A good friend of mine can't eat either gluten or lactose, and for whatever reason, Miss Conduct has a huge mental block about this, and is constantly proffering her slices of my fig-and-gorgonzola flatbread, or what have you. Embarrassing! I have dietary restrictions myself, I should know better. The last time I apologized, though -- and it may well be the last time I have to apologize -- my friend told me that her latest boo has summarized everything she can't eat as "Gluten au Gratin.""Gluten au Gratin!" I'll never offer her a slice of pizza again.
So many faux pas are the result of forgetting -- forgetting someone's name, their food rules, what side the water glass is on, whether or not you mailed the thank-you notes.* Do you use any clever memory tricks to help you? I tend to be horrible about right-left distinctions, and if I'm seated at a round table, you will see me making the "OK" sign under the table to remind myself that bread is on the left and drink is on the right.
What mannerly mnemonics do you use?
*Several times a year, I get letters from people who wrote TYNs in a timely fashion and forgot to mail them or gave them to a spouse who forgot to mail them.
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Welcome to Miss Conduct’s blog, a place where the popular Boston Globe Magazine columnist Robin Abrahams and her readers share etiquette tips, unravel social conundrums, and gossip about social behavior in pop culture and the news. Have a question of your own? Ask Robin using this form or by emailing her at firstname.lastname@example.org.