How do you get your grandchildren to write thank-you notes? Should you even expect them to?
Philip Galanes, the genius behind the New York Times Social Q's column, offered lighthearted (but thought provoking) answers to this and other questions of social behavior on Saturday at BookHampton's Winter Lecture Series in our East Hampton store. The event was filmed by the hot new New York City website Paper & String; clips of Galanes' talk will be available for viewing soon (check back here for the direct link).
Galanes, who specializes in entertainment law, explained how he came to write the popular weekly column that deals with sticky social issues in our fast-moving, modern world. "They really liked the voice I created in my first book, Father's Day, and asked if I could write a column in that voice." That same voice gives patient, thoughful advice to readers across the globe every weekend in the Style Section of the Times.
"I'm not an expert by any means," said Galanes. Part of the enjoyment of writing Social Qs is the discussion that occurs after the column goes to print. The same sort of discussion was lively at BookHampton, too.
"How should you handle someone who keeps checking their Blackberry on a date? On a first date?" provoked a lively discussion. Galanes suggested asking that the phone be put away, but acknowledged that if the person who was checking had something urgent they were waiting to hear about, perhaps it was excusable. Another suggestion was to get up and walk out on the boor.
Neighbors tardy about removing their outdoor holiday lights was another peeve. "Ask yourself," smiled Galanes, "Why does this even matter?"
Oh, and those grand-kids? Galanes pointed out that we don't give gifts to get thanks, but for the joy of giving. "If you can't even talk to your grandchildren about wanting them to be gracious and thank you, your problem is bigger than not getting thank you notes."
Join us on Saturday, March 12 at 5:00pm when the BookHampton Winter Lecture Series presents Mario DeGangi, a noted Restoration scholar, discussing "Women in Shakespeare."
Photographs by Jeremy Nussbaum