play in one another's lives. If you are able to do this, you are much more likely to find yourself in the right situation. ~Didi
Tipping An Inattentive Restaurant Server
Often times when I go out to dinner the food is good, the server is very nice and polite, but regardless of how busy the restaurant is I don't get particularly good service. Realizing that servers' page wage is mostly made up of tips, how much should you tip a perfectly nice yet un-attentive server? Lizzie, West Hartford, CT
When everything is near perfect, tip 20% of the bill before the tax is added. When everything is good but the service, tip between 15 and 20%. When the service is just awful, tip 15%, but never less than 12%. Approximate, move the decimal point to the left one place for ten percent. So if the experience was very good, for a fifty dollar meal with drinks you would tip ten dollars. ~Didi
Mixing Business With Pleasure
My wife is employed full-time, but also freelances. I have a relatively new boss (about 8 months) who is now also the owner of the company I have been working at for the past 8 years. He was looking for assistance, for the business, with the specific thing my wife freelances in (and which she is quite good at). I suggested she might be able to assist and she provided her resume and samples of her work. He was duly impressed and indicated he wanted to engage her services. We had both indicated up front that the major challenge would be the need for her to work on this outside of normal business hours. She suggested an initial meeting after work (when I could pick up our kids), or on a weekend afternoon, to get the ball rolling; then the follow-up could be done via phone and email. So far, so good... But then he suggested they meet over margaritas for the initial meeting.
I feel this is unprofessional and it bothers me. I want to suggest to him that they meet at a nearby Starbucks instead. He is married and has kids, and I believe his request is innocent (though it still really bothers me). My wife and I have been in counseling for the past couple of years (trust issues from a previous incident), and this is really hitting a hot button for me. If I can be diplomatic (and I believe I can), is it wrong for me to request to my boss that he move the meeting to Starbucks or some other non-alcoholic, public venue? This feels like a no-win situation, and I know this is probably going to bother me either way. But by confronting this in a diplomatic manner I feel like I at least have an opportunity to hold on to my dignity, and I do not feel this is an inappropriate boundary to set. Or, I suppose it could all just blow up in my face. Help! K.L., Providence
Just say that your wife wants to meet at a coffee shop because she doesn't drink. It could be that she doesn't mix business with pleasure, but it would be best not to use the word 'pleasure.' Leave it at that. Even if you've given him the impression that she doesn't drink, that's O.K., because it wouldn't be considered an out-and-out lie. You're merely protecting your wife from an unwanted advance by not giving him the chance to mix business with pleasure. My question to you is this. Why are you setting this up and not letting your wife manage her freelance job? ~Didi
Wedding Invitation When Mother Kept Her Maiden Name
I kept my name when my husband and I got married over 30 years ago. I use a first initial (i.e. B. Anne Smith). My husband and I are hosting our daughter's wedding. Should I just go ahead and use Mr. and Mrs. John Jay Brown on the invitation? I would prefer not to since I don't use Mrs. Brown to identify myself, even socially. What is the appropriate wording on the invitation if I use my own name? Ms. Barbara Anne Smith and Mr. John Jay Brown, etc., or can I use B. Anne Smith? Either way, do we spell out our daughter's last name i.e. Mary Anne Brown? Thank you for any and all advice. B.A.S, Fitchburg, MA
You're not going to like what I'm about to tell you. The exact same thing happened to me. As a writer, I kept my married name. However, when it came to my daughter's marriage I too struggled with the decision as to what name to use. When ordering the invitations with my daughter at Tiffany & Company, we listed her parents as Mr. and Mrs. Robert William Cowley. It just seemed tidier, less confusing and more about her. After all, everyone receiving the invitation would be the wedding couples' friends and family.
Go with the style of the wedding and be consistent throughout. If it is an informal wedding that doesn't include, say, a reply card and a seated dinner with place cards, then use the informal names but drop the 'Ms.' and 'Mr.' because it sounds as though you are divorced when you use the prefixes 'Ms.' and 'Mr.' Whereas if you use Barbara Anne Smith and John Jay Brown, you sound more like a longtime couple.
What I want you to remember is that this wedding is all about the bride and groom. If they will be using Mr. and Mrs. Christopher Adams Wilson, then that is the style you want to adhere to throughout the wedding. Therefore, you would be Mr. and Mrs. John Jay Brown. Now, on the program card for the ceremony, where the bride's mother is listed, you can use Barbara Anne Smith or B. Anne Smith; and in the newspaper announcement as well.
In other words, the invitation should focus on not who you are but rather who the bride is and whom she is marrying. You are obviously secure enough in your own right to be flexible enough to use whichever name fits the formality of the wedding.
Lastly, you don't use the daughter's last name when you use either of these examples, because everyone assumes she is the daughter of you both:
Mr. and Mrs. John Jay Brown
request the honor of your presence
at the marriage of their daughter
Mr. Christopher Adams Wilson
(date, time, place, dress code, etc.)
Or less formally:
Barbara Anne Smith and John Jay Brown
request the pleasure of your company
at the marriage of their daughter
Christopher Adams Wilson
(date, time, place, dress code, etc.)
As you can see in neither of the above examples would you use a last name for the bride. Otherwise, it is all about level of formality. ~Didi
We like hearing from you at NewportManners.com and if we use your question, we're happy to post it anonymously. Your important questions help other readers make better choices. Didi researches contemporary etiquette and all matters of manners. Or you can ask them on Didi Lorillard's Facebook page or Twitter. Earlier GoLocalProv columns are listed below or can be accessed by a search.
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