For a few years I wrote a Monday Etiquette post using Dianne Isbell's column in the Belleville News-Democrat. During the months my mother was dying, I found I had no energy or time to spend on Dianne Isbell. Since then I got out of the habit. But now, oh, this is too good to resist. It all started Saturday evening when the MAtH (man about the house) flipped the Lifestyle section of the Post-Dispatch at me and said, "Did you see this?"
MAtH: It's a full page story on Dianne Isbell creating hats.
Me: What? Let me see that.
MAtH: Oh, and, she seems to have hyphenated her name since you left her. She's now Dianne Isbell-O'Brien.
Me: Wow, you're right. And she actually has an email address these days. A new name and an email address and a business selling hats.
MAtH: Who buys these hats? I never see many women wearing hats and if they are wearing hats they look just like the hats men wear. Baseball caps or visors.
Me: Worn backward.
Me: But there are the Red Hat Ladies, they must need hats.
MAtH: But aren't they mostly red hats?
Me: Yeah, a limited clientel there.
MAtH: Dianne is selling her hats out of two different stores, one in Clayton...
MAtH: Yes. How did we miss this? And the other in St. Charles.
Me: The Clayton place is the Designing Block just west of Hanley on Clayton Road.
MAth: You're not thinking of going there are you?
Me: Um, no.
MAtH: I can't even imagine it.
Me: The reporter asked her how she comes up with her ideas and she said, "Sketches of hat and fascinator designs are literally "dancing in my head," so to speak." She calls these hats, "captivating Dianne Creations."
MAtH: Fascinator designs? Is that a misprint?
Me: I thought so, but it is used throughout the story so it must be Dianne-speak.
MAtH: How in the world did she go from being an etiquette expert to making hats?
Me: Well, she says, "It all started when I designed and made elaborate Victorian-type hats for my little girls to wear during my etiquette tea party classes. Everyone thought they were fantastic."
MAtH: She held etiquette tea parties? For kids? And the kids had to wear hats? What do huge hats have to do with knowing what side of the plate the fork is on?
Me: I wonder if she is designing and selling purse hooks too.
MAtH: Or hat racks.
Me: Ha. You know, all this has me wondering just what Dianne has been up to with her Etiquette column.
MAtH: No, please.
Me: The latest column on line is from last monday, the Belleville paper doesn't have today's up yet. But it was on how to handle those wrapped pats of butter in restaurants.
MAtH: Slippery topic.
Me: So it seems. Some woman wrote to ask if there was a solution to unwrapping the butter pats. She's seen people stab at them with a knife and fork and just doesn't think that's proper.
MAtH: Oh, the horror.
Me: Dianne said "No stabbing please."
MAtH: Of course.
Me: Then she said On occasion, butter squares can be seen flying across the table or onto someone else's plate or on the floor. Embarrassment then tops the frustration.
MAtH: Haha. I thought she was going to say you could take someone else's butter pat. Hahahaha.
Me: What do you think it would be like to go to dinner with Dianne?
MAtH: As long as she was wearing one of those big hats and couldn't see my table manners, I'd be ok with it.
Me: And get this. Not only does she use her former, un-hyphenated name in the Belleville paper, she also has a different email address. She went from making her readers mail in questions because she had no email, to two email address.
MAtH: And two names.
MAtH: What are the email addresses in case I need advice.
Me: Well the Hat email is just a g mail thing, but the Monday Etiquette is firstname.lastname@example.org
MAtH: Etiquette plus hats lady.
Me: And back into our lives.