Emily Christian: I think
this is, like, it’s really a finger thing, because
it’s too far away now. Myka Meier: OK, so now it’s…
Christian: It’s… Meier: OK, go. Christian: I’m so sorry, that
was, like, the worst thing I could have done. Christian: Today I’m at the Plaza Hotel to take a etiquette class. And, let me tell you, I am
not the most graceful person. I’m a messy eater, I’ve
never walked in heels before, and I would not know how to conduct myself at a formal dinner. So we’re gonna see if this
class can truly give me a full etiquette makeover today, and I can walk out of here ready to have dinner with the Queen. Meier: Etiquette is simply
respect. That’s all it is. If you really deconstruct everything, and the core of what it is, it’s just simply respect. Christian: A private etiquette
course at Beaumont Etiquette taught at the Plaza Hotel
can cost over $1,000 and promises to teach you
all the graces of a duchess in just a few hours. Etiquette is something that
seems so old-fashioned to me, but this school’s founder, Myka Meier, says business is booming, and
maybe not for who you’d think. While Myka has worked with members of England’s royal family, today her clients are
mostly young professionals willing to dish out a month’s
rent to learn manners. So I wanted to pay her
a visit to learn why. Meier: It’s more relevant
now than ever before, because we communicate
mostly electronically now. So we’re losing some of those soft skills that are still important when you meet somebody face to face. Christian: At this point,
I was a little more nervous than confident that I could pull it off, but the time had finally come to see if I could be at least a
little bit graceful for a day. Meier: In front of you here we’ve got, this is just a very simple,
one-course table setting. You have your water glass, which is always directly above your knife.
Christian: Oh. Meier: Then you have your
bread plate on your left. So you put your index to
your thumb on both sides. This is a lowercase B for bread. Christian: OK. Meier: The right is a
lowercase D for drinks. Christian: Oh.
Meier: So, if you put it down, your bread plate’s always on your left and your drinks will
always be on your right. So, the moment you get to a restaurant, you want to take that
napkin off of the plate, and then just gently, to
the side, just unfold it, and then refold it in half so that the seams are
both down, like that, and then the crease faces toward you. Excellent. Christian: Oh no, mine looks terrible. Meier: No. You never go down to your napkin, because it looks like
you’re kind of, like, hiding something under the table. So just open here, and you bring
the napkin up to your face, and then, oh, just the inside. Christian: Oh.
Meier: Hold the inside. And you’re actually
putting all of your stains in the inside of the napkin. We just dab, dab, dab, and then you close the napkin so all the stains stay contained in the inside of the napkin. Christian: Wow. Meier: Now, at the end of the meal, then we would pinch in the middle and we would leave it to the
left of the place setting to show that we were
finished with the meal, we are done, we are not
coming back to the table. Never do that. So, if you take nothing
away from this course, I want you to remember this. So, in American dining, we
often hold cutlery like this, and we cut, cut, cut,
and we rest our knives, and then we switch, and then we eat. At the moment I would say in business or in any formal social situation, I want you to elevate and switch to what we call continental dining. So, the blade faces up, perfect, so you’re holding with your thumb, your index is out, wrap and twist, and then, keeping the prongs
down, they go into your mouth. So this is break, I’m taking a break, and then when I’m finished with my meal, to signify to the server I am finished, then prongs are up, and then
handles are at four o’clock. If it has a stem you hold it by the stem. You never want to heat the
liquid inside the glass. Christian: I always just,
I just stick my hand right on there, the full thing. Also, this is heavy. Meier: And also for fingerprints, right? And then when you’re drinking, you’re drinking from the
same point of the glass every single time, so that
you avoid that lip ring. And then back down
directly over the knife. Christian: And I’m
guessing you don’t go, aah. Meier: Oh, we’ll see about that. But, typically speaking, the
lower to the stem we hold, the more sophisticated a holder becomes. Beautiful.
