Q: Gnawing on rib bones, spitting watermelon seeds, walking around nibbling fried chicken legs, are all common sights at cookouts. Do table manners relax during summer barbecues?
A: While manners can be relaxed in more casual settings, there is still a level of decorum one should have at all times. So...if in the privacy of your own home and not entertaining others, I'd say...gnaw away! However, because manners are intended to make others feel more comfortable, if in the presence of others, one should leave these unsightly habits at home.
Q: Is it okay to arrive to a cookout empty handed?
A: Although you may not host the cookout, once you've accepted the invite, it is your responsibility to ask if you can contribute anything more to the menu. If your host insists that nothing more is needed, you are still not off the hook! A nice bottle of wine, floral arrangement or boxed candies is appropriate to show your host your gratitude and appreciation! And if you forget, there's never enough ice at a cookout! Grab a bag on your way! Your gesture will be remembered!
Q: The "shoeless household movement"...is it too much to ask of your guests?
A: The shoeless household movement is one of the latest trends. There are those who choose this household policy to promote cleanliness and save their flooring from spiked pumps and dirty soles. However, there are far more who find this request to be rude and inconveniencing to guests. As guests find themselves at your front door faced with the option of removing their shoes to bare their unsuspecting holey socks, slippery hosiery or unpedicured toes and heals, they are then placed in a most uncomfortable and compromising position. Do they race for the car from sheer embarrassment or do they swallow their pride, enter with caution and count down the moments until they can bid you a farewell? It's a difficult dilemma to face but hosts/hostesses must remember, when inviting people into your home they should spend their time comfortably. You may wish to fore go your shoeless house policy for that event or provide socks for all your guests. And for the unsuspecting guest, the best rule of thumb is slip a pair of socks into your purse before heading over to visit just in case your host is into shoelessness!