Mrs. McVeigh's Manners
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Live-in Aunt Won’t Eat at the Dining Room Table

 Dear Mrs. McVeigh,

We raised our kids to always eat at the dining room table but occasionally we would sit in front of the TV if there were a special program we all wanted to watch. Now, we have an elderly aunt living with us, and during the day when she's home alone, she eats in her chair in front of the TV. And the reason I know this is because of the spots and crumbs in front of her chair. She always drops food on the floor when we eat in the dining room. Since she is 86, is it rude of us to ask her to eat in the dining room, or do we let it go and clean up the spot? Also, what is the best way to ask her to not eat in the living room?



Dear G.P.

I say it is your house and your rules. There are several things that you could say to your aunt.  The first is to tell her that you want to set a good example for your kids.  Another way to tell her is it is a house rule to eat at the table, and since she lives in the house, she needs to follow the house rules. If she says okay and continues to do it, confront her and ask her again. If she tries to deny it, I would call her on it and tell her you see the crumbs. 

Coach Expected to Pay for End of Season Party


Dear Mrs. McVeigh,

My husband coached my son’s baseball team for the first time this summer.  We would like to have an end of the season party at a restaurant, such as a pizza place.  Is it appropriate to ask everyone to pay for themselves and their child, or is it protocol for the coach to host and pay for everyone?



Dear Anonymous,

It is fine to expect everyone to pay for his own meal at the after party.  If you think there will be some question about who is paying be up front about it.  You can do this by sending out an email announcing the party, and at the end say something like “Dutch treat.” 

FaceBook Status Questioned Again

 Dear Mrs. McVeigh,

I read your column on Facebook last week about people posting every detail of their relationships in the “Status” column.  I want to share something that happened to me, and see what you think.  I met someone and he asked me out on a date.  I found out that he was 42 years old from looking at his Facebook page.  On our date he asked me my age, guessing I was in my late 20s.  When I told him he was only 22, he was not thrilled about it.  A day after our date I looked on his Facebook page and I saw that he posted the year I was born on his page, and was soliciting opinions on my age.  Do you think that is rude?



Dear A.P.,

Yes I do think that is rude.  If he is interested in you he should not care about what any of his “Facebook Friends” say about it.  If he is unsure that you could have a good relationship because of your age difference a more appropriate way to solicit opinions is to ask his friends in a private setting.

Controversial Mayor’s Death

 Dear Mrs. McVeigh,

I have two questions about the passing of the mayor who shot her daughter and then herself.  The first question is should there be two memorial services/funerals or one for both of them?  The second is that the city that she was the mayor of is flying flags half-mast in her honor at their City Hall. Since it is a murder/suicide do you think this is right?



Dear Anonymous,

It is up to the family of the deceased if there are one or two memorial services for the mayor and her daughter. It is the preference of what the family needs in order to deal with this very sad tragedy.  As for the flying of the flags half-mast, she was a public official who passed away, and the cause of her death does not come into play for the tradition of the flags flying. 

Being Discreet is Polite and Appreciated

 Being discreet is something that eludes a lot of people, but is something that everyone appreciates.  An occasion I always remember is an etiquette speaker that had just spoken at an event for my husband’s fraternity. (This was before I got into the manner’s business.) We were in charge of taking her to a pre-event, and one of the men took off his coat and placed it on a chair.  In front of everyone she told him that he put his coat down incorrectly and showed him how to do it the right way.  Everyone standing there (my husband and I included) were all between 22 and 25 at the time, and at that age you get especially embarrassed by someone correcting you in front of your peers.  After spending time with her over the years at various events, we learned that this “etiquette expert” does not care how big or small the offense is – she is going to make sure that you know that you did something wrong.  She obviously thinks she is the etiquette police, but the irony of it all is that she is being very rude by correcting people.  The definition of etiquette is making people feel comfortable, and I cannot think of anything more uncomfortable than having someone tell you that you just committed an etiquette crime.  A coat over a chair – let it go.  I would never correct anyone’s bad manners in private or in public, unless the person is my child or in one of my classes. Good manners mean being discreet, and I have some ways that you can help people without embarrassing them.  Let’s call this list the Mrs. McVeigh’s list of ways to be discreet.   For all of the below offenses, if you are female and see something that another female needs to know about, then take her aside and tell her to where only she can hear you.  If you are female and see something that a male should know, try to enlist the help of another man that you trust, and vice-versa. ·      If you see someone with toilet paper on her shoe, quietly tell her. ·      If you see a run in a woman’s panty hose, let it go.  More than likely she does not have another pair, and will stress about it all day or night. ·      If you see a new stain on someone’s clothing then get soda water, take the person aside, and help him or her get it out.  If it does not come out completely then tell him that it is not noticeable. ·      If you see an old stain on a person’s clothing, then say nothing unless he has an outfit change with him. ·      If someone has a zipper down then take him aside in private and tell him. ·      If someone has an unbuttoned button tell him in private.  If a button is missing, let it go. ·      If someone tells a story wrong, let it go - unless they are on a witness stand. ·      If you notice someone has a ...

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