Ask the Countess

Ducking out of awkward conversations, appropriate flowers for prom, and more!

Feb 17, 20090

Dear Gracious Countess,
What is one to say or do when one is utterly tired of someone else's banter? Should I fake a bout of nausea, get an urgent call on my terribly ill, mannered use of iphone, or just say "excuse me, it has been wonderful talking to you?" You may pick one of the three. Thank you so much. I am UTTERLY dazed and confused. Thank you Bravo, this is such a great idea!
Hopelessly Bothered

 

Darling Bothered,
You should graciously say, "It's been nice chatting with you, please excuse me." It is the safest choice, unless you're a great actor!
Bisous,
The Countess

Hi LuAnn,
Love your show! Quick question — with proms around the corner, I was wondering if corsages & boutonnieres are still in vogue with the teen set these days, and do they coordinate this flower exchange or do the parents? Best of luck this season!
RJR

Darling RJR, any flower other than a corsage is in vogue. I think it's up to the parents to provide this as a gift on prom night!
Bisous,
The Countess

Dear Lady de Lesseps,
I am a senior in college and was raised in a family where table manners were considered very important, I even had to put my fork and knife at 4 o'clock when I was finished on just a regular family evening meal, and Thanksgiving often involved formal place settings. Coming to college I noticed a lot of my peers did not learn basic table manners. Of course I never say anything when I eat with friends who do not have the best table manners, because that would be rude and etiquette is about respecting the people around you. Recently one of my friends expressed interest in learning table manners basics. What is the best way to help a friend out in this situation?
Meredith
P.S How do you address a countess in an email?

Hello Meredith,
The best way to handle friends is to tell them the truth and show them the way. Of course, be delicate.
Bisous,
The Countess

26 comments
Patti Mac
Patti Mac

Countess, I truly enjoy the show. Thank you for sharing so much of yourself with us viewers. I was watching an episode a while back where "Rosie" was visiting at the Hamptons. You were discussing a red snapper dish that she made for your family. Would it be possible to share that with me? We love red snapper. Thank you again and best wishes to you and your family.

Patti

American
American

Manners and ettiqette are based upon principles of treating people with respect and fairness. Royalty is based on elitism. I find the fact that you have retained "your" title unfortunate. As far as I can tell, neither you nor your former husband did any remarkable service to receive titles. They just happened by birth and marriage. Besides, its un-American. My advice to you is: enjoy your celebrity status, but on equal footing with the rest of the housewives. The "Countess" title isn't an assett, it is a weakness, and it is a subtle dig at the common viewer.

Linda Riser
Linda Riser

Dear Countess, I have truly enjoyed seeing the various Native American jewelry pieces that you have worn on the show. I also collect, and when I wear them it is truly magical. They are pieces of art made by wonderful artisans.

You wore one in particular, the turquoise eagle choker, that was spectacular. I researched it on the internet, except the biggest is four inches in wing span. You are a tall woman like myself and I want one the size that you have. If you could be so kind and share that information with me I would be most appreciative.

Good luck on your new season..and continue to be you! Most of the women on the show are so crass, it makes me ashamed to be a woman. They have hope knowing you. Most Respectful, Linda Riser

Gay Marsiglia
Gay Marsiglia

Love the show and all of you gals.

Lu Ann, RE: Putting Lipstick on at the Table: Actually, it's quite appropriate. Check your sources. Good Luck in the future

Elizabeth
Elizabeth

Dear Countess,

I was watching an episode in which you were placing these robbin's egg colored blue bowls into your Hampton's House dishwasher and was wondering where did you get those bowls and who makes them?

I feel you are an excellent role model for women and it is a pleasure watching you on the show.

Best, Elizabeth

Karolyn
Karolyn

Countess,

I love watching RHNC I especially enjoy watching other womens lives that are so differant than mine. I have to say that I really have hope when I hear you address manners and respect for others. There is something that is really bothering me. I have children, and I do not understand how BRAVo could think is was classy to parade children onto the stage at the A list awards, and listen to Kathy Gifford scream and yell the F word to these children and they are our future. Wow what have we become. Where is the morality ? What kind of example does this set for our children. I was totally shocked and sickened. I respect you, and I am hoping that somehow the message will get out, that this is trashy. I just do not think you would be involved in this kind of behavior or condone it.Although I know that you have very little to do with what Bravo does, it just makes me sick that people think this is okay or entertainement.

a Fan karolyn

Victoria
Victoria

When attempting the attention of a stranger, is it still appropriate to address a woman as 'ma'am,' or in this day and age, has this salutation morphed into something more modern or casual, yet equally as respectful? Thank you Countess!

