Q. A friend of mine says you're supposed to wear a name tag on the left side to make it easy for someone to steal a look at it while the two of you are shaking hands. I say the right side is better -- for the same reasons. Who is correct? Also, how important does a person have to be to decide not to wear a name tag?
A. People who are shaking hands will find it easier to read name tags pinned on each other's right shoulders, because that is the direction in which they are naturally heading if they follow their right hands. Social kissing, however, begins with the left cheek (some people go on to do right cheek afterward and others do not; passions and customs vary), and therefore kissers find it easier to read name tags pinned on the left.
What people are doing kissing strangers whose names they do not know is another question, but Miss Manners is aware that this occasionally happens at conventions, and at least would like it done correctly.
The more important the person, the more important it is to wear a name tag, so as not to seem to presume to be universally recognized. To say, "I'm Richard Nixon and I live in New York," or "My name is Gerald Ford and I used to work for the government" isn't only charmingly modest, but it avoids the embarrassment of being asked "Are you new around here, too?" b
Unimportant people should wear name tags if they wish to aspire to such noblesse oblige.
Q. I'll be hosting a large cocktail party during convention week in Detroit because of my husband's various connections and affiliations. Problem: I'm a Democrat -- in fact, I'll be a delegate to our convention in New York. Any advice on how to throw a great party while remaining true to my party? And, do Republicans have any sense of humor at all about being referred to as "all you fat cats?"
A. Let us establish the proper order of your conflicting loyalties. Duty to party and duty to husband are all very well in their place, but you have a nobler duty here, and that is the duty to hospitality and good manners. You must not insult your guests. Many Republicans consider it an insult to be presumed to have a sense of humor.
Q. How do they dress for dinner in Detroit?
A. Gentlemen: One pants leg at a time; ladies: one sleeve at a time.
Q. I am planning to sleep with a Republican I know only vaguely, but am concerned about what to wear in his hotel room. Should I change into something more comfortable, like a fancy negligee, or wear my usual T-Shirt and panties? I'm more accustomed to radlib etiquette. (signed) Willing to change with the times.
A. It is rather a new nuance of etiquette, but an important one, to dress so as not to compromise a gentleman in his own hotel room. The most considerate costume would be the hotel uniform, so that if there are unexpected visitors, you could appear to be making the bed.
Q. Is it rude to fall asleep during all those speeches? (signed) Bored.
A. People who are unable to sleep with their eyes open do not belong at political events.