Adrienne BoettingerTuesday,10 September 2013

The Snap:

Unsure what to say to your future mother-in-law the first time you see her after her face lift? Catch your friend’s husband picking his nose and flicking it into the guacamole? Don’t know how to respond to receiving a hideous planter for your birthday? Crap your pants on the shuttle to the amusement park? Don’t know how to handle your cousin constantly selling every present you give her at her next yard sale? As self-appointed, soon-to-be-named Queen of Everything, people always ask me for advice for life’s most bizarre and awkward moments (or they will once they experience my benevolent wisdom). In this handy dandy column I’ll help you get out of (or maybe into) the situations that would baffle modern etiquette experts.

The Download:

Most advice columns cover what utensil to use at a business lunch or how long you should wait before demanding a divorced couple return the wedding gift you gave them (answers: crazy straw and 48 hours after papers are filed). But I will tackle some of the tougher etiquette questions.

The first time you see your future mother-in-law post-facelift. For God’s sake, don’t look directly at her unprepared. Have your fiancée or a private investigator take a picture of her so you’re not surprised if she looks your Uncle Milton post-embalming. Don’t say anything too suck-uppy immediately. Wait until you’ve been in her presence 5 minutes and say, “Did you do something different to your hair? You look great!” Do not say, “You look fabulous today” as this implies that normally she looks like dog food.

Boogers in the Guac. The response depends on if you like the guy. If he’s basically a good guy, then you ‘accidentally’ knock over the bowl so that you look like a klutz and no one eats snot. If he’s a duke of douchebaggery, take a picture of him in the act and show it to everyone who nears the bowl of guac.

Bad gift reception. Again, this depends on your feelings for the gift-giver. If she is an elderly relative or overly sensitive friend, thank her graciously. When you get home put a label with her name on it so you can remember to prominently display it when she visits. If it’s someone you despise or a significant other giving a tacky gift for an important occasion, I find a withering glance can be sufficient, especially if given right before you chuck the gift at his head.

Crapping oneself. You’re pretty screwed with this one. Your best bet is to sit as still as possible and take a round trip back to your hotel. Tip the driver generously.

Gifts showing up at yard sales. Everyone is allowed occasional re-gifting (write down who gave you what so you don’t accidentally re-gift it to them the following year) but if the recipients of your gifts seem prone to selling it immediately, ink their names and “XOXOXO [your name]” on a significant portion of the gift or buy them engraved gifts.

Take Action!

Hat Tips:

Funny or Die – Etiquette Ninjas, Image Credit: Flickr

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