Newport Manners & Etiquette: Happy Doable Prenups, How to Toast & How to Dunk + Opioid Crisis

Thursday, October 19, 2017


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Debating the importance of the wedding prenup agreement, how to toast like a Frenchman, why not to dunk like an Englishwoman and battling the opioid crisis one friend at a time were all questions to Didi Lorillard this week at NewportManners.

What to say when asked to sign a prenup

Q.  Does getting a prenup mean that my fiancée doesn't trust me? I'm not feeling the love. How do I convince her that it's not necessary? She says that her parents had a prenup and so do her married sister and brother.  The Groom, Location Withheld

A. Prenuptial agreements are not just for rock stars and CEOs and they don't have to be drawn up to kill the romance. So get those two notions out of your head. Prenups are fairly common, and as you say, they run in her family.

A prenup just happens to be a good excuse for an engaged couple to create a financial mission statement. It's not just about who gets what. Going beyond that - before the wedding - it may be your last opportunity to set priorities during the marriage. Think of a prenup as a blueprint to design your financial future with your life partner. What you need to know:

  • First off, a prenup can be difficult to enforce. Your fiancée can't just hand you a legal document and ask you to sign it, you should have your own attorney. Some states even require that you each retain your own lawyer, and pay your own legal fees. So find out if that is the case in your state.
  • If you don't want to set up an overweight or cheating clause where your spouse pays a fee for getting fat or cheating, then don't.
  • On the other hand, one of the easiest ways of getting out of a prenup is being able to claim that you did not have time to consult with your own attorney.


What's included in a prenup?

  • Basically, a prenup specifies who gets what in the event of a breakup - and that would include any pets.
  • It helps you hash out the details of a financial plan to ensure that you're both on the same page walking down the aisle. For instance, how to divide up the living expenses. Or if you're taking turns working to support one another through school.
  • Some prenups have little hammers for weight gain or infidelity.


*One thing you can't specify in a prenup is child custody, because it won't hold up in court.

After deciding to have a prenup, many couples will agree - as a sign of good will - to tear it up after a certain amount of time has lapsed. Perhaps, that's what you need to say. 

Battling the opioid crisis one good friend at a time

Q.What to say when your good friend nearly overdosed on opioids? After a ski accident three years ago, from which his back hasn't been without pain since, he became addicted to painkillers. He is a coworker and we find ourselves covering for him most days, in one way or another. GL, Boston, MA

A. It isn't just about what you say to the person, because most addicts have convinced themselves that "once a junkie, always a junkie." They'll tell you themselves exactly what recovering alcoholics say, "One is too many, and a thousand aren't enough." Remember, nobody wants their life to be controlled by an addiction. Too easily, taking two pain killers every six hours progresses to taking three every four hours. But what you can do is to help your friend visualize the larger picture by stating pertinent facts: 

  • We are facing a national opioid problem of epidemic proportion with over 64,000 overdoses last year - up over 25% from 2015.


GL, be his buddy and talk to him with virtual reality:

  • What he should know is that a recent study found that almost twelve percent of patients who took opioids for chronic pain became addicted, so he should look at other methods of dealing with his chronic pain to find out how to safely handle continual physical suffering. 
  • He needs to follow a plan and think about safety first and detoxification, then abstinence.
  • His focus should be on his cognitive process and questioning his "thinking errors," because opioid addiction is a known cause of brain disease.
  • He needs to look into alternatives - perhaps after a psychological intervention - such as biofeedback, stress management, yoga, and relaxation training.


Keep on bringing up the subject of his figuring out how to get well. Don't give up. Talk to him and don't let him blow you off when you ask him how he's doing. Remind him that he's not alone. Everyone has something that they are dealing with which they have to figure out how to handle.

Here's a link to an excellent Washington Post article on the opioid crisis. 

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What to say about dunking

Q. Do you dunk or drown? Is dunking an etiquette faux pas?  Meredith, Cincinnati, OH

A.  To dunk or not to dunk? A sweet debate. Put simply, dunking is a messy game. Kids drowning graham crackers in their milk is one thing, in an grownup setting it's messy business. Recently a poll of 600 adults, discovered that 52% thought it was bad manners. You better watch out if you're ever thinking about dunking a biscuit in an English tea room, because you could well be asked to leave. You may even see a sign such as this:  The un-savoury habit of dunking biscuits is strictly prohibited and will result in you being asked to leave the tea rooms.

