Julia Gazdag
January 21, 2013 9:00 am

It’s Inauguration Day! In honor of this momentous occasion, Lee Ziesche and I would like to share with you some valuable advice on etiquette, which we put to the test during a recent White House visit. Should you ever find yourself at one, or any other social occasion requiring class and proper manners, here are a few simple guidelines on how to be your best self:

1. Separating Cheese

An occasion is not truly formal without a cheese plate. The dainty thing to do, when it comes to cheese, is sampling individual slices. Should you find that the cheese on the platter is stuck together, either spend several minutes using any tool nearby to pry the pieces apart, or just plop a giant wad of brie on your plate. Pretend it’s how much you actually wanted to take — people will just think you’re French or something.

2. Proper Ladies Wear Proper Shoes

Feet are the daintiest of appendages, and must be housed accordingly. It is important for shoes to match the surrounding outfit and be generally aesthetically pleasing. Contrary to what your feet may tell you, comfort is not really of the essence — your toes may bleed, or even fall off, but as long as all of that ugliness is contained within your shoes and cannot be seen, no need to worry.

3. Proper Food Etiquette

One does not shoot an oyster at a formal affair. One pries at it with a fork, swishing it around in its shell while trying not to look awkward. One definitely does not shoot an oyster at the White House.

4. Proper Disposal

One certainly does not take said oyster shell home in a napkin to keep as a memento forever, possibly framing it in one of those big IKEA frames and putting it above one’s bed.

5. Know Your Limits

There may be a giant table full of desserts that would make a Hogwarts feast blush, but that’s no reason to pile your plate with egregious amounts of cookies, cake, macaroons, and whatever that incredible strawberry whipped cream stuff might be. A lady does not eat her weight in dessert.

7. Absolutely No Photobombing

A dignified lady respects the privacy of others. Photobombing a nice young couple’s photo when their battery is running low could be construed as rude, possibly even obnoxious behavior. I would strongly advise against it.

8. The Ladies’ Room Has a Purpose

Powdering one’s nose, touching up one’s lipstick, tipping the help — these are all things which one does in the privacy of the ladies’ room. Reflective surfaces, such as ornaments or silver plates, are not to be used for such a purpose. What are you, a farmer?

9. Proper Decorum Should Be Kept at All Times

Novelty items or photos with novelty items are absolutely unacceptable if one wishes to be a classy broad.

10. Were You Not Listening About the Shoes?

Fine. Walk home barefoot.

Lee Ziesche is a wayward girl from Pittsburgh. She now lives in Washington DC where she’s an AmeriCorps VISTA who spends most of her free time scoping out food trucks. When she grows up she wants to be the kind of lady Bruce Springsteen writes songs about. If you know what a jag is (fyi, it’s a Pittsburgh thing) you should definitely follow her on Twitter @leemzee.

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