Sunday, June 29, 2014

Etiquette and Table Manners of Yesteryear

though 95% of these still apply today!

Send ten cents for our beautifully illustrated book "How to Set the Table" by Mrs. Rorer ~1901

Table Etiquette

A man should not seat himself at the dinner table until his wife or his hostess is seated. This rule holds good in the home, for if it is not practised there, it will not be observed gracefully in society.

Seat yourself not too close to nor too far from the table.
One should sit quietly at the table, without handling the cutlery or making useless motions, while waiting to be served.  One, however, should not ever appear this bored at the dinner table.
Erect position at table is the first requisite. One should so place one's seat that correct position is possible, and then should keep it.

Elbows should never be placed upon the table.

The hands should be kept quietly in the lap while not busy with the food.

One should sit quietly at the table, without handling the cutlery or making useless motions, while waiting to be served.

If there is some form of grace said, or some simple ceremony preliminary to the meal, one should pay respectful attention silently.
A properly set dinner table by Mrs. Rorer
Do not seem impatient to be served. The meal is a social occasion and the food is an adjunct to friendly intercourse. The success of the meal depends equally perhaps upon the food and the conversation. Because of the interruptions of service, conversation cannot be long continued, or deeply thoughtful. It must be on subjects of no great moment nor grave interest, or on such subjects lightly touched; but it should be on bright, cheerful topics, and as witty as the talent of the company affords.

Eating should be slow, and mastication of the food thorough, for reasons of health as well as for the sake of appearance. No meal can be eaten properly and adequately in less than thirty minutes, but more than an hour for a meal is sheer waste of both time and food, unless the company is large, the times of waiting between courses long, and the portions served very small.

Eat silently. The noise of food being masticated is very distressing, and except in cases of crusts and crisp vegetables, perfectly unnecessary.

The napkin is unfolded and spread over the lap. One is supposed to be skillful enough in raising food to the lips not to need the napkin in front of the dress or coat to prevent injury.

In case you do not care for a course, you should not refuse it. Receive it, and take what part of it you desire, trying to take some; or, if you wish, leave it untouched, but do not have the appearance of being neglected or ill-provided for, even if you do not eat of it. A little more attention to conversation on your part may make unnoticeable to those about you the fact that you do not eat of a certain course.

If your preference is consulted as to food, whether the matter be trivial to you or not, express some preference so that the one who is serving, and who has asked to be guided, may be so far assisted.

Never place food or waste matter upon the tablecloth. An exception to this may be made in regard to hard breads and celery, when individual dishes for these are not furnished. Always use the side of some one of the dishes about you for chips and scraps.

The fork is used in general except with semi-liquid sauces, where a spoon is of necessity used. It is not permissible to eat peas with a spoon.

The mouth should be closed while it contains food. It should not be too full, as it is often necessary to reply to some question when there is food in the mouth. Do not leave the table until you have quite ceased chewing. 

An invitation for breakfast meant one would probably be dining on several courses, over a few hours or so.

Be dainty and skillful in using your napkin and cutlery, avoiding soiling the tablecloth.

Discussions and unpleasant topics of conversation should never be introduced. One should regard not only one's own aversions but those of the others present.

Never put your finger in your mouth at table, nor pick your teeth.

Tidiness of personal appearance is never at a higher premium than at the dining table. Soiled hands, negligee dress, shirt sleeves, and disheveled hair are disgusting there.

It is quite proper to take the last helping of any dish which may be passed you. To refrain looks as if you  doubted the supply.

Bread is not cut, but broken into fairly small pieces. One should never nibble from a large piece.

It is permissible to eat crackers, olives, celery, radishes, salted nuts, crystallized fruits, corn on the cob, bonbons, and most raw fruits from the fingers. Apples, pears, and peaches are quartered, peeled, and then cut into small pieces.

Cherries, plums, and grapes are eaten one by one, the stones being removed with the fingers and laid upon the plate.

