Originally created 08/20/00

Common sense will dictate who goes first



Dear Carson: When leaving a restaurant with no host or hostess leading the way, should the man go first to clear a path and open doors, or should the lady go first?

My girlfriend says the lady should go first. But if she does I cannot open doors and such. What's correct? - A Reader from Charlotte

Dear Charlotte Reader: You are both partly correct. When going through the restaurant the lady goes first, just as she would if a hostess or maitre d' were leading the way. When you arrive at the door she should step to one side, allowing you to precede her to open the door.

Old-style etiquette dictated "ladies first," but that is impractical if a man has to perform a stretch and balancing act in order to accomplish the feat.

Dear Carson: Is it proper to keep thin leather gloves on when shaking hands in church? I wear gloves all the time in winter because my hands are so cold. Thank you. - Gloved Glad Hands

Dear Gloved: Old-time etiquette required the removal of gloves before shaking hands. By refusing to remove gloves, it was believed, one implied resistance to the idea of her bare hands touching another's bare hands. Removal of the gloves implied a warmer and more personable greeting.

Life today is more fast-paced. Having to stop and remove gloves before a greeting seems unnecessary, awkward and excessive. Etiquette is not only a format for expected behavior but isalso heavily influenced by doses of kindness and common sense.

Dear Carson: I am the matron of honor at my best friend's wedding. I am throwing a bridal shower for her. She wanted to have it at a restaurant instead of potluck style. Lunch and drinks for 30 or so people in a restaurant, along with the cake, favors, prizes, etc., are more than I can afford. Is it tacky to ask the guests to buy their own lunch? - Overtaxed Old Friend

Dear Overtaxed: Yes, it is tacky to ask your guests to buy their own lunch, especially when they must also purchase a shower gift. It is tackier of the bride to insist on a restaurant. Showers are usually less complicated and costly than what you are describing. Suggest your home, instead, for dessert or coffee.

Write to Ask Carson, The Augusta Chronicle, P.O. Box 1928, Augusta, GA 30903-1928. Send e-mail to askcarson@home.com. Carson Elliott's Web site is at www.theproperthing.com..