Let’s face it, everyone could use a refresher course in good manners. Expanding on his 2005 guide The Essential Book of Gay Manners & Etiquette, syndicated columnist and New York Times wedding blogger Steven Petrow directs his diligent eye for propriety on the gay and lesbian communities in his Complete Gay & Lesbian Manners.

Whether coming out, looking for love, getting married, starting a family, planning an engagement party or a dinner party, there are plenty of pitfalls to avoid. Petrow, ever the gracious host, shows us how to make it all politely possible with grace, style, and sophistication.

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On coming out to the unsupportive: “When planning to come out to someone who is unsupportive of LGBT people for religious reasons, be prepared for a difficult conversation and the possibility of not reaching any genuine resolution—other than to disagree.”

On an unsupportive family member and your marriage: “One of the most effective things you can do is talk directly with any disapproving family members—together, as a couple—about your love for each other, the commitment you’re making, and your ceremony plans. Take the time to explain why marriage matters.”

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On coming out at work: “If you’re partnered, put a photograph of the two of you on your desk, nothing oversexy but one that definitely says ‘couple.’ ”

On unexpected children at dinner parties: “About that caper sauce: Don’t blame the kids for not taking to that. I suggest keeping emergency provisions in your cupboard—like macaroni and cheese—for the next set of freeloading toddlers.”

On DNA donation: “If someone asks you to donate sperm, first express your appreciation for being asked, then give some careful thought as to whether being a donor—involved or not in the child’s upbringing—fits into your future.”

On having sex while in someone else’s home while a houseguest: “Although some think it’s disrespectful to one’s hosts to have a private pleasure-fest in your room, I think it’s fine as long as you’re able to keep it quiet. That means: No moaning, no screaming, and no running to and from the bathroom naked.”

On the importance of pre-negotiating a hook-up: “Problems can arise when one of you expects to stay for breakfast while the other is expecting you gone after sex so that he can curl up to his pillow.”

On bar pick-ups: “Sending over a cocktail is a well-utilized, low-risk, high-reward way to meet a new beau, with the only real cost being the price of the drink. After someone has caught your eye, maneuver yourself into position.”

On putting the moves on a “straight” counterpart: “I say if two single people are flirting, good for them. Let them enjoy the frisson and see where it leads. We’re all adults now.”

On sex-party etiquette: “In general, keep your shoes on, take your clothes off (or some of them) and stay upright.”

Ed. note: All quoted material from an advance galley. Final copy may slightly differ.