Amy
Amy

Dear Countess, I am constantly inspired by your poise and grace in any situation. I write to you now to ask for advice about how to manage the attention one gets as a fellow tall female.

I am over 6 ft tall, and have always managed to see this as a blessing however difficult people make it! Comments are exhausting, but as an adult you learn to handle yourself. My problem at this point is managing an aging, more vuluptuous body than I've ever had with grace and style.I do keep in shape and am beginning a dance class to help with both my posture and confidence....but I greatly appreciate your insight.

Sincerely, Amy

Peterson
Peterson

Dear Countess, I thoroghly enjoy watching you on the show, and we admire your graciousness. Perhaps you can help with this question. My wife and I had become quite friendly with another couple. We then met another couple through them and the six of us went to dinner. We have invited both couples to parties. It seems that something happened at the dinner where the six of us were out, and the original couple whose friendship we valued is now upset with us and avoiding our company. We cannot get to the bottom of it..when asked, they pretend there is no issue...we believe there must have been some misunderstanding started by couple number 2...any suggestions how to resolve this..or do we just move on?

Anonymous
Anonymous

Dear Countess/Mrs. Delesseps: I have a truly obnoxious friend who insists that the hired help (some of whom live with her) call her Mrs. XXX. She has compared them to children, in that they should show that sort of respect to her. In contrast, she does not require that her children address the nanny with a particular title or Ms./Aunt Rosie (sorry meant to say Aunt XXX). In addition, and I witnessed this, when her nanny/housekeeper returned from vacation, she complained out loud that she had to do all of "her" work instead of graciously welcoming her home. Then she proceeded to show her all of the laundry on the floor.

How do I tell my friend that her behavior is obnoxious? She has deemed herself the arbiter of style and class but she is acting like a complete contradiction. Thanks and good luck with the show.

Viewer
Viewer

Countess, I do find it so amusing that you consider yourself royalty. I highly doubt that you were ever taught any of these lessons when you were growing up or anytime before you became the FOURTH wife of the count! Do you know how many people have a title that have no class, or social graces??? Don't be a preacher if you have nothing to preach about, maybe something in the or you could talk about a little bit better....

Patricia
Patricia

Mrs. de Lesseps,

I think it is a tremendous gift you are giving to others by sharing your own experiences while learning the do's and don't's of proper etiquette. I am sure the nay sayers do not realize that some of your lessons may not have been as tactful as the ones you impart to your readers. Your motivation to help others avoid the discomfort that you may have suffered once again just reinforces your abundance of "class".

TRoberts
TRoberts

Lu Ann, it is so difficult to watch you sacrifice your children and your dignity and the love in the world for fame. It sickens me to watch you on this series and "act" as if you are such a high and mighty countess (give me a break. You treat everyone as if they are less than you, even your children. You are a pathetic example of a woman in every sense possible. Get a heart and give respect in order to receive it.

Christianna
Christianna

Dear Ms. De Lesseps,

What does one do when confronted with "Thx" or "Tks" at the end of an email instead of spelling out "thanks"? Why do people feel the need to shorten this respectful important word (even after writing a long email where all the other words are spelled out)? It confounds me every time I have to read the butchering of the word thanks. What to do when encountering this email situation time after time?

Best, Christianna A. A New York fan

Christianna
Christianna

Dear Ms. De Lesseps,

What does one do when confronted with "Thx" or "Tks" at the end of an email instead of spelling out "thanks"? Why do people feel the need to shorten this respectful important word (even after writing a long email where all the other words are spelled out)? It confounds me every time I have to read the butchering of the word thanks. What to do when encountering this email situation time after time?

Best, Christianna A. A New York fan

Viewer
Viewer

Countess - I employ five interns each summer from various local universities. Typically, they are sophomores or juniors. They have the worst workplace etiquette.

The interns sit in my office, and each has a desk with computer and phone. One intern spits mouthwash into a cup and leaves it on his desk all day; sometimes the cup has ice in it and it looks like he has a mixed blue drink on his desk. One intern picks his teeth with a straw after eating lunch... at his desk. These are just two examples as I have many.

How can I confront them about these disgusting habits without making them feel embarrassed? Or shouldn't I care if they are embarrassed?

God bless.

Viewer
Viewer

Ms. (Countess) Delleseps,

I watched with amusement the episode including your attendance of the "Diamonds and Denim" event. Why on earth would you consider yourself sufficiently knowledgeable on the subject of etiquette? Was it television, or did you seriously stand up and take it upon yourself to quiet the crowd, only to return to your seat and not follow your own advice?

