Letitia Baldrige's Complete Guide to the New Manners for the 90's


These are changing times, and here is the new encyclopedia of manners to guide us confidently and correctly through the maze of lifestyles, customs, and ways of relating to others that hallmark this decade. Much of the information in this book is new, because many of the situations it discusses have not existed as social norms before.

Letitia Baldrige is uniquely qualified to offer this timely advice. Universally recognized as the country's leading authority on manners and ...

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These are changing times, and here is the new encyclopedia of manners to guide us confidently and correctly through the maze of lifestyles, customs, and ways of relating to others that hallmark this decade. Much of the information in this book is new, because many of the situations it discusses have not existed as social norms before.

Letitia Baldrige is uniquely qualified to offer this timely advice. Universally recognized as the country's leading authority on manners and social relationships, she has been hailed on the cover of Time magazine as "America's leading arbiter of manners" and is regularly celebrated for the same expertise in the media.

Ms. Baldrige's book provides authoritative answers to questions about manners no one has had to ask before. Among them, the protocol involved in all the new family relationships -- stepfamilies, adult children returning home, and elderly parents moving in; child visitation problems and other complications of divorce; the new codes concerning sex and dating and women taking the initiative romantically; and men and women traveling together on business. She provides unique counsel on rearing children to say "no" to drugs, alcohol, and other destructive temptations and to have the exemplary manners that lead to success.

The book is also a complete updated guide to everything you need to know to handle the traditional rites and passages of life in line with current thinking (much of which is different from that of the past). This includes detailed information on weddings, funerals, and religious ceremonies; entertaining any number of people -- from one to one thousand; today's table manners, table setting, and table service; etiquette atwork; proper forms of address for these times; and everything you need to know to converse easily in person or on the telephone, to write appropriate letters and notes for every occasion, and much more.

These are real manners for real people in today's complex world. Letitia Baldrige calls them "manners from the heart," and if you have such manners, the world will be with you.

These are new times, and here is the new encyclopedia of manners geared to guiding us confidently and correctly through the rapidly changing maze of new lifestyles, customs, and ways of relating that epitomize this era.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Baldridge's experience as Jacqueline Kennedy's chief of staff at the White House and as social secretary at U.S. embassies in Europe lend weight to her counsel on etiquette dilemmas. While advising on such tricky problems as eating a sloppy pizza, a woman's asking a man for a date, and how much to tip, Baldridge ( Complete Guide to Executive Manners ) also offers help for more important situations often unique to contemporary society. People nowadays, she declares, must get along in stepfamilies and with live-in lovers and cope with the myriad financial and logistic ramifications of assorted households. Detailed and accessible, her advice is an extension of the Golden Rule. Caring for others, Baldridge assures us, is the key to etiquette. Good manners are the fruits of sensitivity to human beings, ``which translates to kindness, compassion and thoughtfulness.'' Illustrations not seen by PW. (Feb.)
Library Journal
Baldrige updates her previous etiquette books--this is her sixth on the subject. By the 1990s she foresees social trends which will incorporate new patterns of behavior. Already topics that differ from the Letitia Baldrige's Complete Guide to a Great Social Life ( LJ 12/87) are included: adult children returning home; extended families; aged parents living with adult children; more on live-in relationships and second and third marriages; support of a family with an AIDS victim; and dealing with telephone answering machines. While Judith Martin's Miss Manners' Guide for the Turn-of-the-Century Millenium previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 7/89 is a sometimes whimsical update for 2001, this offers practical help for the 1990s. Recommended. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 9/15/89.-- Mary Ann Wasick, West Allis P.L., Wis.
An encyclopedia of manners that addresses both the lifestyles, customs, and ways of interrelating that mark the present decade, and the more traditional rituals of style. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780892563203
  • Publisher: Scribner
  • Publication date: 3/2/1990
  • Edition description: Older Edition
  • Pages: 672
  • Product dimensions: 6.64 (w) x 9.56 (h) x 1.93 (d)

Table of Contents

Manners from the Heart



Your Manners with Those Close to You
In the Relationships That Grow Out of Marriage
With Your Mate
With Your Mother- and Father-in-Law
With Your Son and Daughter-in-Law or Daughter and Son-in-Law

