In The Magazine

Social Graces

Friday, April 1, 2016

Q: Dear Lord of the Manner,

Whenever I try to be a so-called gentleman and follow the rules embedded in me when Mother made me be a Knickerbocker Grey, I’m confounded when out on a date and women seem perplexed by my chivalry. When I hold out their chairs, they miss their cue and practically plop to the floor. It doesn’t stop there. At best, I receive a look of astonishment. More often than not, they act like I’m some freakish, walking anachronism. I thought I was one of the good guys. But instead it’s biting me in the ass. Or, excuse me, “arse”


Sir Walter Wrongly

c/o My Parents’ Place,

640 Park Avenue

A: My Dear Raleigh,

You are not alone. Women, particularly the younger they come, are utterly befuddled by the most basic of well-intended gestures. I know of one friend who claimed she found herself in a neck brace after being twisted as her date moved side to side in a valorous effort to shield her from a car (otherwise once known as a carriage) passing by and spraying her with a pot au feu of mud and horse dung.

Suffice it to say it is not Dickensian England. Nor is it, sadly, the ’70s when feminism could be blamed as the root of the problem. Madeleine Albright aside, the issue has sadly taken a backseat.

But keep it up, my good man. DO open the door for a woman before proceeding inside (revolving doors and elevators included: allow her to take the first spin around. And keep the chitchat when going up as innocuous and sotto voce as possible. One never knows). DO help her with her coat. DO pull a chair out for her, although if seated at, say, a banquette, give her the privilege of looking out (needless to say, none of the rules apply to the workplace, like the poor sap who couldn’t refrain from chair chivalry for a female work colleague in the conference room). Taxis can be a tad tricky. Most women don’t relish sliding across the seat and having their skirt all bunched beneath them. Upon opening the door, simply ask “You first?”

Don’t lose faith. Do the right thing. Just don’t show up in your Knickerbocker Greys.’ Cos if you do, then she will have reasoned she’s out with Little Lord Fauntleroy. Steady on and chin up, including walking on the outside of the curb. Unless she shows a tendency to spit on the street. Then she’s definitely not for you. She’s more fit for a spittoon.

Mr Manners - Affair art final

Q: Dear Lord of the Manner,

I’ve suddenly found myself in the most delicious quandary! While having a hookup, our postcoital cigarette led to our discovering a friend in common. My best gal pal: my Grindr guy was merely familiar with her. But he was intimately in the know regarding the fact that her husband was having an affair with a woman he knows.

What an adulterous rogue! I must tell her. I always thought the scoundrel pretty damn cute, but how dare he! That traitorous boy is going to find himself to be the two-timing butt of jokes and the object of scorn of every woman on the Upper East Side.

Thank God I found out! After all, it takes one to know one. And gay men know.


One Delighted Troublemaker

Hell’s Kitchen, New York

A: My Dear Tattletale,

Won’t you boys ever learn? You just have to be the Queen of the Party. Your warped notion of being a woman’s best friend and confidant leads to the best of intentions “gang aft agley.”

The same thinking applies to any close confidant, no matter your gender or sexual orientation. Please . . . don’t involve yourself in the marital intimacies of any couple. Cast aside your genuine empathy and her being cuckolded by her hubby. Aside from being the catalyst for ruining their marriage, you run the risk of losing your friend forever: What if they patch things up after your salacious intel? She will never again hold you in the same regard. It is no different than when a bachelor asks his best buddy whether he should ask some gal for her hand in marriage. Advise against it and he’ll forever be in the doghouse if the conflicted one decides to take the leap (even if the newlywed later claims otherwise).

Zip it up! Let her find out for herself. And let us not forget: Lord of the Manner has all too often seen “GHs” (Girl Hags) project their own unhappiness with their love lives when it comes to advise and consent. Heed the advice from Lord of the Manner: Concentrate on your own amorous prospects instead. And leave the word-of-mouth to the gossipeuses gathered at Sant Ambroeus each morning. Be a yenta. Not a “nyet-a.”

Q: Dear Lord of the Manner,

Recently I couldn’t make one of the most coveted private parties in New York (no matter that I’d broken not one but both of my legs). Now I’m persona non grata. Forever! I’ve been axed from the guest list (and, yes, they have little minions studiously checking off names at the front door with an iPad). Am I wrong? Or is this grossly unfair? And there’s not a thing I can do about it! (I even sent flowers in my stead.) It’s either show—or be a no-go for years to come.

“Regret”-fully Me,

Charles Street, New York

A: Dear Party Pariah,

There is some truth to your lament—and we are not referring to some precious screening and dinner by a picky publicist. The situation has regrettably heightened of late among those hostesses with the mostess because there are so few “must” private soirees in homes today. The numbers have dwindled, and so too has any sense of latitude among those who rule the roost. It’s a “take it or leave It” state of affairs. Of course, the impersonal nature of invitations via e-mail or (spare me) Paperless Post hasn’t aided your cause. How often does one receive an engraved invitation these days properly delivered in the post? C’est dommage. Hence, the heightened sense of “exclusivity” among the most popular of party givers. Lord of the Manner knows of one downtown costume soiree in which the hapless fellow sent a friend instead. (Then again, said impostor was dressed up as the Chiquita Banana and, ergo, incognito.) And the inexcusable tendency for people nowadays to be heinously lackadaisical when it comes to promptly RSVPing or, worse yet, not showing up at all after graciously accepting has made not being a “Yes-Man” as unforgivable as not showing up for your appointed tee time at the National.

The best recourse is to stop with the tears and peel your self off the Aubusson. (So unseemly. Plus, tears discolor any fine rug.)

Henceforth, stop obsessing over not being included at the “It” party. Time is precious. Far more than any party, my precious peacock. Groveling will get you nowhere. Be ever so nonchalant next time you cross paths with the host or hostess. And if you happen to have Raf Simons alongside you, all the better.


Intriguing, Loving, Slightly Disturbing

Southampton's Parrish Art Museum held its beloved Midsummer Party last weekend. Our reporter was one of its hosts.

On The Avenue

A Night to Remember in Bridgehampton

AVENUE's crowd came to a cocktail party and dinner at Barn & Vine

On The Avenue

The Week Ahead: July 16-20 on the AVENUE

Here's what to do this week in New York and the Hamptons