Tuesday, December 3, 2013

In-Flight Etiquette and New Manners for Travel

New Rules Using the "Travelers Nine Commandments"

It was a timeless guide to not offending your neighbors

Wells Fargo Stage Coach

While leafing through a book on the history of California, I came across an unusual but practical list distributed by Wells-Fargo.  The list is the "Stage Coach Riders' Nine Commandments."

It's outdated, yet in its basic spirit, it is timeless.  Even though buffalo robes (provided for comfort during cold weather) are no longer in style, good manners always are.

The list aimed to make everyone comfortable on, what I'm sure must have been, a very uncomfortable journey to California.  The aforementioned buffalo robes were apparently one of the few comforts provided. According to Commandment No.4, "Hogging robes will not be tolerated and the offender will be made to ride with the driver."

Imagine the faces of today's airline pilots if they were forced to share the cockpit with a passenger caught hogging all the overhead bin space. No, I don't think that rule has transcended time gracefully.

Though buffalo robes are no longer in style, good manners always are.
But how about Commandment No.5? "Don't snore loudly (this is something actually controllable?) while sleeping, or use your fellow passenger's shoulder for a pillow.  He or she may not understand and friction may result."

That shoulder sleeping part I really like, and I believe that every passenger boarding a plane should get something in print on how to behave graciously in-flight.  Buses and trains should pass something out in print to passengers, too.

Of course today you probably will get into some sort of grey area if you use the word "Commandments," when distributing anything. Even while trying to promote goodwill and comfort for all.  Religious, and non-religious groups alike, might feel slighted by the religious overtones of the Biblical "Commandments," so one would have to be careful as to what they were titled.

"Suggestions" is too tame a word.  "Requests" and "Recommendations" both sound too weak. "Directions" and "Instructions" are usually the two words that signal passengers to stop listening, because they think they're going to learn about oxygen masks and seat-flotation devices, for possibly the umpteenth time.

How about "Rules?" It's short, gets right to the point and gives a sense of structure to the matter at hand.  I like it.
Yes... How about "Rules?"

Now, if the travel industry was to come up with "Rules", what else might they be able to borrow from the "Stage Coach Riders' Nine Commandments?"  Well, Commandment No.6 should be scratched from the running: "Firearms may be kept on your person for use in emergencies do not fire them for pleasure  or shoot at wild animals, as the sound riles the horses."

How about No.9? "Gents guilty of unchivalrous behavior toward lady passengers, will be put off the stage.  It's a long walk back.  A word to the wise is sufficient."  Substitute "anyone" for "gents," and "any" for "lady," and this rule would work!  Substituting the word "drop" for "walk" would add that fear-inducing element, ensuring compliance.

Commandment No.2 is out for the airline industry: "Chewing tobacco is permitted, but spit with the wind, not against it."

"Commandment No. 8 might make a nice addition to the list: "Forbidden topics of discussion are stagecoach robberies and Indian uprisings."  Replace those with the topics of "plane crashes" and "plane hijackings" and you've got a real winner!

Be neighborly and share it if you have it.
Commandment No.1 could make the new list of rules - Twice! : "Abstinence from liquor is requested.  If you must drink, share your bottle; otherwise you will appear to be selfish and unneighborly." 


"Abstinence from speaking on your cell phone is requested.  If you must speak, share your conversation with no one else nearby, by speaking as quietly as possible; otherwise you will appear to be selfish and unneighborly."  And that's what manners are truly all about... being neighborly.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Youth Etiquette Seminars and Lunches for December

Join us for an Etiquette Seminar and Lunch 
For ages 6 to 16!
Register for the Saturday Lunch or Sunday Lunch before December 12th
 Email rsvpinstitute@gmail.com for a registration form or call 
The RSVP Institute of Etiquette: 909 923-5650 or 800 891-RSVP
       The youth luncheon seminars will be held at the Graber Olive House 
The Graber Olive House is located at: 
315 E. Fourth Street, Ontario 91764  Phone 909-983-1761  


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Eva Bella's Etiquette for Eating Middle Eastern Fatayer

Meet Eva Bella...  