Cheese may be laid in small pieces on bread or crackers, and conveyed to the mouth in that way.

Asparagus should be eaten with the fork, the part which is not readily broken off by it being left.
Tidiness of personal appearance is never at a higher premium than at the dining table.

At a formal meal a second helping of a dish is never offered, and should never be asked for; but at an informal dinner party it is not out of place to accept a second helping, if one is offered, but is complimentary to the hostess, who is responsible for the cook.

In passing the plate for a second helping, the knife and fork should be laid across it full length,—not held in the hand until the plate returns.

One may ask the waiter for a second or third glass of water, as even at a formal dinner that is always permissible.

Lettuce, cress, and chicory are never cut with a knife, but rolled up on the fork and so conveyed to the mouth.

Never leave the spoon in any cup while drinking from it.

Liquid bouillon,—not jellied,—should be drunk from the bouillon cup.

Spoons are used for grape fruit and oranges, when cut in halves and put upon a plate, for soft-boiled eggs, 
puddings, custards, and gelatins.

With fruit, finger-bowls should always be passed. A bowl half-full of water is placed upon a plate covered with a doily. Unless the fruit is passed upon a second plate, the bowl and doily are removed from this and set at one side, the fruit being eaten from this plate. The fingers are then dipped, one hand at a time, into the water, and wiped upon the napkin.
Supper defined by Mrs. Rorer: A full supper service consists of silver tea set, plates, bread tray, cold meat dish, silver covered hot water dish ...
Salt should never be put upon the tablecloth, but always on the side of the plate, unless the individual salts are provided.

Never spit out a prune, peach, or cherry stone.

Never hold food on the fork while you are talking, ready as soon as you reach a period to be put into your mouth. Having once picked it up, eat it promptly.

A bit of bread, but nothing else, may be used, if necessary, to help one put food upon the fork.

If one tastes of something which one does not care to swallow, it may be removed from the mouth with the
closed left hand and placed on the plate. This should be done silently and with as little attention as possible.

Never take a chicken or chop bone in the fingers. Cut the meat from the bone, leaving all that does not readily

Bread and butter plates, with the butter spreader, are always used, except at formal dinners, when the dinner-roll is laid in the fold of the napkin. 

The knife is used only for cutting, and for spreading butter on bread in the absence of butter spreaders.

Almost all foods are eaten with the fork, which should always be used in the right hand with the tines up. It may be held in the left hand, tines down, when one is cutting, the knife being in the right hand.

The soup spoon is an almost circular and quite deep spoon. Therefore it is obvious that the soup should be noiselessly sipped from the side of it. When the oval dessert spoon is used for soup, it is especially necessary to sip the liquid from the side.

Special spoon-shaped forks are provided for salads, ices, and creams, but for these spoons may always be substituted.

No hot drink should be poured from the cup into the saucer to cool it.

Toothpicks should not be passed at the table. They may be left on the sideboard, and if one is needed, it may be requested of the waiter or taken as you leave the room, but always used in private.

Wherein elderly people do differently from the established ways of to-day, they are not to be criticised.

Manners change even several times within a generation, and such may be simply following the customs they were taught. When the three-tined fork was the only one in common use, the blade of the knife was much more in requisition than now.

On leaving the table the dishes of the last course should be left exactly as used, and the napkin left unfolded by the side of the plate. In case one is at home, or visiting a friend, and the napkins usually serve for two or three meals, then neatly fold it. Many families have clean napkins once a day, that is, at dinner.

The chair should either be pushed quite back from the table, or close to it, so that others may easily pass by.

If obliged to leave the table in the midst of a meal, one should address the hostess, saying, "Please excuse me," as he rises.

