We all need to challenge ourselves once in a while. Do something different. Go against the rules. OK; let me clarify that one. I'm not talking actual rule rules. Don't go out and rob a bank or steal a car, even if there's a brand new red Jaguar down the street.
I'm talking about silly rules. Rules like "don't wear white after Labor Day," or "always set your table correctly (knives on right, forks on left, etc.)," or "use one glass for white wine and one glass for red."
Give me a break. I wore an outfit the other day simply because I had lost enough weight to fit into it. The pants were a winter white wool and the top was a long-sleeved bright yellow. I tried on brown shoes. Looked terrible. Tried on another shade of brown. Looked worse. Tried to go with black. Looked like my feet weren't even attached to my ankles.
Finally, I went against all fashion rules and wore a white pair. Didn't even feel self-conscious. Worked great. Of course, the other women at dinner were probably gossiping about my lack of social graces. Oh, shoot, what am I talking about! These girls are my best friends. If they even noticed, they would have teased me all night.
Moving on to the dinner table. I cook Sunday dinner every week. I don't like wasting time trying to figure out what spoon goes where and which napkin to use with what place mats. Normally, they get their own stuff. Mix and match. Whatever. They're my family. They don't care if we eat with plastic forks and paper napkins. They're only curious about desert.
When friends come over and I serve wine, they're lucky to get a glass. Most of the time, we drink out of paper cups. This runs along the same principle as not having a formal living room. Why have two sets of furniture to clean? Those who walk through my front door better be prepared for very casual furnishings.
Trust me, if you want to try this stuff, just do it. The sky isn't going to fall. Your friends and family are not going to have a fit. You will be more comfortable wearing white whenever, throwing food on whatever plates you have, and if somebody refuses wine because it's not served to them in the proper stemware, tell them you have lots of soft drinks in the fridge and they can drink them out of the can.
If I disappear next week, it's because Martha Stewart's mafia came, and I am being held hostage because of my lack of proper etiquette.
(Pat Fickle is a Martinez resident.)
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