With Roommates
With a Roommate of the Opposite Sex

With Those Who Work in Your House

The New Family Formation: Adults Living Together Harmoniously
An Adult Child Returns to the Nest
When a Parent Lives with You
The Family Forum

Rearing Great Children: The Manners They Need To Know
How a Child Learns to Distinguish Between Right and Wrong
The Example of His or Her Parents
Moral Lessons a Small Child Gleans from Parents Through Reading and Conversation
The Help That Religious Faith Can Give

Basic Behavior Rules Your Child of Ten or Older Should Know
The Basics
Teenagers Need a Few More Rules
Making the Rules Easier to Take

Your Role in Your Children's Relationships
With Siblings
With Adults

Parents Speak to Their Children About Sex
A Mother Speaks to Her Daughter
A Father Speaks to His Son

Guarding Your Child Against the Perils of Drugs and Alcohol
There Is No "Socially Acceptable" Use of Drugs
Drugs and the Vulnerable Teenager
The Kinds of Drugs Around Us
Teaching Your Young Child About Alcohol
Teenage Drinking
Where to Get Help

When Your Children Become Adults: Keeping Your Family Together


Making Friends in a Busy World
The First Step: Meeting People Who May Become Friends
Become Creative in Your Leisure Time

Solidifying aNew Friendship

Making Friends at Work

Widening Your Horizons Through Volunteer Work
Choosing a Volunteer Activity
The Way to Get on a Nonprofit Agency Board
If Your Volunteer Motives Are Partly Social

Manners that Succeed at Work

Whether You're a Boss or Down in the Ranks
Commonsense Business Behavior That Can Advance Your Career
When You're New in the Office

To Be a Well-Liked, Successful Executive
Traveling with the Boss

The Manners that Make Travel Easier

Ensuring a Pleasurable Trip
Having a Good Time with a Traveling Companion
When You're Taking a Plane

Women and Travel
Men and Women Traveling Together on Business
A Woman Traveling Alone

Some Practical Advice
Dealing with a Travel Agent
A Wise Move for the Overseas Traveler

The Art of Tipping
General Guidelines on Tipping
At Restaurants
Valet Parking and Limousine Service
When You're Taking a Taxi
When You Are Staying in a Hotel or Motel
If You're a Weekend Guest in a Home with a Domestic Staff
When You're at the Hairdresser
When You Are in a Railroad Club Car
Tip the Fast-Food Deliverer

Holiday Tipping What an Affluent New York Divorcée Recently Gave in Holiday Tips
What a Young New York Career Woman Recently Gave in Holiday Tips
Tipping the People Who Serve You in Your Home
Holiday Tipping in Your Staffed Apartment House
When You Have Your Car in a Private Garage

Tipping and Travel Outside the Country
When You Take a Cruise
When You Are in a Foreign Country

Dressing Appropriately
Propriety and Appropriateness
At Church or Temple

The Right Thing to Wear -- Women
What You Wear to a Cocktail Party
What You Wear to a Black Tie Affair
What You Wear to a White Tie Affair
What You Wear to Someone's Private Club
Women at Their Offices

The Right Thing to Wear -- Men
Men's Fashion Disasters
Your Ties
Your Jewelry
What You Wear to a Black Tie Affair
What You Wear to a White Tie Affair
A Final Word of Advice

Common Courtesies
Courtesies Appropriate to Where You Are
On the Street as Pedestrian or Driver
On Public Transportation
At Movies and in the Theater
In the Supermarket
At the Beach or Camping
At a Pool
In Golf or Tennis Games

Courtesies to Observe with Those You Encounter During Your Day
Your Manners with the Expert Professionals Who Serve You
Your Manners with Waiters
Your Manners with Tradespeople and Salespeople
Your Manners with Strangers Encountered Along the Way


The Right Thing to Do at Every Kind of Meal
Table Manner Basics
Body Language at Table
General Rules on Conduct at Table
Dilemmas at Mealtime

Mealtime Decorum
Saying Grace
When Do You Start Eating?
Serving Yourself from a Platter
Taking Modest Portions
Tasting Other People's Food
When You're on a Diet
If You Spill at Table
Using Your Flatware Properly
Napkin Etiquette
Finger Bowls

How to Handle Different -- and Sometimes Difficult -- Foods
Hors d' Oeuvres
Breads and Pastries
The Relish Tray
Vegetables That Are Difficult to Eat
Fresh Fruit Served at the End of a Meal
Informal Food


New Manners for the New Society
Dating in the New Decade
Asking the Person for the Date
What Constitutes a Good Date
Who Pays for What on a Date and When and How
If You're Miserable on the Date
Give That Blind Date a Chance!