Eva with me in 2011
Eva hails from Syria and has lived in Southern California for 16 years nowI met and trained Eva as an etiquette instructor back in the fall of 2010.  Always gracious, Eva first brought me the middle eastern pastry, cheese fatayer, a few weeks after she started her training. It was delicious!  I knew her students would enjoy eating it too, so I suggested she create a lesson plan for her students on how to eat fatayer properly, and on middle eastern dining manners in general.  Below are the instructions for her youth etiquette classes on the days she serves fatayer.

Eva Bella's Etiquette for Eating Middle Eastern Fatayer 

It is always a treat when Eva brings cheese fatayer to my home...  Yum!
Fatayer can be a pie, or pastry.  It may be stuffed with spinach or cheese and
even meat. It is a “finger food”.  It is part of Middle Eastern cuisine and is eaten in
Syria, and other countries of the region like Palestine, Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan  & Iraq.  It is usually eaten at breakfast time, but is delicious enough to eat as a snack anytime!
Dining etiquette in the Middle East, is as important as American dining manners.  You do not want to insult your host, hostess or others you are dining with.  Here are the rules for eating fatayer and making a good impression when eating Middle Eastern foods:

1. Make sure your hands are clean before eating finger foods. Always place a napkin in your lap, especially when eating finger foods.
2. Watch your host and hostess for “cues” and “clues” of how you should act at the table.  Make sure your elbows are off of the table. In the Middle East, it is rude to have your left hand on the table.  Eat with your right hand, and keep your left hand in your lap.  You can use it to hold your napkin when eating finger foods.  That way it will not wind up on the table by mistake.
3. If the fatayer is served with paper napkins, use a napkin to pick up a piece. Have a small bite (corner bite) not a smiley big bite, set it down on the plate.  Chew with your mouth closed and try to avoid talking with others, you don't want people to see what you are chewing inside your mouth, and lose their appetites. Remember... Wipe your mouth if you need to between bites.
4. Normally fatayer is served with tomato, cucumber and olives, so you can have a bite of fatayer and a piece of vegetables or olives too.
5. Never make bad comments at the table, or in a restaurant, if you did not like something served to you for the first time.  It is very poor manners.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

New Etiquette Classes at the Graber Olive House in Ontario

The RSVP Institute of Etiquette’s new coed courses at the historic Graber Olive House in Ontario are scheduled for your choice of days, beginning Saturday August 10th and Sunday August 11th

      Our students have fun and learn to make smart choices by playing team games...

The courses focus on:
• Key Skills~ Basic Manners, incl. Introductions and Responses
• Dining Skills ~ Table Manners (with foods to practice dining skills) 
• Manners for Home or Abroad~ Cultural Diversity, Respect for Others 
• Deflecting Peer Pressure~ Manners at School, the Mall, Movie Theatre, etc... 
• Social Media Manners~ Online, Twitter, Cell Manners, Text Manners, YouTube, etc...
• Personal Development~ Eye contact, Great Posture, Grooming and Much More!

Students learn to use utensils properly

   Each course is three, 2-hour classes;

Youth classes ages 5 & up are 12:30 to 2:30

Teen classes are from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m.

    The $70.00 fee covers all classes, foods & handouts
Questions? Email mannersclass@gmail.com
            Ask about our family discount!
Teens vie for gift cards in a class game
Payment and completed forms are due by Friday August 9th
Call RSVP at: 909 923-5650      

Outside 909 Area Code: 800-891-RSVP  

The Graber Olive House is located at: 315 E. Fourth Street,  Ontario 91764   Phone  909-983-1761     

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Etiquette and Behaviour Tips for Canadians

I had to shave this down a bit to fit my computer screen, but the whole post is so worthwhile, I have attained permission and re-posted it in its entirety, at the bottom of the post.

 I hope to be back to full energy soon, and will be writing about hospital etiquette, along with a brief explanation for my long absence.  In the meantime, please enjoy these nuggets of etiquette and behaviour advice from Canada...

