Tag Archives: romance

Hey! Are you talking to me?

on the phone marilyn

So, earlier today, I was chatting on the phone with one of my dear friends Sarah H-W. Sarah and I were engrossed in interesting and poignant topics, the likes of which women get drawn to when they should be busy doing something else, but can’t resist stealing some time to get some “girlfriend chatter” into the day. This can be as simple as a ten minute catch up, to swap advice and stories and make practical plans for forthcoming events, or it can develop into an altogether lengthier conversation, that requires a cup of tea, planting yourself in your favourite chair, and solving all life’s mysteries…

Mid-way through our conversation together, Sarah and I found ourselves addressing a nasty habit that we would (naturally) never do to another. It starts off innocently enough, of course. You’re on the phone with a friend, or anyone for that matter, and you’re both entirely focused and engaged in conversation……or so you think. Then all of a sudden, you can hear through your earpiece the click clack of a keyboard being used. Sarah and I agree…. this is very very rude. How can it not be rude? It sends a clear message that the other person is multitasking, and not giving you the undivided attention expected when making phone calls.

Where things got more complicated however, was our discussion around what might be the appropriate way to deal with this situation. Should you call them on it immediately by saying “hello, I can hear you typing…”?! Or would this seem a strange admonishment to one who thinks it perfectly acceptable to type and speak at the same time. Are these sorts of people  a different species, or have they simply not yet read “etqt-modern etiquette” to realise that others might disagree with their behaviour?

It got us thinking, then: just what type of multi-tasking is acceptable?

We came up with a very short list: when kids are involved, it’s important to keep children’s safety as a top priority, but that does not include allowing your child to interrupt you during a phone conversation just to tell you they want you to make them a sandwich.

Perhaps also acceptable is to proffer a caveat before starting a conversation: as a chef, I’m often baking when my phone rings. I may be putting cakes in the oven, or watching chocolate temper… If I see that a friend is calling, then I’m happy to chat, but will preface the conversation that I might be a tad distracted due to the cooking.

But what about the phone call from the car phone? I still haven’t decided if it’s rude, or just practical, to take, or make, calls from my car phone. It does offer a bit of “quiet time” when my day can be so filled with other distractions at work or at home. But on the other hand, it also sends a message that because I couldn’t fit you into busy day, so I’m just cramming you in whilst I’ve got nothing better to do. Rarely do I have long phone calls with friends when I’m driving, but I am definitely a culprit in calling my parents to work out family logistics, and absolutely use car phone to make most of my life’s appointments, including hair salons and doctors visits.

So, how do these differ from the phone call when you absolutely know that the person is doing something completely distracting… Is the message they are sending you that they don’t care enough about you to show the right etiquette? Or are they just believing that the modern world is full of multi-taskers like them and that there is nothing impolite, inconsiderate or discourteous about such behaviour? Or maybe, they actually believe that you can’t actually hear them typing anyway?

As with so many etiquette conundrums, it seems, there is no absolute consensus of opinion around multitasking. However, after some research (and discounting the obvious solution – to buy a silent keyboard  which merely makes the culprit more clever but no less devoid of etiquette!) I discovered the following “Do’s and Don’ts” from Good Phone Etiquette in the Home Office

When the telephone is your business lifeline, good phone manners count.

By Laureen Miles Brunelli, About.com Guide

  • Don’t read texts, email or instant messages while talking on the phone. If necessary close these programs or turn off your monitor, so you aren’t tempted to read.
  • Don’t type while on the phone. Your caller may be able to hear you typing.
  • Don’t multitask excessively when talking on the phone. This would include surfing the web while talking. You may be able to do some simple tasks that don’t involve reading or writing, but it’s better not to.
  • Do try to keep the caller on the subject at hand. Your attention is more likely to wander when your caller goes off on a tangent. Tactfully guide the subject back and/orend the call professionally.
  • Don’t allow others to interrupt you while you are on the phone. Other members of the household should know your ground rules regarding interruptions. Put the caller on hold briefly (and only one time) until you can give him or her your full attention.
  • Do ask to speak to the caller at a later time, setting a time for when you or the caller will phone again.

