Q. The guy I have been dating the last couple of months, invited me to go with him to a Christmas dinner party at his co-worker's house. When we arrived and got out of the car to go to the front door, I noticed he didn't have anything in his hands to give to the hostess. The front door opened before I could say anything.
I did mention it when we were on the way home and he said he hadn't thought about it, but he didn't think a gift was necessary. I think we should have taken something. Am I wrong, or is it that single guys are not expected to do hostess gifts? Should I have have been the one to bring it up at the time he asked me to go with him to this party?
Should he write the thank-you note to the hostess the day after the party? I asked him whether he was going to do that and he said he would just tell his co-worker friend thank you the next day. Should I write a note myself or would it look like I was trying to upstage my date? This was the first time I met these people and I'm not too sure how often I will be seeing them again.
A. Whether a man is single or married, or whether he has accepted an invitation to dinner at a co-worker's house and attends with a date or without, proper manners dictate he should give the hostess a gift. He could have flowers delivered before the dinner party or bring a bottle of wine or a box of candy when he arrives at the front door.
As his date, you are not responsible for bringing a hostess gift or reminding him to do so.
Regardless of whether your date for the evening writes a followup thank-you note to the host and hostess, or calls them, it is polite and proper for you as a guest for dinner in their home, whether you think you will ever see them again or not, to write a thank-you note to them for the wonderful dinner, their warm hospitality, etc. You should be careful not to write anything negative about your date for the evening or mention that he did not bring a hostess gift.
Q. My husband and I were going to stop to visit some friends on our way back from a short family visit and we were asked to go to their church for an evening children's Christmas program evening event. The plan was to meet them at the church and we did. Because we had been driving for most of the day, my husband was not wearing a tie. He later told me he felt a little uncomfortable because our friend wore a coat and tie and sports coat. Some men at the event wore ties and some didn't. Should he have worn a tie or are these events more casual?
A. The next time, ask your friends whether it is a formal church event requiring a tie or more casual. As a general rule, and if not otherwise directed, wear a tie. If upon arrival, you are told there is no requirement for a tie, you have the option of removing it or wearing it.
Q. If I am at someone's home and I am freezing cold, can I ask him to turn up the heat?
A. No, good manners dictate you not do that. However, if you happen to casually rub your arms a few times in front of the home owners, you will probably be asked if you are cold. Your answer might be, "Yes, I am a little chilly." And if they ask you if you would like them to raise the temperature, a good response is: "Whatever is comfortable for you and the other guests, is fine with me." Hopefully, the temperature will be turned up and you will be more comfortable. Taking a sweater with you as a normal practice, might solve this problem.
Dianne Isbell is a local contributing writer. Send your etiquette questions to Lifestyle Editor Pat Kuhl, Belleville News-Democrat, P.O. Box 427, 120 S. Illinois St., Belleville, IL 62222-0427.