Amy Vanderbilt’s Very Special Student

Dear Readers, Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and Girls, Dudes and Dudettes, Babes and Babies, Presidents and Prime Ministers:

It’s time for us to say goodbye to awkward moments!  Turn our backs on social faux pas and bid adieu to obnoxious behavior.  For I have managed to procure for us, Dear Readers, the answers to all our problems:

Amy Vanderbilt’s  Complete Book of Etiquette!

Let’s flip through some pages . . . Ah here we go!

A Guide to Tactful Conversation!

Amy says:

“In greeting people we say, “how do you do?” we do not really expect an answer, but it is all right to reply, “Very well, thank you,” even if it is a blue Monday and you feel far from well.”  No one wants a clinical discussion in response to this purely rhetorical question.”

Amy will illustrate what she means by doing a little role playing with a Typical Person.

Amy:  How do you do?

Typical Person:  Does your stomach stick out like that because your preggers or are you just fat?

Amy says sorry but it is never polite to answer a question with a question. Amy says try again:

Amy:  How do you do?

Typical Person:  That depends . . . is that mildew smell coming from me or you?

Amy says this is better, but this reply is still in the form of a question. Amy says try again:

Amy:  How do you do?

Typical Person:  Who wants to know Funyun breath?

Amy says this reply is trending towards tactful but is not quite there yet. (She also says this typical person reminds her of someone but she can’t think who.)  Amy says try again.

Amy says:  How do you do?

Typical Person:  I like Funyuns.

Yes!  Very good!  Amy is so proud!!  Now Amy will move on to the next part of the tactful conversation lesson which covers not remembering names:

Amy says:

“If you are warmly greeted by someone whose name — or maybe whose face, too — you can’t recall say something harmless such as “nice to see you”.  Then while looking quite attentive, let the other person do the talking until he or she gives a clue as to identity.”

Amy:  Nice to see you.

Typical Person: You do not have a clue who I am, you are just pretending to look attentive but you have not been listening to a word I just said about the en-vi-RON-ment.

Amy says she likes this response because there are no contractions in it.  Amy says this person reminds her of someone but she still cannot think who. 

Amy:  You are looking well.

Typical Person:  It feels like we have been talking for one thousand, billion, million trillion hours.

Amy:  Al?  Al Gore?  Is that you?

Typical Person, Al:  Yes. Yes. Yes.  It is me Al Gore. Yes. Yes. Yes.

Amy:  Thanks for standing me up the other night! You have some nerve!

Typical person, Al:  Sorry I cannot do anything but stand up. Plus I was out of Funyuns.  Do you want to go to get some Funyuns with me?

Amy:  Of course Al!   You know, I cannot resist a man who does not use contractions!

Amy says that concludes our Guide to Tactful Conversation lesson one!  But Amy is sure she will be back real soon to teach us more etiquette because she just cannot help herself! 

Until next time . . . I love you

Funyuns. Funyuns. Funyuns. Yes. Yes. Yes.