Today’s article is co-written by Sarah H-W and Ursula Z.

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All’s fair in love… except when you’re fighting!

fight fair

 

My boyfriend and I had our first fight. It doesn’t really matter what it was about, though, my happy readers, you will support me when I say that I was right, and he was very, very wrong. But this doesn’t actually matter for the sake of this article… what’s important is fighting fair, and with, of course, the right etiquette.

Romantic arguments are different to regular arguments with friends, colleagues and/or family. Romantic arguments tend to be loaded with expectations, and more precisely, not meeting expectations of each other and what we want, and need, in the most significant person in our lives. The person we want to trust with our deepest and darkest secrets and fears, and know that they will not use this knowledge to hurt us… but along the way there can be arguments that are much less weighty, and yet, can trigger painful emotions to surface, and depending on how you deal with that pain, it can, and often does, cause you to overreact and possibly lead to the break down of the relationship.

When people fight fair, then they can take emotion out, and realise that the cause of the argument rarely is the core of the problem.

Arguments, in themselves, are negative energy. That energy is triggered by many things, like fatigue, anxiety, being overwhelmed, dissatisfaction, loss, etc. The one thing they have in common, is that they are unhappy emotions, ie, not joyful. So, if your partner then behaves in a way that exacerbates your already weakened state, then it can only make things worse.

I’m sure you can think of many times your partner has said or done something that you thought was funny. But if you’re in a negative state, then you rarely find the humour in it.

So, how to fight fair in love? Well, the best thing to do is to try, yes, try, to present your argument as a discussion, not an assault. Present how the behaviour hurt you. It’s often that men, as is the case with my boyfriend, have no clue that they are being hurtful. I don’t really know how that happens, but I’ve heard it from so many of my girlfriends reporting that their partners are oblivious to their behaviour, that now I just consider it plausible.

Also, do try to take the emotion out of it. It’s difficult sometimes, yes, most of the time, but given that they are oblivious, then being rational and explaining the triggers and the effects tend to be enough. Going on and on about it normally makes them become cranky. So now they’re in the negative state.

It does seem that men only want to be told these things once… going over the same thing tends to make them deaf (another confirmation from my girlfriends), though, weirdly, it’s precisely because men continue to behave the same way that we actually do need to repeat ourselves… but therein lies the answer… they are deaf. Oh, dear.

Humour aside, Psych 101 clearly states that the only time to communicate so that you are really being heard is outside of an argument…. during quiet and relaxed moments.

So, etqt declares that the only real way to fight fair, is when you’re not fighting at all. So, what’s the point.

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“He loves me… He loves me not.”

he loves me he loves me not

I love flowers. And receiving them even more. They are a simple way of making the recipient feel special, whether for a special occasion or just because you can.

You will never offend anyone by sending flowers.

I recently celebrated a birthday. My daughter raced to the florist in the morning, and brought home a bunch of magnificent white lilies. I don’t care how many people say that they expect receiving them, it still makes you feel happy.

Today, Valentine’s Day, is collectively the one day where flowers outdo any other festive gift. It surpasses even the chocolate of Easter.

So, I thought it just apt to write about flowers, and what type of flower suits what type of occasion.

Roses, red roses in particular, are the flower of love. Though all roses denote love, the red rose symbolises romantic love.

Yellow roses are to be sent to friends or co-workers. Pink roses are more about a secret love. White roses are for an innocent love, for family or family occasions, or even for funerals.

I discovered that carnations are for young love, though I’d say that it’s far less common nowadays than in the eighties, when carnations were at the height of their popularity.

Daisies are for loyal love and ideal for Mother’s Day. And giving your daughter lilies seems to denote purity and sweetness. And chrysanthemums are for the bonding of friendship, though probably not ideal for romantic loves.

In the British Debrett’s Guide for the Modern Gentleman, 2009, reprinted 2012:

Flowers are the perfect impromptu present, but follow these basic guidelines to ensure that you get it right;

MIXED BOUQUETS can look cheap if they aren’t of a decent size and well-styled. Instead, buy just one type of bloom, or go for just one colour.