Christian: What about, is this, like, the most sophisticated? Meier: Whatever it is you’re drinking, we never go past 45 degrees. OK, up, up, up, up, up,
up, up, up, up, up, up. See, so you pretty much get…
Christian: OK, that’s enough. Meier: right, and so
you just don’t wanna go. Crew member: Have you
ever done that at the bar? Christian: Yes, absolutely,
I have done that, at a bar, and at dinner,
and at all over town, really, I’ve been going like this. Meier: So what you would
do, you would take your tea, and then it’s not clockwise
or counterclockwise, it’s actually just 12
o’clock to six o’clock, and then, making no noise, I want you to pinch through and support. Perfect, and when you’re
sipping you sip down, you look down into the tea. Arms up, one down, two down. OK, now I want you to go
ahead and try it again. You have to keep the napkins, and don’t do this in public, ever. Go ahead and take another sip of your tea. Christian: How…? Meier: Beautiful, now take that sip, see, you’re nice and in. Christian: I’m very hungry,
so my first instinct is gonna be just to kind of tear into it, but I know that’s not
what we’re here to do. Meier: So as much fun as
it is to put everything on your plate at once, that’s not the correct etiquette.
Christian: That’s what I’d do. Meier: I know. And you always let your
guests choose first. One thing with any kind of
communal food to remember is that you never take straight off and put it into your mouth. So you should take a bite
that’s not overly large. Like, the whole goal of
afternoon tea is to stay social. You can take up to four
bites before you break again. Christian: So you only
take four bites of food, and then you break. Meier: Exactly.
Christian: OK. Meier: And that’s just
to not eat too fast. Christian: I eat so fast.
Meier: It’s normal, it’s very normal.
Christian: I don’t think I breathe when I eat, normally. [Emily mumbles] Meier: Some modern-day
icons of etiquette, I think, easily the Duchess of
Cambridge and Prince William, I think are constantly,
we see them, you know, very polished and respectful to everybody and everybody that they work with. I think Michelle Obama is a really great example of etiquette. Christian: Now that I
knew how to talk the talk, it was time to learn to walk
the walk, quite literally. Meier: And now, I would
like you to put on heels. Christian: Uh-oh, OK.
Meier: So we’re gonna, don’t be scared, I’ll walk
you through everything. Christian: I’ve never walked
in heels, not a single time. This was truly the final
test of whether or not this class could really
give me a royal makeover. Meier: Go ahead and just
give me your first attempt, straight through and back. Christian: And we’re off. Meier: OK, all right. What I’m gonna do for you, because you’re not
comfortable wearing heels, I’m going to give you something to do with your hands to help you, and it also helps with
balance at first, too. So now I’m just, you can put
that to your side or in front, it can be whatever you want, and if you’re an awkward heel
person, always hold something, because then you’re almost
not, like, teeter-tottering, or you actually have something
to hold your balance. So go ahead and, now,
with your new technique, a little bit larger stride,
nice, rolled-back shoulders, hands, fingers together,
and come on right toward me. Much better. Christian: That felt better. Meier: Night and day. Christian: Maybe I wasn’t going to be a pro at the heels right away, but Myka had given me the confidence that I could become an
etiquette expert with practice. Meier: Now a quiz, pop quiz. OK, queen’s pose. Duchess slant. Cambridge cross. Sussex slant. Beautiful.
Christian: Yay! I’m basically a royal now. It’s not a big deal.
Meier: Practically, right? Christian: While I opted for their most exclusive and intensive class, Beaumont Etiquette offers
many different options, including a group course for $150. By the end of the class I
realized why young people are so eager to learn Myka’s techniques. Something that sounded
outdated to me at first became a skill I could use in my office to be more professional and even with my friends,
just to show respect. Meier: And the whole goal of our courses is that when they leave, they leave more confident
than when they walked in. OK. OK, never lick your fingers,
never lick your fingers.