Spiral staircases in medieval castles are running clockwise. This is because all knights used to be right-handed. When the intruding army would climb the stairs they would not be able to use their right hand which was holding the sword because of the difficulties of climbing the stairs. Left-handed knights would have had no troubles, except left-handed people could never become knights because it was assumed that they were descendants of the devil.

Extending an open right hand in greeting is a carryover from medieval times when a knight would show his empty sword hand to indicate he was unarmed.

However, left-handedness is not an illness. I see hosts place left handed people at the end of the table because they apparently need extra room – For What? Western style of eating is a two-handed job. You do not play the piano with just your left hand, or shift car gears with your left hand, or shake hands with your left hand because you are left-handed. The knife is always in your right hand, and your elbows close to your body, whatever-handed you are. There is no reason to treat a left handed person like if he had some handicap. The average IQ is anything but lower.

What if there are no utensils? The biggest etiquette faux pas I made was at an Ethiopian restaurant. There were five of us. We ordered five different dishes. The food arrived, all five servings on the same big platter. Underneath was the njara – a kind of pizza-pita doughy very slim soft not-full-baked bread. The correct way to eat is to tear off a bit of the njara with three fingers of the right hand, and use it to scoop up a bit of food. Eat, and repeat the action. Well, I was the only non-Ethiopian person in the restaurant, and I know they were watching to see if I liked their food. In I dove with my left hand – followed by absolute silence. What went through my mind was: do I have enough cash on me to reorder all five dishes?

Can’t stress this enough – the moment you leave Europe:
Right hand = good hand.
Left hand = sinister hand.

 

Workshops

Saturday, April 12, 2014
9:00a.m. to 4:30p.m.
Adult International Etiquette – $295.00
100 Dowling Avenue, Toronto

Saturday, May 3, 2014
10:00am to 12:00pm
Kidiquette – $40.00
100 Dowling Avenue, Toronto

Saturday, May 10, 2014
9:00am to 3:00pm
Teen Etiquette – $140.00
100 Dowling Avenue, Toronto

To register, please email adeodata@businessofmanners.com

 

What People Are Saying

I loved your newsletter about lateness. To be honest, I’ve been guilty of being late on many occasions. I’m so busy and I’m always trying to fit so much in so little time that I seem to be running late all the time. Your newsletter made me realize that lateness has negative impact on others. And that is not a good thing. Now that I’ve read your newsletter, it will never happen again. Thank you!
- Alexandra Senza

I’m going to use that article! My class will see it’s not just me!
- Heather Chetwynd

This was a good read and one that should be taken seriously!
I try very hard to instill in my children the importance of being tardy.
- Rick Hurst

Liked your latest Newsletter, Adeodata, they are always thought provoking
My mother would always get us to church late and then sit in the balcony where, it seemed, the disapproving eyes of the entire congregation were upon us. It affected me in a positive way I suppose: I make every effort to arrive early for meetings, airplane departures and the like yielding only occasionally to the need to be ‘fashionably late’ to Art gallery openings and such.
- Clive Lewis

Am I glad to see that you have addressed this issue. Constant Lateness is a pet peeve of mine. When I’m presiding at our Church services I begin right on 10.30 regardless of how many people are in Church. I agree that being constantly late is a total disrespect to others. If I’m told that I’m being picked up by someone say between 10 – 10.30 I’m usually ready for 10. Thanks so much for this – it is so needed. Can I use it in my next Newsletter – I’ll give you the credit, of course.
- Dawn Clarke

As always, excellent advise. Thank you for sending it.
Heidy Lawrance
- WeMakeBooks.ca

Thank you for the newsletters. They are very informative, and definitely an enjoyable read!
- Shirley Zheng

Good stuff. Really worth reading.
- Erik

Thanks for the great tips. “Wheels up” looks very effective but expensive!
- Promod Sharma

As usual a great piece!
- Patti McGuigan