You were not born into aristocracy. Had you been, I imagine you would not constantly remind others of your claimed status. You would, I hope, know enough not confuse title with class, nor would you mistake respect of a title with earned respect, the only real and lasting regard.

I once met in college, Marguerite Fritz-Cope, daughter of San Francisco socialites. She wore class subtly and well. She would, I'm afraid, never consider appearing on a reality television show. Admittedly, I also am certain she would never consider watching one.

To this end, I suppose we both are beneath her stature. The difference between you and I, however, is that I know it.

Sincerely,

Daniel James

Viewer
Viewer

you must be obligated to answer these women's queries because you're so brief (don't know how to spell "you're") and encourage ignoring prejudice.

if you advise others on manners, it would be wise to actually sincerely hear your advisee's concerns. This is especially true when you have an etiquette book coming out soon.

Viewer
Viewer

Dear Countess,

If the way you treat people, behave (shamefully I must say)by showing fake politeness is to be a countness... I thank God I'm not one. Rewind your shows and pay close attention about how bad you all are. Genuine class is something all you lack. You can't gain it by having money in banks, or attending high socialite events.Genuine class is a treat that becomes familiar to you from the time you are born. It is taught by your parents, and it becomes the character that helps you face life, it becomes the true you. Thus, a person with class has genuine politeness (money doesn't mean you are a person of class...it only says that you have money, that's it), compassion, regard for others. To be more specific, I'm referring to genuine human qualities that make a true person, qualities that stay with you after the money is gone. There is no way this type of person can be ignored, it is unique, the mark they leave in people's lives it's hard to forget. Knowing how to hold a fork, or how to fake a smile, or talk bad about a person (with whom you just happen to have a "friendly" chat with) behind their back, is not a person of class. These is what I call teaching tricks to a dog. After the master is gone, the dog goes back to behave like a dog. Here, check this more useful definition: http://www.simplysharing.com/classics.htm Sorry for being so honest, but I was watching your show and oh myyyy. Take advantage of your show and do something that can be positive for your viewers. Show what true class is all about, but first, get acquainted with it. If you want to be remembered and admired for something, this can be a good start. Regards.

Ms. T
Ms. T

Countess Lesseps, The way you carry yourself is really inspiring; you manage to convey confidence, and poise in all situations without seeming conceited. I feel as though a lot of American women have trouble separating confidence from arrogance and end up de-valuing themselves for fear of appearing too self-important. How do you yourself discern the difference between allowing oneself to be confident and avoiding seeming arrogant?

Ms. T

RHNYCfan1
RHNYCfan1

Dear Countess de Lesseps,

I have a friend that I offered to stay with me while she finds an apartment of her own. I was more than happy to put her up for a few weeks but it has been 3 months and I think she has even stopped looking! How do I explain to her nicely that I was happy to help for a few weeks while she was looking but now she's overstaying her welcome!?

Xoxo RHNYCfan1

PS- You're my favorite housewife!

Susan Moore
Susan Moore

Hi LuAnn,

What is your take on repeat baby showers for 2nd and 3rd children? I have a friend who is having her 2nd child (in just one year) and expects the full momma-to-be treatment. It seems a bit greedy to me- and unnecessary. Your thoughts? Is registering more than once inappropriate?

Cristina
Cristina

Hello Countess! Maybe it's just me, but I see this whole group of women as a HUGE project for YOU! You are the only lady-like woman in the whole group and how nice would it be if by the end of this season, you could turn them into at least half-way decent, upstanding women of substance! From what I see, they all believe that they are so "classy" that they belong in the elite group of "socialites" far and above the average person...well it's that very thing (class) that they lack so gravely... and yo would be performing a miracle if you were to "fix" them... As far as Alex and her husband? ...they are just wanna-be's....!!

the discountess
the discountess

Countess- I was wondering- is it bad manners to attend the wedding of a friend, drink, too much, make inappropriate, unwanted sexual advances at guests, fall in the parking lot while being dragged out by your husband and then accept a position as a blogger and writer who claims to have expertise in manners? Experts in manners and etiquette should not only speak about what they deem appropriate, but set a consistent example through their own behavior, no? Just wondering.....but then again, I'm not a countess- cha ching!

PJ
PJ

Dear Countess, My husband didn't get me anything for Valentine's Day and tonight he mentioned that he was asked to play golf in Palm Springs and wanted to know if I would like to go with him and he would send me to the spa for the day. I feel he is only doing this because he feels bad. I feel like a tag-a-long and I would be alone all day. I have a feeling he thought I would say no anyway, and he would look like the good guy that offered and I said no. I feel like maybe he should plan something for just us. I feel like he's just playing me and he has done this in the past. He never ever has me around his friends and I really don't know what to do.