Guest Towels

by admin on March 13, 2012

In a catalog that arrived yesterday were some beautifully embroidered hand towels for guest use. At the bottom of each towel were sayings, and after reading some of the other submissions, I felt that Etiquette Hell would appreciate them!
1) “Guest towels are to be used by guests; non guests are to use their clothing.”
2) “Guests of Guests may not bring Guests.”
3) “Do not mistake endurance for hospitality.”
Ooo kay.   I probably wouldn’t use them but it does say something about the state of hospitality when someone manufactures guest towels with instructions to guests.

{ 31 comments… read them below or add one }

Bint March 13, 2012 at 6:03 am

I’d be embarrassed for my hosts if I saw these – for the implicit rudeness, and for their having such a stunted sense of wit.


Yvaine March 13, 2012 at 7:22 am

I’m pretty sure they’re meant as a joke. The “use your clothing” one is a dead giveaway.


Brian Katcher March 13, 2012 at 8:37 am

I think it’s supposed to be a joke.


Xtina March 13, 2012 at 8:48 am

I actually like the first one about non-guests using their clothing–that one strikes me as funny and people who know my sense of humor would laugh if I had it in my home (because I am frequently guilty of wiping my hands on my own clothing), but the others are bad.


Wink-n-Smile March 13, 2012 at 8:55 am

I think it’s meant more as humor than instruction.

“Non-guests are to use their clothing.” NOT good etiquette, but funny.


Magicdomino March 13, 2012 at 9:22 am

I’ll admit it: I like the first two. Most people who know me would be more surprised if I put out flowery guest towels than by snarky ones. However, I’ll stick to putting out regular hand towels because nobody ever wants to mess up the cute ones.


Phoebe161 March 13, 2012 at 9:41 am

I took the towel sayings as an in-your-face type of humor. I don’t particularly care for these towels, but nevertheless I can see how some would find them humorous. These sayings are no different than the other sayings I see in bathrooms: Please be neat & wipe the seat or No job is complete until the paperwork is done.

And then there are the signage in college residence halls bathrooms– (women) Don’t flush feminine hygiene products & (men) Flush– those are instructions, not humorous sayings.


gramma dishes March 13, 2012 at 10:10 am

I think these are funny and I think most of our guests would also.


Cobbs March 13, 2012 at 10:20 am

I finally used the “must be ironed” guest towels in my good friend’s powder room. They had been there for many years. What an uproar, I heard from others. Funny. I never saw them again. Nice terry cloth fingertip ones replaced them. She also burned candles on the luncheon table.


Kara March 13, 2012 at 10:46 am

That first one gave me a chuckle… it reminded me of my Mother yelling at my brothers and I when we were little that we were not to use the guest towels because they were for guests only. (In fairness to my Mother, this was likely because she had gotten heartily tired of washing our muddy handprints off of the guest towels.)

The other two… I think that they say more about the state of social graces in general, when people think that guests do not know how to behave.


Ashley 2 March 13, 2012 at 10:55 am

I agree they sound like a gag gift.


MellowedOne March 13, 2012 at 11:00 am

Funny! Yes, they would fit in nicely at our home, but then again everyone that comes over would expect that sort of thing from us, LOL. 😀


German Shepherd March 13, 2012 at 11:28 am

Even though they are joke towels, I can see some guests taking the messages seriously, especially with the second towel. The first towel is the best.


Chocobo March 13, 2012 at 11:56 am

Next thing you know they’ll be putting out little signs to direct guests how to behave and starting a whole movement of proper behavior!

Heh heh 🙂


Kitty Lizard March 13, 2012 at 12:54 pm

When I lived in Orlando, we entertained frequently and I had a horrible time getting people to use my guest towels. (I don’t know what they used to dry their hands – their clothes maybe?? I was hoping they weren’t just not washing their hands. There weren’t any other towels in the guest bathroom, and the guest towels weren’t ever used. I bought a really nice lined rectangular wicker basket and fairly expensive folded paper towels at Bed, Bath and Beyond and a matching wastepaper basket and tried that. Still no luck. Finally a bell went off in my tiny, empty skull and I used one of the towels before the party and left it prominently in the wastepaper basket. Success! They used the towels. They still ignored the guest towels on the rack, but did use the paper ones. We don’t have that problem anymore since we
don’t have people over anymore.


Enna March 13, 2012 at 5:07 pm

@ Bint – I think these are meant to be a joke. I would see it as such and if I did buy these towels I would only give them to people who I knew well and would get the joke.