Feasibly such an offense as dunking would insult any hostess anywhere. When you're a guest it is quite simply not considerate. Who wants to fish out the dregs at the bottom of your cup after you've gone home. Let's face it, you can't not make a mess dunking. If you must dunk, be sure that what you're dunking is sturdy enough to save itself from drowning.


What to say about toasting

Q.  After toasting the host at a party the other night, I was mortified when the person next to me reprimanded me for the way I tinkled glasses with her. She said the real way to clink after a toast was to make eye contact. She went on to say, "The French become suspicious of you if you don't made eye contact while toasting." Never before had I even considered that making eye contact clinking flutes was a prerequisite to toasting. Is it?  Ava, Dover, Delaware


A.  From now on make eye contact with anyone you are clinking glasses with and add a smile. Although, be careful. 

  • In some cultures making eye contact is considered impolite. 
  • Even in the USA, you'll find that certain people avoid eye contact - period. Especially Native American and Native Alaskan cultures. 
  • Also, many Asian do not adhere to the practice of going eye ball to eye ball. 
  • In cultures where eye contact is made only among their peers, eye contact could be considered rude or arrogant coming from someone from another cultural level. 
  • In much of America intense continuous eye contact - unless it is during an intimate romantic moment - can be interpreted as odd or even hostile.


Didi Lorillard researches manners and etiquette at NewportManners for her forthcoming book.


Related Slideshow: 25 Things You Must do This Fall in New England - 2017

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Pumpkin Picking at Jaswell's Farm

Smithfield, RI

The fall season is all about pumpkins. Pumpkin beer, pumpkin pie and most of all pumpkin picking.

Pumpkin picking is a timeless event for families, especially those with young kids who will love to just run around and grab whichever pumpkin looks good to them.

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Walk/Jog/Hike Through the Bird Sanctuary

Worcester, MA 

There are some great walking and hiking paths behind the Audubon Society on Massasoit Road in Worcester to visit this fall.

Want to be at peace and escape the city without really leaving the city? Take a brisk walk through the Bird Sanctuary. If you don't feel better by the time you leave there...then turn around and go back in.

The bird sanctuary is located on 414 Massasoit Road in Worcester

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Attend the Vermont International Film Festival 

Burlington, Vermont

The 2017 Vermont International Film Festival takes place from October 20 to October 29. 

The festival will feature more than 70 films from all over the world as well as panels and discussions. 

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Fall Exhibits at the Boston Children's Museum 

Boston, MA 

The Boston Children's Museum has two special exhibits to celebrate the fall season. 

The first is a dinosaur exhibit titled "Explor-a-saurus," and there is also a "Bubbles" exhibit and a "construction zone."

The museum is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on a daily basis. 

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Leaf Peeping in The Berkshires

Berkshires, MA

Arguably the coolest thing about the fall season is the changing of the leaves. You will want to go up to the Berkshires and stroll through a park or just down a street and take note of all the colors, it's a must do fall activity.

How many colors can you see?

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Attend the Freeport Fall Festival 

Freeport, Maine

The festival will feature more than 130 artists showing off their work ranging from photography oil, watercolor, mixed media and much more.

The festival runs from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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Enjoy a Glass of Wine at Newport Vineyards

Newport, RI 

Hello grape season! 

It may be getting colder, but for wine lovers, this is the best time of year because it's grape season.

There are many great Vineyards around New England but Newport Vineyards is among the best. 

Enjoy the wine.

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Coppal House Farm

Lee, NH

Not one, not two, but three corn mazes all in one spot. 

The famous triple maze at Coppal House Farm in New Hampshire is fun for all ages!

Be sure to check out the brand new Racoon corn maze as well.

Built in the mid-1700s, Coppal Farm has horse-drawn carriage rides, pumpkin picking, and tons of other activities on its 78-acre farm.

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Drink a Glass or Two or Three of Apple Cider

Across New England

Nothing says fall like drinking nice warm glass of apple cider, or maybe multiple warm glasses of apple cider.

Head over to your local market and buy some, or maybe you know how to make your own or have your own recipe. Either way, drinking apple cider is something to look forward too.

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Last Golf Rounds of the Year at Harbor Lights 

Warwick, RI 

While it may not be summer anymore and you may need an extra shirt or light jacket, there is still time to get some end of season swings in at your local golf course.

The fall season presents some of the best golfing weather that we have all year in New England.

Hit them straight.

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Take a Trip up Mount Mansfield 

Stowe, Vermont

Visit Vermont and take a gondola up Mount Mansfield. Once you get to the top, look back at the spectacular view. There are not to many views like it. 

For travelers, be sure to bring a jacket.

