Etiquette Boss: Tabling the difference

Etiquette Differences in Paris and London – Part 1

“Mom, when setting the table, do I place the forks and spoons up or down?”

“That depends, my dear. If you are setting the table in France or for a French guest, it will be correct to turn them down, but if doing so in England or the United States, turn them up.”

Etiquette rules can be confusing, but having just returned from a school trip to Versailles Palace, I was pleased to point out that the lessons taught in theory were observed in practice when we saw the elaborate table setting in Marie Antoinette’s parlor. All forks and spoons were turned down.

This palace takes credit for starting much of what we know as etiquette today. On the other hand, its British neighbor chose to do the opposite for a simple reason. The family crests on the silver forks in England were stamped on the front of the fork stem, so they turned them up for their guests to admire the family crest.

In France, however, the aristocrats had their crest emblazoned on the backs of the fork stems, hence their need to show them off by turning them down. Though customized silver flatware can be found today primarily in very old family sets, the custom remains in both countries and their former or present colonies.

YOUR BEST APPEARANCE: The benefits of facial massage – Part 1

We all know that massages are beneficial to the muscles of the body. We need to remember that the muscles in our bodies do not stop at the neck. That tired facial appearance that instigates remarks such as “you look tired” when you are not, is caused by drooping muscles beneath the skin.

No amount of expensive creams will tighten these muscles, but facial massages or exercises done correctly will definitely bring blood back to the face and make it look more alive.

Sagging facial muscles are a much greater giveaway of one’s age than wrinkles. This week, try sleeping on your back until it becomes a habit.

Phillipa Morrish is the president of Etiquette Training International.

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