GREENERY is also important – it’s there to bulk up the bouquet and complement the flowers.

DON’T PANIC and just pick the first blooms you recognise. Consider her tastes and style. Classic or contemporary? Minimalist or vintage? Talk to the florist. Explain the style you’re after and the occasion.

BE PREPARED to spend – you can never economise on flowers.

BUY HER FLOWERS on her birthday, on Valentine’s Day on your anniversary and on no particular occasion.

USE THE CARD that accompanies the bouquet to its full potential. For example, include details of a surprise date: “See you in the bar of the ABC Hotel at 7pm”; tell her something you find hard to say: “Thank you for being there for me’; state the obvious: “I love you”/

NEVER ORDER cheap arrangements online; never buy bunches from the supermarket or the garage; never buy carnations or chrysanthemums (the kiss of death); never send flowers as an apology without some verbal backup.

If you want to offer flowers to the host of a dinner or party, it’s best to have the florist deliver them earlier in the day of the event, so that the host has time to arrange them, so as not to be distracted when her guests are arriving. As to the arrangement, it is ideal to ask the florist what is appropriate. They will arrange something either by colour and/or by what is available for that season. Of course your budget also is a big factor, but these days to send a lovely bouquet of flowers, you would be spending about $100 (Australia dollars, or USD). It’s very easy to spend more than this. You can check if the florist has pre-prepared arrangements, as they will tend to be a easier for the florist to pack, rather than arrange on site, and may have a reduced price by the end of the work day.

Online sites for flowers are also becoming very popular and easy to use, and terrific for ordering flowers as gifts for long-distance or international deliveries.

Or going to the local flower markets is always fun, and something of a novelty if you get up early to see the action.

I once picked lavender in a field and was heady from the scents and had to mind all the bees swarming around the pollen. It was lovely to make my own lavender pouches for my dresser drawers.

If my partner came over with a bunch of flowers he picked himself, either from the flower market, or even just as he was walking home by the side of the road, I would be tickled pink… or red. But really, any colour would be wonderful.

Happy Valentine’s Day from the romantics at ETQT.

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Keeping your own secret garden

secret garden

In France young ladies are taught by their mothers and grandmothers about decorum. We learn about seduction by watching other women behave. We watch how they tilt their head a certain way, how they sit with their legs crossed at an angle, and how poised they are, when engaging in the art of flirtation. This may seem old world, but if you observe the interaction between men and women in France, or most European countries, you will notice the seduction plays out before your eyes.

One thing that does not happen, and will never happen, is to share everything with your mate. Even if a woman is with her partner for life, she will keep some secrets, le jardin secret (fr), from her mate. These things will include things like farting, shaving, plucking hairs from unfortunate places. These secrets do not limit themselves to physical things either. They can include past secrets, yes, the obvious past lovers, where such history could directly interfere with the success of your current relationship. It can also be some things about herself that she shares with no-one at all, a book of poems that she needs to keep private, a talent that she doesn’t want to share.

Some of these can be embarassing, or humiliating, or if divulged could affect the outcome in the new relationship.

One of the most wondrous experiences a couple can share is to know without a doubt that the bond of the affection is solid, and yet that they each have secrets that neither need to know, as it won’t affect their love and it actually makes you feel strong.

Mystery is powerfully attractive. Sometimes knowing someone too well also breeds over-confidence and, sadly, complacency in your relationship.
It’s a fine line to have the confidence of a solid romantic relationship, without knowing absolutely everything about them.

Leave some mystery.

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and God created woman (part 1)

and god created woman

Prior to creating woman, there was only man. One man. He had no need for leadership, or competition, or ego. He was alone. With only nature to sustain and entertain him. So why then was woman created? Why not just hermaphrodites? Sometimes I ask myself this question. What were we, women, destined for? And what, you may ask, has etiquette got to do with it?

Well, I think that women have been designed to soften this world. It’s all in our physical make up. We are softer, we have curves, we are built to carry life within us, and even built to feed that life when it’s first born.

