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The School of Flaunt

Back when "Flying Was Fun" Alexandra Smythe and Cate Clarke were Flight Attendants with a Major International Carrier. Prior to Private Jets coming into vogue, Alexandra and Cate traveled in the First Class World, meeting and greeting the top celebrities, politicians who would become Presidents, nouveau riche, and yes the occasional Headline Grabbing Criminal in Handcuffs!

What the two ladies viewed and experienced became fodder for the School of Flaunt, so much money, such bad taste and oh those terrible manners. Something had to be done! Hence, The School of Flaunt Handbook was born. Read More

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THE ART OF USING A NAPKIN ~ AND WE AREN'T TALKING PAPER HERE FOR WE ALL KNOW THAT DOESN'T COUNT!

Category: Stay Out of Etiquette Hell!  |  Permalink

Published: Thursday, April 3, 2014

 

 

 

THE ART OF USING A NAPKIN ~ AND WE AREN'T TALKING PAPER HERE FOR WE ALL KNOW THAT DOESN'T COUNT! Unless you are tailgating but that is another topic for another day. So let us begin.

You are having a sit down dinner and are in a quandary now as to how to place your napkins. It really is so simple: "formal" settings require that the napkin will be placed on the guest's plate with NO napkin rings; informal dining where you are designing a look that some might say is whimsical or possibly has a theme, then the napkin can be placed in a water or wine glass, in a decorative container, above the plate or to the left hand side of the plate. Napkin rings as a decoration are totally acceptable. Remember a 10 to 12" napkin is used for breakfast or a tea. A napkin that is 14 -16" is for a luncheon and napkins that are 18 - 20" are used for simple or casual dinners. Those lovely 22 - 26" ones are used for multi course meals. Remember at a formal dinner the fabric of the napkins should be compatible with the formal table cloth.

But how to properly use one so that you look well heeled and not like you just fell off a turnip truck. First of all, never shake out your napkin like you are getting ready to do some laundry. We've seen this done! Very poor form!! It should go without saying but we will say it anyway, you would never place a napkin in your collar like a child's bib! And gentlemen never and we mean "never" tuck a napkin in your waistband or between buttons on your shirt. We are cringing at that picture!

Next, remember it is acceptable to completely unfold a breakfast or luncheon size napkin. But and this is important if you have a larger dinner napkin, it should remain folded in half lengthwise. The folded edge being placed toward you. A small but important point.

So when do you place said napkin in your lap? When you sit down, but remember at a very formal dinner you always wait until the hostess places her napkin in her lap. If perchance you are at the head table with the President and the First Lady then wait until she has placed her napkin in her lap. Now here is the conundrum, if the President is a woman then do you wait until her husband, The First Husband places his napkin in his lap? What to do? Take your cue from what they are doing! Just don't take your napkin off the table and place it in your lap until they do!!

Now your napkin is successfully in your lap. What are absolute No-No's that you should never do. First of all, you should never leave the table because others can possibly see your soiled napkin. But sometimes things happen, so leave your napkin soiled side down to the left of you dinner plate. We have read where some say leave the napkin in your chair. Others recoil at that suggestion for fear that your soiled napkin might soil the hostess's chair. Note: Fine restaurants will usually replace your napkin or at least refold and leave it next to your plate for your return.

And these errors are really the most egregious: WIPING you mouth with your napkin, then crumpling it up in a ball and tossing it into your used plate! We've seen it, had it done to our fine linens, and wanted to jump across the dining table and wring the offender's neck. But restraint was used on our part and this deportment was noted for future dinner parties. The person would be relegated to pool parties outside where there were plenty of paper napkins!

Lastly, don't spit food into your cloth napkin! Grow up, if you don't care for something SWALLOW it anyway! And something that is not edible, i.e. bones, gristle etc. put this things on the edge of your dinner plate, not your bread plate.

Remember if you are offered a finger bowl, don't be crass and put both hands in the bowl or your napkin either! Dip your fingers into the bowl, one hand at a time and then DRY your fingers on your napkin!

Dinner is finished - now what do you do with the napkin? Wait until your hostess or host places their napkin to the left of their dinner plate or in the center of the setting if the plate has been removed. Place your napkin neatly folded soiled side down the same way they have. Voila, now aren't you the perfect dinner guest?

We wish you many fine dining experiences, for you are the dinner guest that will be invited back many times! In other words, you are definitely on the "A" list now.

Sincerely,

Your Divas of Good Taste and Manners from The School of Flaunt,

Alexandra Smythe and Cate Clarke

P.S. If a Hot towel is brought to the table it is for your hands only. Do NOT and we repeat do not wipe off your face or neck with said towel. The dinner table is not a sauna!! Capish!!

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