Etiquette: Don’t play the politics game

Tribune News Service

Q. All I hear these days on the TV or at a restaurant with friends or after church, is politics, politics, politics. I am already so sick of hearing about what this one said and what that one said or didn’t say. I’ve already had nosy people (family and friends) ask me who I want to win. Rather than tell them I think it is stupid to even talk about something like that at this stage of the game, what is the more polite thing to say?

A. Merely reply: “I feel it is much too early to answer your question. I have not heard enough about each candidate’s platform. Therefore, I have no opinion.”

A good solution

Thank you to the reader who provided a solution to the problem identified in last week’s column regarding serving a guest a special meal when all other guests are having the prescribed same menu:

“We solved the delivery problem by placing a small card near the water glass of the person designated to receive the special meal. We notified the staff of this method and placed the card once the guest had chosen a seat. Table place cards were not necessary … just one person was needed at the luncheon who knew to place the card and inform the person who made the special request.

“We often used just a small brightly colored card about the size of a calling card or a die-cut graphic that matched the luncheon theme. It needed nothing on it. The guest knew it identified him for his special request and the servers did also.”

OK to disagree

Thank you to the reader who responded regarding a recent column regarding the grandmother of the bride, deciding to talk to the prospective groom about not growing a scruffy beard for his wedding to her granddaughter:

“I disagree with your answer to the grandmother of the bride who was upset about the groom growing a beard before the wedding. You advised her to talk to the young man. The letter doesn’t say if the bride and her parents were upset with the situation. In my opinion, the most important part of good manners is to treat people how you want to be treated. It is very presumptuous of this grandmother to take it upon herself to speak to this young man. How would she feel if his grandmother told the bride to wear her hair a certain way so the pictures “look good”. It is his day also and it would be the height of rudeness for her to tell him how to dress, wear his hair or whether to sport a beard. Grandma needs to ‘back off’ before she causes more problems than a little facial hair on the groom’s face.

My response: I do not know if the bride and her parents were upset with the situation or not. I do feel, however, they were because otherwise the grandmother probably would not have known there was going to be a beard until she saw it on his face on the day of the wedding. It appears to me, the grandmother was trying to solve or avoid an obvious problem before it became a problem on the wedding day. In addition, she was thinking about 25 years from the date of this wedding, when the couple looks at their wedding pictures, along with their children, when a scruffy facial beard is no longer in vogue, and being happy the couple could smile at how wonderful they looked at their wedding, rather than saying: Oh, my goodness, I can’t believe I grew that terrible beard for my wedding.” Or, “I still can’t believe you grew that terrible looking scruffy beard. It looked terrible!”

Dianne Isbell is a local contributing writer. Send your etiquette questions to Lifestyle Editor Patrick Kuhl, Belleville News-Democrat, P.O. Box 427, 120 S. Illinois St., Belleville, IL 62222-0427, or email them to