These poor manners and actions of some are shore to ruin a good beach day. Don't let this be you!
The Negligent Neighbors . . .
Even though space on the beach can sometimes be tight, these annoying neighbors never notice that they spread out right on top of your towel. There might be a few inches of golden sand peeking out between the towels, but this is not enough to give people the privacy or elbow room they deserve. Personal space is sacred for many people; be mindful of others around you.
The Sandman . . .
This is the guy who wanders off the beach with wet feet, coated in a thick layer of sand, and then walks up to the hotel, leaving a trail of abrasive crumbs behind. Or, even worse, the person will jump into a nearby pool, depositing all that sand at the bottom of the pool – an unwelcome surprise for other swimmers! Beach-side establishments usually have showers readily available to prevent this mess; use them!
The Oblivious Swimmers . . .
The Oblivious Swimmers jump into the water with a blatant disregard for the posted warning signs. Whether it’s a strong riptide, high populations of jellyfish, or inclement weather, nothing stops these Swimmers from their splashing. Respect the signs and the warnings from lifeguards; they’re there for a reason!
The DJ . . .
DJs certainly love their music, and they make sure that the rest of the beach enjoys it too. However, not everyone shares their passion for the techno music genre. Sound travels easily on the beach, so keep volumes low or invest in a good set of fashionable headphones.
The Exhibitionists . . .
We’ve all seen these types of Beachgoer; they make sure that we do. The Exhibitionists wear skimpy swimsuits or get too comfortable with their significant others on the beach. Beaches are public places – so save the string bikinis and loving kisses for private.
The Dust Devil . . .
Nothing is worse than getting an unexpected face-full of sand when these Sandstorms decide to shake out their towels. They’ll also whip up sand by running through dunes or wearing flip-flops through the sand. When cleaning off your sitting space, make sure that the sand returns to the beach.
The Beach Bully . . .
The Beach Bully is the worst kind of beachgoer. They needlessly destroy sandcastles, throw their trash onto the beach or into the water, and even steal beach furniture and chairs. This type of behavior does not need an explanation of why this is improper etiquette. They might be on a well-deserved break, but kindness and consideration for others never go on vacation!
It is truly interesting to trace our everyday behaviors – many of which we don’t give a second thought – back to their origins.
The earliest record of social practices may be found in the 3rd millennium BC in the writings of the Egyptian writer Ptahhote. Then came Confucius and on to King Louis XIV.
While some of the customs from long ago have remained fixtures in our modern society, there are many that have faded into obscurity and for good reason.
We have uncovered the explanations behind some of today’s common customs that managed to stick around.
Shaking hands is a common greeting. But do you have any clue who started it or why we continue to do it?
Dating back to Ancient Greece this greeting was a sign of equality and mutual respect.
It replaced bows and curtsies, while also serving as proof that both parties came unarmed.
In medieval Europe, the handshake became a powerful symbol of the bond between husband and wife. It was the final gesture of wedding ceremonies.
Today the handshake still represents respect and is seen as a welcoming gesture.
We use it in business and social interactions, but not so much in marriages.
Here in the United States, when someone sneezes, “Bless you” will often be heard immediately after.
It’s almost as much of a reflex as sneezing itself.
It is a rather strange custom if you think about it. We don’t acknowledge any other bodily functions with such dignity.
So how did this response originate?
The Greeks and Romans viewed it as a sign of wellness – a means of expelling bad spirits from the body – and would routinely offer blessings unto the sneezer.
However, centuries later, widespread fears brought on by the outbreak of the bubonic plague in 1330 cast suspicion on the sneeze.
Pope Gregory VII called on the people of Europe to utter a short prayer, “Bless you”, after every sneeze to protect against the sickness.
And there you have it!
“Don’t put your elbows on the table!”
The origin of this classic motherly adage dates back to medieval times. Feasts were held in great halls and hundreds of people would eat together at long wooden tables.
While the food was often plentiful, space was not.
Furthermore, when dining in the presence of the lords and ladies of the realm, it was deemed “peasant-like” to hunch over one’s plate, guarding the food from others.
The act gave off an aura of distrust, and has since become a commonly repeated rule.
After a toast, it is tradition to clink glasses with fellow diners.
This iconic act of celebration comes from a morbid past. It was started with the intention of spilling a little of the other person’s drink into your own to demonstrate that neither party had poisoned the other’s glass.
The clink was a sign of good will, a feeling that has endured to today.
How We Hold Our Utensils
As all of our ASP grads know, there is a stark difference in dining styles once you cross the Atlantic.
In the United States, a “Zig-Zag” method is used, while our European neighbors predominantly eat “Continental.”
It is surprising to learn that the traditional European method was in fact this American style.
The modern dining divide resulted when British colonists sailed across the Atlantic, bringing their multi-step cutting method to the New World.
The colonists retained this dining style, but back in Europe, the Industrial Revolution brought a faster pace of life that left little room for the niceties and courtesies of the previous era, leading to the more streamlined Continental style.
If you enjoyed reading about the history of etiquette, then be sure to check out this article from National Geographic How Table Manners as We Know Them Were a Renaissance Invention.
