I Took an Etiquette Class and Learned I Had No Idea How to Use a Napkin Correctly
Make like Meghan Markle and Katie Middleton with this easy napkin-handling trick.
I was raised in the Midwest, so I’m generally very polite. I don’t drink too much at dinner, and I always say please and thank you. This is all great for meeting your significant other’s parents or acing a job interview, but sometimes the stakes are a little higher and the social graces you were raised with don’t cut it. For example, if you’re attending Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s wedding, what’s expected of you might be a little different.
Am I actually attending the Royal Wedding? No. Do I wish I were? Yes. So for fun, my coworker Sarah Yang and I are doing everything we'd do to prepare to go—if only we were invited.
Our first stop was Myka Meier’s etiquette class at the Plaza Hotel, in New York City. Meier, who is the founder of Beaumont Etiquette Duchess Effect, has clients that actually will attend the royal wedding and need a refresher on British-style etiquette. She’s been teaching etiquette courses for six years and she is proof that etiquette is not outdated. She’s stylish, warm, and humorous—nothing like the stuffy cotillion teachers you may have encountered during your childhood, depending on where you grew up.
We learned some amazing things, including how get out of a car or a limo to avoid any wardrobe malfunctions (swivel and pop!) and how to properly pace eating your food (four bites and then a break!). But the greatest lesson? How to use a napkin correctly. Yes, it involves wiping your face—but when done right you don't leave (obvious) stains behind. It works like this: Once you're seated at a table, fold your napkin in half horizontally, crease side toward you. Then, instead of wiping your mouth, fold the corner of the napkin outward (like you’re marking the page in a book), and dab your mouth on the inside of the corner. When you’ve finished dabbing, close the corner back up and put the napkin back on your lap. Viola: the napkin gets the job done while still appearing to be clean to everyone else.
Of all the lessons I learned that day, this is the one I will keep using—wherever I go. It helps me feel just a little more refined, sophisticated, and kind of like Meghan Markle!