I love that the Calgary Transit has issued a 10 point etiquette guide!
And that two cities cities are waging an "eat more meat" - "eat less meat" battle!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Politely Laughing Out Loud Around the World

This is a guest blogger from "Etiquipedia" here, as your Etiquette Sleuth, Maura Graber, is still recovering from a recent and surprising brief stay at her local hospital.  She has been somewhat active on Twitter, and hopes to be blogging and starting etiquette classes back up by the end of the month.

Cheezburger Network's Ben Huh says, "'LOL' is a part of everyday life. It's a polite way of acknowledging someone."

They say that laughter is the best medicine... Do you know how to text, or tweet, "LOL" around the world?  Below you will find a few ways in which LOL is written in other countries and languages.

     Believe it or not, LOL is now considered a word, according to the Oxford English Dictionary's principal editor for new words. Cheezburger Network's Ben Huh says, "'LOL' is a part of everyday life. It's a polite way of acknowledging someone."

"MDR" is the French language version, from "mort de rire". Roughly translated "dying of laughter."

And "חחח/ההה" is the Hebrew LOL language version. "ח" is pronounced 'kh' & "ה" is pronounced 'h'. Putting them together makes "khakhakha."

555 is the Thai language variation of LOL. "5" in Thai is pronounced "ha", so three of them are "hahaha."

"ASG" is the Swedish language's LOL. It is an abbreviation of the term Asgarv, meaning "intense laughter."

"MKM" is the Afghan language's LOL. An abbreviation of the Dari phrase "ma khanda mikonom", which means "I am laughing."

Friday, March 15, 2013

New Youth and Teen Etiquette Classes at the Historic Graber Olive House in So. California

Learning Best Techniques for Eating Spaghetti

The RSVP Institute of Etiquette offers coed youth courses, on Sundays, at the Historic Graber Olive House in Ontario.  Please call about available class times and prices.

Instructional Handouts Given Out at Each Class Session
Challenging, Tasty Foods Served Each Week
 Course fees include all foods  and all of instructional handouts.

       Questions? Email mannersclass@gmail.com

       Call RSVP at: 909 923-5650 

Outside 909 Area Code: 800-891-RSVP

Using a Knife and Fork Properly
Mastering the Use of a Fork
Even Cheeseburgers Challenge Knives and Forks

How Are You With Corn on the Cob?

Classes Focus on Key Skills;  
Introductions and Proper Responses
• Dining Skills and Table Manners
• Manners for Home or Abroad

Cultural Diversity and Respect for Others 

• Deflecting Peer Pressure, Tech Etiquette
Writing Proper Notes of “Thanks"   
• Developing Good Eye Contact, Great Posture    

Grooming Habits for the Polite Person
• Internet Manners, Cell Phone Manners and Text  Manners
•Advanced Manners and Dining Techniques

All the vital tools that will open doors, build friendships and assist with smooth sailing through life's social pitfalls!

The Historic Graber Olive House is located at: 315 E. Fourth Street, Ontario 91764     

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

The Abuses of Proper Etiquette in TV and Films

"It's 'Your Majesty' the first time.  After that, it's 'ma'am', as in 'ham'. Not 'ma'am', as in 'palm'."  Helena Bonham Carter, as quoted in "The King's Speech"

Guest Blogger Corey Peterson of New Zealand returns with this post on etiquette in period films and television;

When watching a film or television show, I have developed a habit of picking out all the faults and inaccuracies played out on screen. One of the most annoying for me, normally regarding Queen Victoria, is when they do not follow the "it's ‘ma’am as in ham, not ma’am as in palm’" rule or they address her as ma’am as soon as they meet.  The Queen would be, and should be, addressed as ‘Your Majesty’ when first addressing her, and from then on it is either Madame or ma’am, which either fits best at the time.
1975's "Edward the Eleventh" was renamed "Edward the King"
She is addressed as ‘Her Majesty, the Queen’ in communications via the post and then any subsequent references should be ‘The Queen’.  I have recently been watching the 1975 hit show, 'Edward the Seventh,' and the poor use of the rule,"ma’am as in ham, not ma’am as in palm" annoys me.  I often comment on how poorly they address Her Majesty as well as the abuses of simple etiquette rules and guidelines, such as posture and the incorrect usage of flatware.

