Posts Tagged ‘party etiquette’
March 21, 2014 | by Sadie Stein
March 21st was my maternal grandparents’ wedding anniversary; they were married in 1946 in Silver Spring, Maryland, my grandmother’s hometown. As a child I loved to pore over the Silver Spring Standard wedding notice in her scrapbook, which contained lines like, “The church was massed with spring blossoms, a fitting setting for the exquisite beauty of the bride herself, in her ethereal white marquisette gown and flowing lace.” (“TERRIBLE write-up,” my grandmother had written in the margins.)
What struck me lately, as I reread the notice yet again, was the range of tasks assigned to the wedding guests. The maid of honor and best man were duly accounted for, but there was also this: “Mrs. Elizabeth McLean presided at the coffee urn and Miss Mary Roberts at the punch bowl.”
A cursory Internet search shows that this was indeed a thing: if you google “presided over punch bowl” or “presided over coffee urn,” you’ll come across a raft of vintage wedding and party notices, all of which describe the dispensing of beverages. What I really wanted to know is, was this duty—which sounds dull, potentially messy, and interminable—considered an honor, or was it a sort of booby prize for extra relatives? “Presides” has a regal ring, but the task itself sounds akin to light drudgery. Read More »
July 27, 2010 | by Natalie Jacoby
Super Sad True Love Story switches between letters, diary entries, and dialogues. Why did you choose these formats?
Well, you know, it’s sort of hard to read an entire book cover to cover these days. Most people just don’t come with the same equipment that we used to have. When they look at a book they think, “Oh my God, it’s so many pages! What am I going to do? How will I ever get through this?” So, you’ll notice the cover of this book is very flashy—it’s almost like you want to press parts of it, hoping that something will pop up. So, the insides of the book—the “text” you would call it—have the same kind of approach to it. Everything is mixed up, and different stuff comes at you at different speeds. Just as the reader is about to fall asleep with one kind of format, all of the sudden it changes.
Your new book also features some bizarre clothing trends, especially those Onionskin jeans. What’s your assessment of fashion today?
Well, first of all, a couple years ago the pubic bone started making an appearance. I’ve never seen so many pubic bones! I mean, it’s shocking. I know them so well now. Forget the asscrack--that’s been around for a while.
After placing two novels in the Soviet Union, why did you move away from that setting for your third novel?
Boy, it’s getting tiring! You know? When I was growing up in the Soviet Union, it collapsed. I wrote about that collapse in two books already, but I have an uncanny feeling we’re not doing very well here, too. I think I have a sixth sense when it comes to failing empires. That’s sort of my specialty. If I were around during the Roman Empire I’d be writing a book a week. I’d be so happy! I love things on the decline because that’s really the natural progression of our lives. We’re born, we’re feisty for the first couple of years, and then the inevitable decline begins. That’s what appeals to me—the long slide into oblivion. Read More »