A Question of Etiquette: Man-sitting

Is it okay for men to cross their legs when seated, and if so, in which direction do they cross them?

Yes, it’s fine for men to cross their legs when seated, in either direction, with both legs perpendicular to the floor. Leg-crossing with one leg parallel to the floor, where the ankle of one leg rests on the knee of the other, is generally fine, but it takes up more room so should only be done when the exposed shoe sole won’t be in the way or touching someone else.


A good friend is being married this weekend at a remote destination. She explained that only their siblings and parents would be in attendance, but that there would be a more local, belated reception in a couple of months. That was fine with all of us, her closest friends, because travel to the island where they are being married would have been a huge expense, and we do want to celebrate with her at the party. But we have just received an invitation to a shower the same weekend as the reception. Is this acceptable?

No. The general rule is that only those people invited to the wedding may be invited to a shower held before the wedding. That same rule holds true for a shower after the wedding. A belated reception is fine when the ceremony guests are only immediate family, or even when most family and friends cannot attend a destination wedding. Guests generally send or take gifts if they haven’t already, but a shower or any other gifting occasions is not fine. How you respond is up to you, of course, but after the wedding, a shower is one event too many and you can send your regrets in response to the invitation if you wish.


My wife and I have a disagreement on this but we agreed that we would abide by your answer. When someone, like a friend of our daughter’s, enters our house, who says hello first? I think the friend should. My wife thinks we should. What do you think?

When a guest enters your house, you rise to greet him or her. The same goes when you are part of a group and a new person enters. You extend the first greeting and welcome. In the case of your daughter’s friends, if she answers the door, she should bring her friend to you and say, “Mom, Dad, Tom is here.” You would immediately greet Tom and then, hopefully, he would respond by saying hello to you.


My husband’s parents belittle my job. They seem to really believe it is not stressful and that it’s easy. This hurts my feelings. Can I say something?

Sure. Tell them directly that it hurts your feelings and ask if you can tell them about just one week in your life on the job so that they might understand. If they continue to make comments, tell them again that they upset you with their assumptions.

Questions for Catherine? Send them to michaels.catherine@yahoo.com