The New Manners Concerning Sex and Romantic Relationships
When the Answer Is "Yes"
When the Answer Is "No"
When a Woman Is Afraid to Be Alone with a Man
Bringing Up the Subject of Condoms
Safe Sex and Bisexuality
A Homosexual Relationship
What to Tell the Mate of Someone Who's Playing Around

Pleasures and Pitfalls of the Office Romance

When You Live Together as an Unmarried Couple

The Romance Is Over


Engagements: Sharing The Joyous News

Telling the World Your Good News
When Announcing Your Engagement Is Not Necessary
Newspaper Announcement of the Engagement

The Engagement Ring

Celebrating the Engagement
The Engagement Party
Engagement Presents
Showers: Feting the Bride-to-Be

Asking Someone to Marry You
When a Woman Does the Proposing
When Your Answer Is "No"


Creating a Beautiful Wedding

Your Wedding Invitations
Who Receives Your Invitations?
The Various Ways of Inviting Guests to the Wedding
The Formal Traditional Wedding Invitation
Addressing and Mailing the Invitations
The Correct Wording on Wedding Invitations
The Etiquette of Names on Wedding Invitations
The Separate Reception Invitation Card
The Ceremony Card
Soliciting a Reply to an Invitation
"At Home" Cards
A Pew Card
Other Enclosures

Wedding Announcements
The Announcement Text

How Much Will It Cost and Who Will Pay?
First, the Budget
Paying for It

Planning for a Perfect Wedding Day
Choosing the Time for the Religious Ceremony
Choosing the Place for the Wedding Service
Options That Make for a Happy Day

Keep Track of Important Details with a Wedding Planner
Invitation List
The Wedding Party
The Wedding Ceremony
Reception Planner for a Large Wedding
Transportation Arrangements

Working with the Caterer

The Food at the Reception
Planning the Menu
The Presentation Is Important
The Wedding Cake

Bridesmaids' Bouquets

Photography Requirements
The Bride's Portrait
The Candid Photographer



Wedding Attendants
The Bride's Attendants
The Groom's Atten

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First Chapter

Chapter 1

Your Manners with Those Close to You

It's only common sense. The people you are closest to warrant an extra measure of consideration. After all, they are part of your daily life, and you want your interactions with them to be as pleasant and smooth as possible. There's nothing that sours things quite so much as friction between family members or others sharing the same living space. It takes good manners to keep close relationships comfortable and warm, to sustain the love and mutual respect that make a house a home.


Consideration and good manners cement many different family relationships, but it's the relationships that evolve out of marriage that particularly benefit by their presence -- or suffer through their absence.

With Your Mate

In the good fight against taking someone for granted, a prime cause for unhappiness between couples, these are points to consider:

* A spouse needs building up, not putting down or being mocked in front of others.
* Help him or her through every major disappointment. Hopefully, he or she will do the same for you.
* It is important to be particularly nice to family members your spouse holds dear, such as his or her parents.
* Be nice to your spouse's friends, even the ones you don't like. (Maybe your spouse doesn't like some of your friends.)
* Be punctual for appointments he or she considers important.
* Compromise not only on big matters (the house to be purchased), but also on small ones (tonight's movie selection on television).
* When your mate faces a big problem, drop what you're doing and be there.There are times when you may have to put your spouse ahead of your children.
* Compliment your spouse often -- and creatively, so that you don't sound metronome-predictable.
* Be imaginative and thoughtful with every gift for your spouse.
* Keep in constant touch when you are apart (with regular telephone calls, for example).
* If your mate is not feeling well or has a crash project to take care of, offer to do his or her chores as well as your own.
* Consult each other as equal partners on everything major concerning the children.