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Coastal Wine Trail 

Across Southern New England

The Coastal Wine Trail is a nonprofit group of 14 wineries that are spread throughout Southeastern New England. 

Vineyards on the trail include Preston Ridge Vineyard in Preston Connecticut, Travessia Winery in New Bedford, Massachusetts, Westport Rivers Vineyard & Winery in Westport, Massachusetts and Coastal Vineyards in South Dartmouth, Massachusetts. 

The heart of the trail is less than three hours from New York City and 90 minutes from Bosto

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Visit the Factory of Terror  

Worcester, MA

Check out five attractions at the super spooky Factory of Terror! Clown College, Zella's Hideaway, Zombie Alley, 3D Nightmare and the 13th Haunt all in one place.

This indoor haunted house offers a frightening and spooky experience with realistic, detailed rooms featuring cutting edge special effects and horror creatures at every turn!

Enter at your own risk!

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Last Chance for Al Fresco Dining at Boat House Restaurant 

Tiverton, RI

The views of Mount Hope Bay are unparalleled. Enjoy some wine with a snack or three while watching the sunset. The chef is known for a well-balanced menu of seasonal treats that uses locally sourced seafood in creative ways.

Celebrate the fall season and eat outdoors one last time. 

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Drink a Fall Beer Before They Go Away 

Across New England

The fall selection of beers is unmatched. 

Whether it's Octoberfest from Sam Adams or a pumpkin pie beer from Newport Storm, it's time to get out to your local bar or store and pick up some of the great fall beers on tap or in stock.

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Learning at Plimoth Plantation

Plymouth, MA

The fall season is Plimoth Plantation's busiest time of year and it is a great time to bring the family.

Visit the Wampanoag Homesite, the 17th-Century English Village, Nye Barn, Craft Center, Plimoth Bread Company, Mayflower II, and the Plimoth Grist Mill!

A great way to learn and have fun at the same time.

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Visit the Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular at Roger Williams Park Zoo

Providence, RI 

The Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular is a one of a kind fall event taking place at Roger Williams Park Zoo and runs from October 5 - November 5, 2016 and tickets are only sold online.

This annual event, created by artists and craftsmen of Passion for Pumpkins, and features 5,000 illuminated jack-o-lanterns, with over 125 of them artistically carved and displayed in scenes to play out the annual theme.

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Last Chance for Outdoor Dining at Caffe Expresso Trattoria 

Worcester, MA

Caffe Espresso Trattoria has been open for more than 20 years as a family owned and operated restaurant. Trattoria offfers authentic Italian home cooking.

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International Oktoberfest at Bold Point Park 

East Providence, RI 

International Oktoberfest will take place over Columbus Day weekend at Bold Point Park. 

The festival will include seasonal beer, German cuisine, and live music. 

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Ride or Run the East Bay Bike Path 

Barrington, RI 

Put on a comfy sweater and take a fall run or bike ride down this 14.5 mile long path that stretches from India Point Park in Providence to Independence Park in Bristol.

The path connects many towns while providing waterside views nearly the entire way.

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Attend King Richard's Faire 

Carver, Massachusetts

Dive into history at King Richard's Faire, New England's oldest and largest Renaissance Festival and most beloved annual fall event. Dress up, play games and learn alot at a faire that is a great fall event for the entire family.

The faire ends on October 22. 

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Take a Fall Trip to Block Island

Block Island, RI

As the fall season rolls on, trips to Block Island are winding down.

But at the moment, there is still great weather ahead and great opportunities to get on the ferry and head over to Block Island for the day, or maybe even multiple days.

A fall trip to Block Island is something ou must do this fall.

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Westerly Fall Restaurant Week

Westerly, RI 

Restaurants will offer a three course price fixed meal at $15 for lunch and $25 for dinner. 

Participating restaurants include Venice Restaurant and Lounge, Pleasant View Inn, Amigos and more. 

Restaurant week runs from October 22 to october 29. 

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Book a Weekend Getaway to Twin Farms

Bernard, Vermont 

Take a break, getaway from the daily grind of life and go on a weekend getaway to Twin Farms in Vermont. 

While you are there, there are great opportunities for hiking, biking and just relaxing. 

You will not regret this trip. 

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Visit Connecticut's Glass House 

New Canaan, CT 

Construction began on the Glass House in 1949 by architect Philip Johnson and is now a National Trust Historic Site. 

The house is on 49 acres of land which holds 13 other structures and features a collection of 20th century painting and sculpture. 

The foliage surrounding the house makes the fall season a great time to go visit. 


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