We are not the same, nor should try to be. And yet, yes, we are equal. We all know that women are pretty much capable of doing everything a man can do, and more. Biologically speaking that is.

The question of etiquette here is really about accepting our differences, and embracing them with elegance and respect, and consideration to our fellow man. Offering him up a warm shoulder to rest his head upon when he realises that for all his physical strength and bravado, we are here to share the joys and happiness of the great adventure in romance.

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Be mine!

kiss

It’s been quite a while since I have actively engaged in romantic behaviour for Valentine’s day. During my teenage years, when I fancied the popular, handsome boy, who I never actually had the courage to talk to, I thought it would be fitting to send him a Valentine’s message. I was more mortified of being caught out than actually using my creative juices to declare my affections and doodle a romantic image of my heart entwined with his.

Now, with Valentine’s looming, I started wondering what is the correct behaviour for our modern romantic day? Is it as simple as buying a Hallmark card, and waiting to have the reciprocal card back, along with a restaurant date, a box of chocolates or a bunch of roses?

I have always thought that a relationship with two individuals is in itself individual and unique. So there really shouldn’t be a set formula that garners romance with food, flowers and a pre-fabricated card.

Etiquette does dictate that sentiment and timing play a big part of Valentine’s Day. If you’re in a new relationship, it’s the perfect time to share with your partner how much you care – which sometimes is awkward in the early days. When you have been seeing each other for several months, it’s a way to highlight how much you cherish them. And during long term relationships, when life, children, work and all the other time consuming distractions can make less time for your relationship, it’s clearly a time to bond.

For me, i think it is least about the giving of physical things like flowers or chocolates, or going out on a date… as all these things I hope to perform regularly with him, it’s more about sharing with him why the uniqueness of your relationship also has affection, warmth and caring. It’s a time when you can think of things that make him feel valued and loved. Like surprising him with tickets to his favourite football game, when he knows that it’s not really your thing. Or organising a masseuse to your home to treat your lovely girlfriend or wife because you know how much she loves them.

I believe that the possessions we give are always less precious than the experiences we share.

But then again, the feeling you get when sending a token of affection to the unknowing man, never to be revealed. That still makes me feel like the giddy teenager.

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Dating (and) your mobile phone

couple-texting

So, there are two parts to this story, one about a relationship that only exists thanks to your mobile phone, and the one that shouldn’t even figure on a date.

I know that all you single guys and girls, and those who have been single in the past 15 years (does that mean 90% of the population?), can attest to waiting for the text message or response from an interesting other. Yes, you know the way it goes;

You 7pm: “Thanks for a terrific time last night”

Him 10am: “Yes, it was fun”

You 10:45am: “We should do it again some time?”

Him (2 days later) 3pm: “Love to”

This is a brush off. You may interpret it as anything other than a brush off… but nonetheless, it is. He is potentially going to contact you at a later date for a hook up (if hook up means sex). But he is not interested in you for a romantic loving relationship. If he was, he would do any, or all, of the following things:

1) use the phone as it was originally invented by Alexander Graham Bell to talk with you;

2) call you to see if you had a good time together;

3) make an appointment to see you again;

4) want you to feel special.

My fella and I went on our first date, and though we went to a very special restaurant by the harbour overlooking the magnificent views of Sydney, and had a very relaxed meal getting to know each other by chatting about our respective lives, there really was one slightest moment when I felt the hook of affection grab me. As we walked out the restaurant, he paused, and asked me, “Have you had a nice time tonight?” It was the simplest question, and yet it struck me that he showed concern that I had enjoyed his company. It was the smallest sign of vulnerability that he shared, and I reflected that if he hadn’t shown it, I would have found him rather indifferent and detached.

Don’t get me wrong, I am glad that he has a healthy ego and displays confidence. But the detachment that single men, and women, display when dating makes me wonder why they date at all? When did romance become so wrought with bravado and wariness that displaying warmth and desire gets confused with dependency and neediness?

