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View Full Version : Etiquette re. introductions - help?



Captcha
11-15-2010, 06:24 AM
Is anyone good at etiquette?

I have a character who was raised in the private boys' school (Canadian) environment, and say what you will about the morals of those boys (and I have quite a bit to say, unfortunately), I've found that they always know their manners. Me, on the other hand - a bit shaky.

So I want my private school character (he's about thirty, now) to be taking his boyfriend to meet his parents and sister in a hotel restaurant. The family is already there when the couple arrives.

My feeling is:

The father stands, the mother and sister stay seated (there's estrangement in the family, so nobody's going to be hugging). But is this outdated? Do ladies stand, these days? Or would the sister stand? She's in her early twenties, if that matters;

The son nods to the ladies, then shakes his father's hand, then introduces his boyfriend;

The son starts with his mother, I'm pretty sure, but this is where I get confused (assuming I haven't already messed up with the top two ideas). Does he say 'Mom' or is he supposed to refer to her as he'd expect the boyfriend to refer to her? And then...what? Okay, the draft I have is: "Mom, this is Aaron. Aaron, my mother, Carol. And this is Caitlin, my sister, and my father, Dean."

But is that right? Because etiquette says you're supposed to introduce the 'inferior' to the 'superior', right? But then wouldn't the son have to say Aaron's name, like, three times? Is there an assumption that nobody's listening to anyone else's damned introduction? And does the daughter 'outrank' the dad just because she's female, or would it go mom, dad, sister?

Help?

citymouse
11-15-2010, 07:19 AM
Is anyone good at etiquette?

I have a character who was raised in the private boys' school (Canadian) environment, and say what you will about the morals of those boys (and I have quite a bit to say, unfortunately), I've found that they always know their manners. Me, on the other hand - a bit shaky.

So I want my private school character (he's about thirty, now) to be taking his boyfriend to meet his parents and sister in a hotel restaurant. The family is already there when the couple arrives.

My feeling is:

The father stands, the mother and sister stay seated (there's estrangement in the family, so nobody's going to be hugging). But is this outdated? Do ladies stand, these days? Or would the sister stand? She's in her early twenties, if that matters;

The son nods to the ladies, then shakes his father's hand, then introduces his boyfriend;

The son starts with his mother, I'm pretty sure, but this is where I get confused (assuming I haven't already messed up with the top two ideas). Does he say 'Mom' or is he supposed to refer to her as he'd expect the boyfriend to refer to her? And then...what? Okay, the draft I have is: "Mom, this is Aaron. Aaron, my mother, Carol. And this is Caitlin, my sister, and my father, Dean."

But is that right? Because etiquette says you're supposed to introduce the 'inferior' to the 'superior', right? But then wouldn't the son have to say Aaron's name, like, three times? Is there an assumption that nobody's listening to anyone else's damned introduction? And does the daughter 'outrank' the dad just because she's female, or would it go mom, dad, sister?

Help?

The estrangement puts a whole different slant on things. Try flipping it and put yourself in the parents position. What would they expect? Then follow that line.

In my world females remain seated. Men always stand to greet/met females or males, whether they are related or not.
Also, a man never offers his hand to a woman unless she offers hers first. No hard hand shakes. A slight grasp with a nod of the head is sufficient. When a woman rises, the men do too.
You don't say if this meeting takes place out of doors or not. If outside, and if the men are wearing gloves they remove them to shake hands. The women do not remove their gloves. This is especially true in any formal setting where men and women may be wearing gloves.

I would be introduced Aaron to the parents first:
"Aaron, I'd like you to meet my parents."
"Mom, Dad, this is Aaron."
[gesture to the sister] "And this is Caitlin."
We can assume Aaron already knows the family make up so introducing Caitlin as a sister is unnecessary.
C

mtrenteseau
11-15-2010, 07:57 AM
I'm trying to write this scene, and I'm coming up with some options.

My response is closer to Citymouse. You don't have to do the reflexive introduction ("Mom, this is Aaron. Aaron, this is Mom.") After you've said their names, it's up to them to say "how do you do" or whatever.

The order of hierarchy is Mom, Dad, Caitlin, Aaron. I'll assume that Caitlin is not in fact married to royalty, in which case she may supercede her parents.

The father wouldn't stand up until Aaron and the son were fairly close to the table, then he would shake his son's hand. Son has only a moment to introduce Aaron to the family before the father takes over his responsibility as host. So it's either:

"Mom, Dad, this is Aaron; my sister Caitlin, Aaron."

Or if the father speaks first:

"You must be Aaron. I'm [Firstname, Lastname], [son's] father. This is my wife, [Firstname] and [son's] sister Caitlin."

A person always introduces themselves with their full name. The person being addressed should assume the most formal response until (and unless) told otherwise.

"Pleased to meet you, Mr. and Mrs. [Lastname]."

If you want to avoid the question of whether the ladies should stand, or if their not standing means anything, but them in a booth or on a banquette where standing up would not be easy.

Captcha
11-15-2010, 03:50 PM
Excellent info - thanks!

(and, no, there's no royalty to complicate things, thankfully - I'm having enough trouble as it is!)