At The American School of Protocol®, we are fortunate to host students from around the world during each Etiquette Certification Training class. This month, we had attendees from Canada, China, Bahamas, India, The Virgin Islands, and the states! What a wonderful opportunity to share our individual cultures and traditions during a week of exciting etiquette education.
There are many simple ways to broaden your cultural knowledge: Seek out an unfamiliar ethnic restaurant each month. Focus on local hangouts when traveling, as opposed to popular sightseeing destinations. Read books by authors of different nationalities. Attend a worship service other than your own. Regularly share a meal with someone from another nationality. Any and all of these simple steps can promote understanding and appreciation among the many cultures that make up the world in which we live.
SCROLL DOWN TO SEE THE ANSWERS
1. Over 6000 different languages are spoken throughout the world.
TRUE: Approximately 6,500 languages are spoken around the world.
2. Aloo Gobi is a popular Vietnamese food.
FALSE: Aloo gobi is a vegetarian Indian dish made with potatoes, cauliflower and Indian spices.
3. One of the Five Pillars of Islam is called zakat and means almsgiving.
TRUE: The five pillars of the Islamic faith are shahada (confession of faith), salat (prayer), zakat (almsgiving), sawm (fasting, especially during the month of Ramadan), and hajj (the pilgrimage to Mecca).
4. English is the most common language spoken in the world today.
FALSE: The most common language in the world is Chinese with 1,197,000,000 speakers. This is followed by Spanish (414,000,000) and English (335,000,000).
5. The currency of Nigeria is the Naira.
TRUE: One (1) Nigerian Naira = .00315 US Dollar
6. If you keep Kosher, shrimp is on your menu.
FALSE: The term ‘Kosher’ refers to biblical laws governing which foods a Jewish person may eat and their preparation. Only fish with fins and scales are allowed, such as tuna, salmon, and herring. Shellfish such as shrimp, crab, mussels, and lobster are forbidden.
7. In Nepal, you could greet someone with the word “Salaam”.
FALSE: ‘Salaam’ is from the Persian language (also known as Farsi). You could greet someone this way in Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, as well as parts of Uzbekistan and Bahrain.
8. Christianity is the most commonly practiced religion in the world.
TRUE: Christianity is the largest form of organized religions in the world with approximately 2.1 billion believers. It is followed by Islam (1.3 billion).
9. In Korea, it is considered impolite to hold the bowl of soup or rice with your hands.
TRUE: Holding the rice bowl with your hands is acceptable in in other Asian countries like China or Japan, but not in Korea. Another tip for dining in Korea: wait for the oldest person to sit down before taking your seat.
10. The United States has the most educated populace in the world.
FALSE: Over 50% of Canada’s population has been educated at the post-secondary level, making it the most highly educated country in the world. Canada is followed by Israel (45%) and Japan (44%).
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Traveling can be one of the most rewarding and enjoyable experiences. If underprepared and unsure of the region’s customs, it can also be a very stressful time for you and annoying for those around you. Read on for how not to be mistaken for an "Ugly American".
•Before you decide to jet off to a country, do your research. Learn as much about the culture and people before you arrive. If you do not speak the language, learn a few key phrases and invest in a translation app or book.
•Money makes all trips possible. So before you make landfall, be sure you are aware of the currency used by the country you will be visiting. Typically, if you exchange your money before you arrive, you will be able to avoid a higher currency exchange fee. Banks offer this service for a small fee or even free.
•Traveling to a different country means long flights and little leg room. If you have been on a plane in the last decade, then you know that your personal space on a plane is decreasing as you read this.
•Airlines are trying to figure out how to add more passengers onto every flight, so it is really important to respect other’s space. Have your luggage neatly tucked away and leave as much room as possible for others. Just because you have someone sitting next to you, that does not mean that you have an open invitation to talk to them. Respect other’s privacy and make sure that if you are in a conversation that it’s mutual.
•When you arrive at your destination, most likely you will need a taxi to take you from point A to point B. If you encounter a reckless taxi driver and you feel unsafe, immediately ask the driver to pull over and let you out. Do not yell at the driver, but record the car number and get out safely. Once you are out, call the company and let them know about the awful experience.
•One of the greatest joys in traveling to new countries is the chance to take in the sites. Respect the fact that these sites hold an enormous historical and cultural value and should be left as you found them. Don’t carve your initials on anything or leave litter for someone else to pick up. When the museum says “No Pictures”, please obey and put your camera away.
•Dining out is definitely something that you will be doing. Know what the culture’s dining customs are and what times are set aside for lunch and dinner. Or is it called supper? What local cuisine should be a “must a try”?
•If you end up disrespecting the culture or their food, it is highly likely that you will be labeled as an “Ugly American”. If you want to learn more about dining styles abroad click here.
•If the menu is in a different language or you do not recognize certain dishes offered, then ask. It is ok to be unsure. When asked politely, most wait staff persons are so happy to help.
•Every country has a different policy in regards to tipping. Do yourself a favor and do research on the tipping customs and the percentage that is customary to that country.
•If you happen to run into some inconsiderate neighbors in your hotel, take the appropriate actions. If the problem escalates, call the manager on duty and have them resolve the problem or get you a new room. Avoid taking matters into your own hand, which usually intensifies the problem.