I digress… the point here being, showing someone that you enjoyed their company should not be done by text, it should be done face to face, or at the very least by phone. And by the same token, asking someone if you can see each other again should not be by text. Your relationship is not with your phone. It is with a real person. It is a little nuanced, but text messages in early stages of relationships, especially in dating, should only have practical content, not be emotionally loaded. A text to confirm a time or place is acceptable. A text to state that you’re running five minutes late is also acceptable. But a text asking “Are we ok?” is far too loaded. Not only will the recipient feel cornered, but you will also feel weakened by the cry out.

Know this, people will always behave the only way they can. That means, if a person doesn’t fancy another, he can’t force himself to care. If he doesn’t care, then he will do things that display that lack of affection, ie, he will not call.

The shoe fits for both sexes. It’s not unusual for me to cease communicating with a man if I don’t feel a warm connection. It’s not that I’m particularly heartless when I’m disinterested, it’s just that I don’t want to encourage them or send the wrong message. Yes, if I cared, I’d communicate. I don’t mean that I’d send messages all day, every day, but the messages would leave no doubt that the person mattered. Yes, I’d pick up the phone and make a call.

Onto the more practical part of this article, when is it acceptable to use your mobile phone on a date?

The short answer is, as you already know, it’s unacceptable to use your phone on a date.

If, for example, you have children, or are “on call” due to your profession, then it’s polite to let your date know, and then ask him/her if they won’t mind if your phone is accessible. I’ve yet to meet a person who would deny such a request.

You should always leave your phone screen visible, as you don’t want your date to think that you’re hiding the identity of your caller. And should you be expecting such a call, then leave your phone in your bag, and make the ring tone just loud enough to hear it. Yes, be polite. Your date will appreciate your mobile phone etiquette.

Should your phone ring, then it is polite to leave the table and take your call in the restaurant lobby or in a more discreet place. Our old world had powder rooms in the toilets, and it might be time to reinstate them to give us a venue to rush off our text messages and upload and download.

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Public displays of affection… or publicity?

pda1

Touching… one of the great senses, along with sight, sound, taste and smell. Who doesn’t like to be touched? I love it. And also enjoy to feel the flesh of others against mine. It’s not only a sensually intimate thing, it’s as simple as the warmth of a familiar hug always makes me feel good.

I like the endearing feeling I have when I see others holding hands, or hugging. The vision of people embracing at the airport arrival hall is one that I find so affective, and makes me warm inside, even though I’m witnessing total strangers share their love and happiness.

To watch an elderly couple holding hands makes me think of the long, loving relationship that they have shared, with enough romance and exclusive connection that they can lock hands whilst strolling, for the world to see. Rare is a love that displays this longevity, affection and solidarity.

Having said that, there are definitely limits to how much I’d like to witness of a couple’s physical intimacy.

I’ve had giddy love in my youth. One that would make me behave inappropriately in public. My hope was to be told to “get a room!”

So, when are displays of affection acceptable, and when are they publicity?

There are definitely times when you share a warm moment with your partner, and without even knowing it, you innocently reach over and stroke his face, or share a loving hug. Even a kiss.

But these simple, innocent, fleeting moments of affection are very different from the groping, tongue lashing, lap dancing displays that we occasion to see around us. Of course, mostly seen by couples who are loosened by alcohol or more. But there are also those couples who confuse affection with decorum.

Romance is between two people, no-one else. If you look closely at very loving couples, you will know that they are a couple, even if they are not standing together. That quality of bond and caring that they share is exclusive and vital. I know that the eye locking between me and my partner in a crowded room can make me go weak at the knees. That kind of intimacy and affection is more powerful than anything that I will share with others. No need to publicise.

Yes, I admit that if my partner strokes the small of my back whilst I’m talking with a friend, it sends electricity through me. Just as his breath on my neck when we’re queuing at an ice cream stand. But our restraint adds to our romance and heightens our intimacy.

If you absolutely must take your physical affection outside your romantic sanctuary, then follow the following guidelines by keeping away from children, away from restaurants, or where you may block another’s path, and above all, no straddling. Unless of course you’re under one of Paris’s famous Seine River bridges where anything goes, especially if you’re in little else than high heels and a trench coat. But that’s another topic altogether.

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