Etiquette

Dear Mary

9 September 2017 9:00 am

Q. Some rather flashy new neighbours of ours — I won’t mention their names as his will be familiar to…

Dear Mary

26 August 2017 9:00 am

Q. I am in my seventies and my husband is in his nineties. The other night we had two couples…

Dear Mary

5 August 2017 9:00 am

Q. I’m shortly to host a very large family gathering. Everyone will be related to the same ancestor, so we…

Snapping point

5 August 2017 9:00 am

Our family holiday snaps used to be slides. We’d gather in the sitting room while Dad clicked through each one.…

Dear Mary

15 July 2017 9:00 am

Q. Is there an etiquette regarding security gates? My wife and I were invited to dinner by new neighbours who…

Dear Mary

8 July 2017 9:00 am

Q. ‘Alfred’ is a friend of 30 years’ standing who has just married for the first time. Alfred retains all…

Dear Mary: What can you do when your new neighbours stiff you on a restaurant bill?

4 June 2016 9:00 am

Q. We moved recently and new neighbours invited us to join them for dinner at a nearby restaurant. I planned…

Dear Mary: Is it OK to ask to drink the wine you brought to a dinner party?

28 May 2016 9:00 am

Q. What is the etiquette regarding asking to drink the wine you have brought to a dinner party? The man…

Dear Mary: why have all my friends given me scented candles?

21 May 2016 9:00 am

Q. My super successful son kindly gave a birthday dinner party for me in a glamorous London club. I have never…

A puzzle for President Obama: is it really that British to queue?

30 April 2016 9:00 am

The language that President Barack Obama used was evidence of skulduggery, Nigel Farage declared. ‘The UK is gonna be in…

Dear Mary: how can my friend make her husband wear his hearing aids?

23 April 2016 9:00 am

Q. A friend of mine’s husband is in his nineties. They are a delightful couple but the husband has started…

Dear Mary: How can I make a conversation-stopping gaffe go away?

9 April 2016 9:00 am

Q. What should a host do when a guest says something so embarrassing in front of the assembled company that…

Dear Mary: How to stop a host turning his dinner party into a debate

2 April 2016 9:00 am

Q. Twice recently our host has clinked his glass, required us to stop relaxing and instead take part in a…

Dear Mary: my niece hasn’t returned the small sum I lent her

12 March 2016 9:00 am

Q. My niece, who came to stay with me in the country for the weekend, arrived without cash and asked…

Dear Mary: How can I teach my godson to write thank-you letters?

13 February 2016 9:00 am

Q. I recently rediscovered a wonderful 22-year-old godson. He came to shoot for the first time and was a marvellous…

Dear Mary: Must I have name badges for guests at my wedding?

6 February 2016 9:00 am

Q. My husband-to-be and I both work full time. We are getting married from his family HQ and his kind…

Is it rude to run out of cartridges?

Dear Mary: How can I escape the New Year party that just won’t give up?

30 January 2016 9:00 am

Q. For the past two New Year’s Eves we have ducked an annual party given by some acquaintances, who are…

Dear Mary: My neighbour is planning a girls’ night in — how can I escape?

9 January 2016 9:00 am

Q. Although I have met most of the fellow occupants of my building at residents’ meetings, we don’t socialise. However…

Dear Mary solves problems for Nicky Haslam, Nigel Slater, Professor Mary Beard and others

12 December 2015 9:00 am

From Nicky HaslamQ. Being considered something of a guru on the subject of things common, can you advise me how…

Dear Mary: How can I shut up business travel bores?

21 November 2015 9:00 am

Q. I work in the London art market. Often, when I run into a fellow dealer and ask how they…

The secret brilliance of Prince Philip’s ‘gaffes’

7 November 2015 9:00 am

I’ve just been on the receiving end of a Prince Philip gaffe, of sorts, and I loved it. It was…

Dear Mary: why are young women dyeing their hair grey?

7 November 2015 9:00 am

Q. I have lunch once a month with an old university friend. Over the years we have both thickened out…

Dear Mary: How can I greet friends without clashing specs?

24 October 2015 9:00 am

Q. As an old trout, large in height and breadth, I have taken a leaf out of the documentary Advanced…

Dear Mary: Another way to deal with a maddening blackhead

17 October 2015 8:00 am

Q. Might I suggest an alternative solution to E.B. of London’s problem (3 October) about the person sporting a ‘maddening’…

Dear Mary: How can girls avoid freezing in cold marquees?

10 October 2015 9:00 am

Q. What do you do when you are so cold at a party that you cannot enjoy it? At a…