What are the duties of the best man?The best man takes care of everything the groom can't do or is too distracted to do. That includes arranging for the bachelor dinner, if there is to be one. You're also in charge of the ushers at the wedding. Make sure they know what to do and are at the church well before the ceremony starts. You are to help the groom dress for the wedding and get him to the church on time. Make sure he has the marriage license. Also, have him give you the check for the minister, place it in an envelope and give it to the minister after the service. You're also in charge of the bride's wedding ring.
You're obliged to give the first toast to the couple at the reception (short and sweet is never wrong, the opposite sometimes is). Send a telegram in the groom's name to the bride's parents, thanking them for the fabulous wedding and their fabulous daughter. Make sure the newlywed's luggage is taken care of, their exit vehicle is ready and the arrangements for the honeymoon lodging are in order. Also, make sure the groom is reasonably sober until the moment of the wedding and, if he has cold feet, help him over the wall.
How do you plan a bachelor party?We always recommend PG-13 parties rather than X. Hiring a stripper or prostitute is almost always a bad idea, because someone is going to be uncomfortable, including, perhaps, the groom. Besides, we've always had more fun playing golf or paintball or soaking up a baseball game than we've ever had at a strip club. The best advice we’ve read comes from The Playboy Guide to Bachelor Parties, whose author, James Oliver Cury, says simply, "Do what's best for the groom."
How much should I tip?For food service the rule, as you know, is 15 to 20 percent. If the service is poor, leave 10 percent but don’t exit without talking to the manager about your dissatisfaction. (Never stiff a server or leave a penny; that makes you an asshole.) For take-out, leave 5 to 10 percent; someone had to prepare the meal to go. Tip a dollar a bag to stewards, give the guy who gets your car a couple of bucks. When you should tip in other situations? The way we handle this is to tip whenever we find ourselves asking, Should we tip? And when deciding on an amount, the first number that comes to mind is usually dismissed with the thought that it’s a little too much. But go with it; better to give a little more than you might have than regret not giving more later.
I’m about to start my first job. What suits should I own?Start with gray or navy. Get one with two buttons, a look that is both classic and fresh -- for a long time we've seen three buttons, which is preferred if you are wide in the hip. If you can, buy six suits: three for spring and summer, and three for fall and winter. Go with medium-weight fabrics, which are more temperate. You don't have to buy only solids; throw in a pinstripe, chalk stripe or perhaps a plaid, which will be big this fall. John Bartlett, Perry Ellis and Ted Baker all make affordable, resilient suits.
*What is the definition of a gentleman? *One definition of gentleman we've seen comes from the handbook of the Virginia Military Institute. The code does not recognize the change in women that has occurred in the past 40 years. The stuff about alcohol is also primeval, but here goes:
"Without a strict observance of the fundamental code of honor, no man, no matter how 'polished,' can be considered a gentleman. The honor of a gentleman demands the inviolability of his word and the incorruptibility of his principles. He is the descendent of the knight, the crusader, he is the defender of the defenseless and the champion of justice -- or he is not a gentleman.
"A gentleman does not discuss his family affairs in public or with acquaintances;
"Does not go to a lady's house if he is affected by alcohol. He is temperate in the use of alcohol;
"Does not lose his temper nor exhibit anger, fear, hate, embarrassment, ardor or hilarity in public;
"Does not hail a lady from a club window;
"Never discusses the merits or demerits of a lady;
"Does not mention names, exactly as he avoids the mention of what things cost;
"Does not borrow money from a friend, except in dire need. Money borrowed is a debt of honor and must be repaid as promptly as possible. Debts incurred by a deceased parent, brother, sister or grown child are assumed by honorable men as a debt of honor;
"Does not display his wealth, money or possessions;
"Does not put his manners on and off, whether in the club or in a ballroom. He treats people with courtesy, no matter what their social positions may be;
"Does not slap strangers on the back nor so much as lay a finger on a lady;
"Does not 'lick the boots of those above him' nor 'kick the face of those below him on the social ladder';
"Does not take advantage of another's helplessness or ignorance and assumes that no gentleman will take advantage of him;
"A gentleman respects the reserves of others but demands that others respect those which are his;
"A gentleman can become what he wills to be..."
Not bad. On the other hand, we've heard a gentleman described as a man who supports his weight on his elbow.