•It is also important to know about the government and laws. Not every country is a democracy and laws can vary drastically in different nations.
For years, we have been known as the "Ugly American.” It is an image that we, unfortunately, deserve. Please keep these tips in mind next time you travel and do your best to show kindness and consideration for all people you meet. Be a “Role Model American” not an "Ugly American".
No matter if you live in a big city or small town, there are certain rules of the road that apply to everyone. People on the road are all trying to get from point A to point B in the fastest, safest way. Here are a few tips to keep in mind while on the road.
Follow Speed Limits: Not only is it too dangerous to speed but it is also dangerous to travel too slowly. If you speed, you put yourself and others at risk. Not only is it illegal, but traveling too fast can cause a car accident. Driving too slow can create problems for merging and for traffic. A speed limit is in place to help regulate the flow of a large amount of cars. Do your duty and obey the sign!
Avoid Distractions: Being distracted can easily happen in the car, especially with children, radio, cell phones, food, etc. The purpose of driving is exactly that… to drive! Save all the distractions for another time, do not risk your safety or getting a fine by driving distracted. Always keep your eye on the road.
Stay Off the Horn: The purpose of a horn is not to constantly use it. The horn is only supposed to be used to alert other cars in times of need. If you are sitting in traffic do not lay on your horn at the people in front of you. Honking is not going to speed up traffic, be patience and leave the beeping for real times of need.
Use Your Signal: Using your signal before you turn is extremely helpful to drivers behind you. The signal allows for the driver to slow down and to brake within a reasonable time. Turning without the use of a signal can result in a rear end collision or a serious case of road rage. In many states, it is illegal to change lanes without giving a signal.
Volume Control: There is nothing better than getting in your car and blasting your favorite music and singing at the top of your lungs, but there is a fine line between too loud and enjoyable. Other cars should not be able to feel their body and car shaking from your bass or music. Always keep your volume at an appropriate level so that does not affect other drivers or even your own hearing.
Left Lane= Passing Lane: Day after day we see people on the highway making this mistake. The only purpose of this lane is to move around cars going at a slower pace, and for the use of emergency vehicles. Avoid this lane unless you have to pass a slow car.
Next time you are on the road, abide by these helpful etiquette tips. Remember to drive safe!
In the news we are constantly hearing stories about fights and disagreements on airplanes. Recently, a plane landed due to a dispute between two passengers over reclining in a seat. Their argument quickly escalated from an exchange of words to objects being thrown. Airplane etiquette has become a hot topic due to limited passenger space between seats. Here are a few ways to avoid an airplane disagreement.
Armrests: Typically in a three-person seating arrangement, the person in the middle has the right to both armrests. In a two-person seating arrangement each person has one armrest all to themselves and the other armrest is considered shared. Whoever first claims that armrest has the right to the armrest; typically people take turns in who has claim over it.
Reclining Seats: If you are going to recline your chair, look behind you first to see how much room you have. While reclining, make sure to go back slowly so you do not scare the person behind or abruptly disrupt them. Also, when you are trying to get out of your seat, please don’t grab the headrest in front of you for leverage, This can cause surprise and discomfort to the passenger in front of you.
Carry- On Luggage: Make sure the amount of carry-on luggage you bring does not exceed the airplane’s limit. Before you get on the plane try to consolidate any extra shopping/ food bags you may have acquired. This allows smoother travel for yourself and others.
Personal Hygiene: Remember that a flight is a tight compact space. Always be aware of your body odor. If possible, eat smelly foods before the flight rather than on board. Keep up with personal hygiene before you board the plane, and avoid using too much perfume. Make sure to wear your shoes at all times, taking off your socks and shoes can give off a pungent smell to the passengers around you.
Headphones: Headphones can make a flight more enjoyable, however it is important to remember two things. First, if you are wearing headphones make sure that the music can only be heard by you. Secondly, if you see a person using headphones, respect their space and quiet and allow them to rest.
Keep these tips in mind next time you travel, to ensure a peaceful and pleasant traveling experience!
Omironke Iwayemi, our Children's Etiquette certification graduate of July 2009, came to us from Nigeria. For the five-course formal dinner, Omironke wore her beautiful native dress, making a unique and gorgeous statement.
Margaret Hutchinson, from Queensland Australia, attended our November 2009 Etiquette Certification program. We enjoyed hearing that etiquette and civility were in just as urgent need in the great "down under" as it is here in the USA.
The American School of Protocol® is honored to see our unique Children's Etiquette Curriculum reaching an international audience. Kudos to all of our graduates, both here in the States and abroad!
One of our favorite towns on Lake Como is Varenna. The different colors of the houses perched on the steep hillside remind me of Bermuda - not the terrain, just the colors. Along the shoreline is a beautiful walkway called "Lover's Lane". Cafes dot the streets and every eatery has a lake view in site. The narrow passages between the buildings take you up to the shopping areas. This photo had 123 steps to reach the top. With that kind of exercise, it really did not matter how many gelatos you had each day. Steve and I actually lost weight on the trip. Varenna is so very beautiful.