From "The Etiquette of To-Day," by Edith Ordway, 1918 

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Drive-Thru Etiquette

Service with a smile... Drive thrus are great time savers. The idea actually began in the US as early as 1930, beginning with banks and then moved on to restaurants and other establishments.  The top ranking fast food chains teach their employees manners for working with the public.  In fact, "Drive-Thru Etiquette" is the name of one of the classes at Mc Donald's "Hamburger University."  In the "odd foodie fact" category, Julia Child was a known as a "rabid In-N-Out fan." She is said to have carried a list of store locations with her at all times. 
They call it "drive-thru disgust." It's what has many fast-food aficionados fuming. The lines are stretching ever-longer out ahead of them, as a 2013 study from industry magazine QSR confirmed that wait times have increased at fast food chain drive-thru lines across the board. Thanks to increasingly complex menus and a greater focus on accuracy, wait times are now at an all time high. 

"Too many people think that when they get into their cars, they can do as they please," according to Maura Graber, who owns The RSVP Institute of Etiquette in Ontario, California. "Often times, and especially when it comes to drive-thru restaurants, they leave their manners in the glove compartment." But civility and courtesy apply as much to drive-thru dining establishments, as they do to sit-down restaurants. 

I have it on good authority (my son who worked for Tim Horton’s) that the following list is the etiquette advice that fast-food restaurants would like their patrons to practice. He personally experienced all of these scenarios except for the “line jumping”.


Try to know the order ahead of time so you aren’t making everyone's wait even longer.  Many times, orders are placed like this: “I want one muffin… no wait, two. Ah, actually, I need 12.” or “What kind of muffins do you have again?” You get the point. 

If you have a lot of people with you, try to write down what everyone wants before placing your order. This is especially helpful if you have a lot of kids in the vehicle.

Group multiple items together as you would in a restaurant: main dishes first, then extras, such as fries, then drinks. Be specific so it goes more smoothly and cuts down on mistakes. 

Turn down blaring music or talk radio when you are placing your order.

Speak clearly and not too quickly into the microphone.  It has excellent reception so you don’t have to yell. Avoid speaking too quietly either. If you have a difficult accent, try to enunciate as much as possible. Don’t get impatient if the attendant asks you to repeat the order.

Get off of your cellphone while placing your order. The attendant has a hard enough time trying to understand your order. If there are two conversations going on, chances are you'll wind up with the wrong items. Remember there’s no face to face communication.

For those of you who drive big trucks, kindly turn off the engines. It’s very difficult to hear someone giving an order over the roar of a loud engine.

Clear a spot in the car where you can set your food and drinks down, before you get to the pick-up window.

Have your money or debit card ready. The attendant has already told you the amount of your order, so instead of hunting for payment when you approach the window, be prepared.  Some customers want to wait until their food is ready before offering to pay. Both of these practices really slow down the line-up.

Position the car close enough so the attendant doesn’t have to bodily reach across to retrieve the money or give you the order.

No line or queue jumping. You’re taking your life into your hands, and that is not overstating the situation.

Don't tailgate while in the drive-thru line.  People want their space and get annoyed easily if they are already hungry and their patience is wearing thin.

Are you placing a large order, but still want the drive-thru convenience? Call ahead and let the shift manager know to expect you at a certain time and what you want to order.  The managers appreciate the 'heads-up" and nearly always have it waiting, hot and ready when you drive-thru. (Or cold and boxed up for me, with dozens of paper napkins and extra straws, like the 25 small shakes I ordered for my etiquette class students one very hot day.) 

Keep in mind that these attendants are doing their best to deliver good service and fulfil our orders. Let’s all try to make their jobs a little easier, while they are making your life a bit less hectic.

Forget Harvard... Hamburger University -- the Shanghai branch of McDonalds' managerial training program -- is one of the hardest colleges to get into, including Harvard, according to Bloomberg News.