Stepmomster March 13, 2012 at 5:20 pm

I only find the first one funny, as my children are notorious for never using a towel period… until 3 minutes until the guests arrive. 3 minutes is exactly enough time to find food/ink/dirt prominently displayed on my guest towels, freak out, send them to their rooms, and scramble for replacements. I have never successfully displayed quest towels yet, not in 13 years. This year it was my own Father that got me 4 minutes before my fiance and his family arrived for Thanksgiving. When I whined he laughed really hard and told me “I will make sure to tell your mother, it will give her deep inner peace, for as many times as you and your sister sabotaged OUR guest towels when you were growing up”

My mother claims she didn’t have a good presentable towel until we moved out.


Ellen March 13, 2012 at 6:12 pm

I confess. I own the first one.


Mom of 3 Teens March 13, 2012 at 7:45 pm

What a great gag gift!


Bint March 14, 2012 at 4:00 am

Enna – I know they’re meant to be a joke. Some people think they’re hilarious – some people find them juvenile.


Wink-n-Smile March 14, 2012 at 9:02 am

My mother solved the “guest towel” – to use or not to use – issue by putting out paper towels.


Ann March 14, 2012 at 11:27 am

They’d actually make a cute hostess gift; albeit, one they couldn’t really use (except perhaps for the first one).

I’ve solved the guest towel (ie: the nice towels) issue at my house, anyway. They’re used everyday.


LovleAnjel March 14, 2012 at 2:15 pm

My mother had a guest towel compromise – she had small, embroidered towels hanging off a small rack, and “unfancy” full hand-towels on the real towel rack. No one used the fancy towels, but everyone used the unfancy towels.


MidoriBird March 14, 2012 at 10:11 pm

I would have taken these as simply an attempt at humor. I did get a giggle out of them. I think many people would take it as such.


Wink-n-Smile March 15, 2012 at 9:47 am

I confess – I use guest towels, even the fancy ones. But I’m sneaky about and dry my hands on the *back* of the towels.


Michelle March 19, 2012 at 12:50 pm

I’ll stand ready for the accusation of being oversensitive, but as the wife of a tradesperson who puts hands on tools in peoples’ homes for a living… the “non-guests” use their clothes one is incredibly offensive and not-at-all funny.

My husband, a very presentable and polite electrician (when he hasn’t been crawling through 150 degree attics in Texas summers) and he is regularly treated like dirt by a certain clientele – even though he’s doing a skilled job lasting over 6 or 7 hours per day in their homes, he’s been refused access to use of their restrooms. As a worker, paid to be on site providing a service – often safety related (his ‘biz’ is primarily upgrading older wiring and power panels) – he’s not a guest in the view of much of the “old guard” of our town (that lives in the historic neighborhoods he specializes in upgrading!).

As a consequence, there are three or four neighborhoods that he adds two hours to his job-time per day in bidding for work, assuming he’ll have to stop work, pack away his tools, leave the site in order to use facilities at least once. If you are a polite resident of such a neighborhood – sorry you paid for the history of rudeness and lack of consideration on the part of your neighbors.


jguest July 7, 2012 at 10:18 am

Our last name is Guest, so these towels are very funny placed in our powder room


NostalgicGal December 27, 2012 at 6:01 am

I think the towels are ‘good clean fun’ 🙂
If I displayed such a thing I’d also have the ‘no nonsense yes it’s to be used towel’ out. I’m lucky if I can scrounge up a set of matching towels (washcloth, hand, bath). I use no nonsense towels, and you use my restroom it’s obvious the towel is there for your use!

To Michelle….
I live in small town and my DH is disabled. There are things I get to do because I can’t afford to hire someone…a few weekends ago I spent four hours in very cramped places full of nasty spider spiderwebs, egg sacks, ick and yuk (and yes I squished that one spider all by myself after I’d crawled under that beam once already THEN seen her). I very much respect tradespeople now… and I salute their ability to do that (and a pro probably could have done that duct work in an hour)
If I hired your DH, he’d certainly be allowed access to my bathroom, offered hot (coffee) or cold drinks, and I’d be there as extra legs/fetch/call 911… You’re a guest as in I made the appointment for you to come here and do it for me as I can’t or am unwilling. My job is to make sure you can and do do YOUR job. Wish more people got the clue… like I recently did. !!!!! (not that I didn’t treat hired trades civilly before) Not quite as far south as y’all but gods I know how baked it can get.


Rebecca October 7, 2013 at 10:24 am

Do you remember which catalog you saw these in? I actually have these towels and everyone loves them and are always asking where they can get some (I originally got them from my mother-in-law). I can’t seem to find them anywhere!


admin October 7, 2013 at 1:16 pm

I googled the comment on the one towel and found them here:


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