Ask the Manners Guy

The Manners Guy answers your questions about whining about wine and avoiding your neighbors' baby pictures — all with impeccable manners, of course.

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Coupe de Swill

I brought an expensive bottle to a dinner party. The host thanked me, put it away, and opened a bottle of el cheapo chardonnay. What’s the best way to hint that you’d like to drink the wine you brought? —Dale, St. Louis

Ah, the old vino switcheroo. If you truly can’t stomach a few glasses of the cheap stuff before moving on to your precious petite Syrah, you’ve got to be bold. Upon setting foot in your host’s home, announce your bottle and — in the same breath — ask for a wine key so you can get the party started. If this critical window of time passes you by, scan the appetizers for something that, you will claim, pairs beautifully with your wine offering. You’d better be able to back it up with an explanation of the delicate notes.

Grandpaparazzi

I live in a retirement community, and I’m sick of hearing about everyone’s wonderful grandkids. If I see one more “cute” baby picture, I’m going to scream.  —Mandy, Indianapolis

Smartphones are a blessing and a curse. There is seemingly no limit to the amount of banal, out-of-focus snapshots that can fit in those things. There is one magic phrase you can use when you feel the deluge of show-and-tell coming on: “I’ve seen those,” followed up with something like “adorable!” Odds are that they’ve also shared their pictures on Facebook, and subjecting you to them again would be downright cruel. If they are cruel (or just clueless) and won’t back off, whip out your own device and give them a play-by-play of your recent cruise to Cuba. Sometimes you have to play hardball with these people.

The Manners Guy is a former bartender who knows his way around awkward social situations. Send your questions to [email protected].

This article is featured in the September/October 2019 issue of The Saturday Evening Post. Subscribe to the magazine for more art, inspiring stories, fiction, humor, and features from our archives.

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