With Your Mother- and Father-in-Law

When you marry, your mate's parents become part of your inner family and should be treated as such. Treat them with love and respect from the outset, and you'll not only win their reciprocated love and respect -- you'll strengthen the bonds of your relationship with your spouse.

* Make them feel their visits to your home are welcome, not an imposition.
* Arrange to have your children see them as often as possible.
* Don't take their baby-sitting help for granted; remember how pressured they may be by their own problems, so don't abuse their kindness.
* Never criticize them within earshot of your children; always refer to them with affection and respect.
* If they live in another town, telephone them regularly, and always on their birthdays and anniversary.
* If one of them becomes widowed, give much more of yourself than before to the remaining one.
* If one of them grossly oversteps the bounds of acceptable behavior, either in advising or criticizing you or your children, explain what he or she has done wrong with tact and kindness. Keep your voice calm and show you are in control of your emotions. (And no matter how poor your relationship may be at any given moment, never cut them off from their grandchildren.) Cool down; the situation will be better in a short while.
* Have your children write thank-you notes to their grandparents within a week of receiving any gifts from them.
* Welcome it when they give their grandchildren some lessons in table manners when they take them out for a meal (because your children probably can use them).
* Welcome their moments of reminiscing, but make them feel a part of your generation, too. (That means comments like this are never heard in your house: "You wouldn't understand, because you're of the older generation.")
* Never make fun of their forgetfulness or other signs of old age, and never allow your children to tease them either. Remember, some day you will be there, too.

With Your Son and Daughter-in-Law or Daughter and Son-in-Law

When you are the parents-in-law, be the best there are. The most important basis of a happy relationship with your children and their spouses is to accept that they must lead their own lives and raise their own children their way, not yours.

* Learn to sit on any criticism you might have of how they live or how they are raising your grandchildren -- because, realistically, they will not be interested in your views.
* When your advice is sought, give it freely and lovingly, but don't expect to receive such a request very often.
* If you can't say something nice about their house and its decor, don't say anything at all.
* Don't push too aggressively for invitations; appreciate the fact that they may be very busy -- too busy to entertain you.
* Ask them out to dinner more often than you make them ask you to their house. Be very sensitive to their voices when you suggest coming over -- it may be the wrong time, in which case, back off.
* If you sense marital discord in the house, don't question anyone about it. Wait until one of them speaks to you -- and never ever question their children about it.
* Remember your son- or daughter-in-law's birthday with the same enthusiasm you remember your child's.
* Offer to help with free baby-sitting chores, and don't act as though this puts them in your debt.
* If you're feeling neglected, call them, but just to check in, never to complain. A surefire way to cheer yourself up is to talk to your grandchildren on the telephone.
* Always pick up after yourself in their house; offer to help clean up after them, too. If they say no, don't argue!
* Help them out when they're going through a tough time financially. This may result in giving them a loan at no interest, in forgiving a debt, or in devising some creative way out of their problem. (As a daughter who had her hand in her father's pocket his entire life, this person can say with conviction that it takes a wonderful parent to remain generous for so many years!)
* Apologize when you've irked your son- or daughter-in-law, even if you feel innocent. Always take the first step to ask forgiveness, and keep those lines of communication open. In-laws become greatly upset with each other for the most insignificant of reasons. Deal with any negative at once, so that a small sore does not become a festering wound.


If you share an apartment or house as an adult with a roommate of the same sex (and we are not talking here about a homosexual arrangement), getting on each other's nerves is almost inevitable. There are times when another person's habits or lack of courtesy grate on you, but if both roommates are well intentioned and prepared to share equal responsibilities, the relationship can be very successful, happy, and healthy.

* Be up front with each other. Don't allow some unspoken resentment to magnify in its importance. Don't sulk. Roommates who communicate well and speak frankly to each other have a successful household. Unaired problems are never solved -- they just expand.

* Share the work involving the household equally. Discuss the division of responsibilities if one of you feels they are not fairly balanced. And if you have a chore, do it when you are supposed to. Sloppiness and procrastination on the part of one person can make the best relationship grow sour.

* One roommate should help out the other when he or she has a guest -- either by getting out of the apartment, or by doing some extra chores or bot

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