Dame Judi Dench as "Mrs. Brown"
Another film that I found aggravatingly annoying was the dinner scene on "Mrs. Brown" starring Dame Judi Dench as Queen Victoria.  When the young Prince of Wales tapped his mother’s fine crystal with the back of his knife to draw attention to himself.  This in itself was vulgar but the manner of his conversation was even more so.  It is to me, a letdown when I am watching a period drama or film and the actors have not studied or listened to the etiquette rules and guidelines set at the time.
 Ladies of Cranford
But not all shows have neglected etiquette. One of my favourite and most loved period pieces is "Cranford."  The show is based on the works of Mrs. Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell’s most loved novellas, namely "Cranford", "My Lady Ludlow" and "Mr. Harrison’s Confessions." The characters, Miss Deborah (played by Eileen Atkins) and "Miss Matilda "Matty" Jenkyns" (played by Dame Judi Dench) are the two main characters and are sisters.  The pair are both spinsters and they own a house together.  Miss Deborah is the older, more proper sister; often corrects their maid, Martha, when she abuses proper code of etiquette Miss Matilda is the younger, more sheltered sister, who follows her elder sister’s proper use of etiquette.
"Miss Deborah is the older, more proper sister; often corrects their maid, Martha, when she abuses proper code of etiquette."
Almost all landowners over a certain age in "Cranford" are women and the etiquette used is still rigidly reinforced.  When we first meet the Jenkyns sisters, it is 1842.  The town is still a rather stiff and traditional one. With the arrival of many new characters, the etiquette rules are placed in jeopardy, which distresses and disturbs Miss Deborah.

Ladies from "Return to Cranford"
Without being too plot heavy, upon the death of a character, a sister is the only member remaining in the family.  When she wishes to walk her sister to the grave in her funeral procession, it was perceived as extremely ill-mannered at the time.  However, Miss Deborah surprises her sister and friends by not only condoning the gesture, but even following along with her as a show of support and an understanding her grief.

I highly recommend 'Cranford' to anyone who wishes to see a series with proper etiquette and an extremely touching storyline.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Ongoing Youth Etiquette Classes at the Graber Olive House

Hands-on training for difficult foods
The RSVP Institute of Etiquette’s newest coed courses at the Graber Olive House in Ontario are on Sunday afternoons from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.  Sign up your students now and they can join in the fun of learning etiquette.   

The RSVP Institute has been teaching social skills that are vital to making one's way gracefully through life, since 1990.
Teamwork helps them learn!
Students learn in a friendly and casual setting
The three, 2 hour classes are $75.00 per student & with our family discount, siblings pay only $55.00 each. Classes are from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. The fee covers all classes, foods & handouts.

The classes focus on:
• Key Skills~ Basics, including; Introductions & Responses
• Dining Skills & Table Manners (w/foods served to practice dining skills)
• Manners; Home & Abroad, Cultural Diversity, Respect for Others
• Deflecting Peer Pressure, Tech Etiquette, “Thank you" notes
• Tricks to developing good eye contact, great posture, grooming
•Internet Manners, Cell Phone / Mobile Manners and Text Manners
• Advanced Manners that open doors, build friendships & more! 

Students of all ages find the classes fun and educational!
The Graber Olive House is located at: 315 E. Fourth Street,
 Ontario 91764   Phone  909-983-1761       

Registration forms with fee must be returned by Feb. 9th to secure registration!
Checks can be mailed to: RSVP 301 East Fourth Street, Ontario 91764

Questions? Would you like a registration form? 
Email mannersclass@gmail.com  
or call 909 923-5650      
                               Outside the 909 Area Code, call 800-891-RSVP

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Teaching Etiquette and Manners to Children

Due to an injury just prior to Christmas, Maura has not been able to blog. She hopes to be able to put another post up later this week. Thanks to her brother, we were able to post on to YouTube another of her numerous television appearances from over the years.  Look for another of her posts later this week.