The word ‘etiquette’ seems a little bit old-fashioned. Most of us believe that it has gone for good, together with men taking their hats off to greet a woman. However, its rules are still in force. The thing is that savoir vivre has evolved. Of course it does not mean we are no longer obliged to follow it.
I have chosen 12 principles that we should observe on everyday basis.
#1 How to hold a cup of tea and coffee properly?
You might be a little bit surprised with the proper way of holding a cup of tea or coffee. Drinking tea, you have to hold your cup with the thumb and index finger almost touching each other inside the handle, and the middle finger supporting the handle from the bottom.
As for coffee, you have to put your index finger in the handle with the thumb resting upon the top of the handle and securing it this way. On your third finger the bottom of the cup should rest. The remaining fingers should carve back inside your fist.
#2 What can we do when the dish is too hot?
When you realise that your dish is too hot, don’t spit it out onto a napkin. Do not let everyone else around you about it opening your mouth and eyes wide. Simply drink something cold. You can’t blow at the food to cool it, either. The only option is to wait patiently until it’s colder.
#3 How to split the bills
Though it might seem unfair to pay for the dish you haven’t had, but sorting it out in front of the waiter is not the best option. Instead, split the bill among your friends. Thought not mathematically correct, equal shares are recommended, irrespective of what you have ordered and how much it cost.
#4 The food stuck between your teeth
Never use toothpicks at the table. When you realise that some food is still between your teeth, try to gently rinsing your mouth (so that nobody will even notice). Perhaps leaving the table for a moment will be most convenient.
If you spotted something between somebody else’s teeth, in a subtle way try to let them know about it. With your mouth closed, move your tongue along the teeth. Perhaps the person will figure out what it’s all about. Under no circumstances can you tell them directly. Be discrete and subtle.
#5 Blowing your nose
The etiquette experts suggest that the nose be blown quickly and quietly. If you think this can’t be done like that, leave your companions for a moment and do it in private.
Never blow your nose sitting at the table, even if you are only with your friends and family. Do it in the bathroom, wash your hands and come back.
Classy people don’t go for disposable handkerchiefs. They use cotton or even silk ones. This might not be very hygienic, but it certainly looks more elegant.
#6 Using public toilets
Well-mannered people know that after using the toilet you have to wash your hands. But there are more rules connected with using a public toilet.
1. When you see the door is closed, knock first instead of pulling it. It would be really embarrassing if the person inside forgot to lock the door and you would open it.
2. Men should keep some distance while using the urinals. It will be more comfortable and less stressful.
3. If you want to correct your make-up, do not occupy the mirror next to the hand dryer. Others will have to wait until you finish
#7 Savoir vivre and the zipper down
When you realise that your zipper is down, go to the toilet and do it up. If you can’t leave the public place you’re in, simply turn subtly towards the wall and do it.
When you notice somebody else having this problem, let them know about it. Again, be subtle and quiet so that nobody else hears it.
#8 What to do when somebody around you smells badly?
Large companies have some rules regarding personal hygiene. Food and perfumes with strong smell are not allowed. If somebody doesn’t follow them, you need to talk first. Ask them for a moment and let them know that what you want to say might not be nice. Only then get down to the essence.
#9 Torn trousers
What can you do when your trousers or jeans go apart in the least expected place and time? First of all the whole world does not need to know about it. Keep a low profile and don’t boast about your underwear. Use your jacket or anything else at hand to cover the hole. Tie up your sweater around your waist. Go somewhere to patch up the hole or sew it. You can also call somebody to bring you another pair of jeans or trousers.
#10 Sexual harassment at work
Both men and women are victims of sexual harassment at work. If you have to tackle this problem one day, don’t be quiet and don’t be afraid. Let your boss know that some compliments or remarks are not pleasant. If it doesn’t work, inform his superiors.
Sometimes harassment is difficult to identify. Here are some examples:
‘You look great in this dress.’ That’s a compliment.
‘Your bumpers look great in that dress!’ – this is inappropriate.
#11 Giving your seat to others in public transport
It goes without saying that once you see a pregnant woman you should give her your seat.
However, a round belly doesn’t always mean that the woman is going to have a baby. How can you tell a pregnant passenger from an obese one?
Pay attention to some details:
1. In most cases pregnant women don’t wear high heels and their ankles are swollen.
2. Look at the ways she stands. If she keeps her hands on the lower part of her back, or if she balances the weight of her body from one leg to the other, she is probable pregnant and you should stand up to let her seat.
3. If you are still unsure, simply stand up and let her decide if she wants to sit there or not.
#12 Savoir vivre while taking a selfie
Etiquette also refers to taking photos. Always ask your friends if they want to be in the picture. If they do, let them prepare for it because we all love looking good.
Never do that in the bathroom, in extreme or dangerous circumstances or near accidents that have just taken place. This shows your bad manners, carelessness or even cruelty.