McDonald's "Hamburger University"
At Hamburger University, 19 full-time professors with restaurant operations expertise - from around the world - deliver the McDonald’s training curriculum. 
Our curriculum is delivered using a combination of classroom instruction, hands-on lab activities, goal-based scenarios and computer e-learning modules.
Like the UN, we have interpreters working with us, and we have the ability to teach in 28 languages including Spanish, German, French, Japanese and Mandarin Chinese.
McDonald’s employees align training with their specific career paths, including development paths for crew, restaurant managers, mid-managers and Executives. 
The Crew Development curriculum is developed and supported by the professionals at Hamburger University and facilitated in the restaurant. For crew, this serves as a foundation for management and support-staff career paths.
Restaurant Managers progress their way through Shift Management and Systems Management courses while attending one of our 22 regional training centers. Once these courses have been completed, managers attend Hamburger University where they learn the additional knowledge and skills they need to run a multi-million dollar restaurant.
The Mid-Management learning path at Hamburger University is for business consultants and department heads. It builds on their leadership and consulting skills, teaching individuals how to effectively operate a business and how to coach and consult with others to run great restaurants.
The Executive Development learning path helps reinforce ongoing business and leadership skills for top management. The courses available at Hamburger University build upon the leadership competencies needed to support employees, owner/operators and sales growth. From Hamburger University

By Canadian Contributor Maria Doll ~ An etiquette coach, Maria has been conducting personal consultations, workshops, camps and seminars for children, teens and young adults since 2009.  Her etiquette program and company Leadership Matters has been featured in print, radio & television media. 

Norbert Elias and Etiquette

Norbert Elias meeting someone with a civilized handshake, 1987 ~ Über den Prozess der Zivilisation, or The Civilizing Process, by Norbert Elias (first published in German in 1939, then into English in  1969) describes the growth of civilization in Western Europe. Known as his greatest work, it provides a detailed study of the development of Western society's accepted code of manners and social behaviors, giving a historical perspective of the civilizing process and the process of expansion from the etiquette of nobility, or central governing authority, to the bourgeoisie, tracing the civilizing of man and manners, from the late Middle Ages to the 20th century.

Review of  The Civilizing Process 

One of the most interesting accounts of the rise of modern culture and politics in the past fifty years was Norbert Elias’s The Civilizing Process. His study begins by asking how the “modes of behaviour considered typical of people who are civilized in a Western way” were defined as the standard of civilized conduct. Through a careful survey of etiquette books and other documents dealing with topics like table manners, blowing one’s nose, spitting, the deportment of the body, facial expressions, and the control of bodily functions, Elias argues that Westerners went through a gradual and uneven affective transformation during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. By the end of the process, behaviors considered normal in the Middle Ages had been ruled “barbarous,” and the civilized separation from barbarity signaled major changes in feelings of delicacy, shame, refinement, and repugnance.

Erasmus’s highly popular treatise De civilitate morum perilium (1530) stands at the threshold of this development. On the one hand, Erasmus deals with bodily functions with a medieval candor that would make later generations blanch. He states his disagreement with those who recommend repressing a fart “by compressing the belly,” warning that such a practice is unhealthy and criticizing “fools who value civility more than health” by suppressing natural sounds and smells. If gas can be expelled without sound, Erasmus writes, “that is best. But it is better that it be emitted with a noise than that it be held back.” Vomit, further, is not disgusting; what is disgusting is “holding the vomit in your throat.”

Yet, at the same time, Erasmus was seeking to inculcate something of “modern” civilite. One’s step should be “neither too slow nor too quick,” for either extreme is vulgar. Erasmus’s book was part of a trend that increasingly turned away in disgust at forms of behavior that appear to have been normal among medievals. Giovanni Della Casa’s Galateo (1558), for instance, urges “modest, honourable” men not “to relieve nature in the presence of other people, nor to do up his clothes afterwards in their presence.” It is also bad form to “hold out the stinking thing for the other to smell, as some are wont, who even urge the other to do so, lifting the foul-smelling thing to his nostrils.”

Etiquette books inculcated a new style of living, deliberately distanced from the earthy rusticity of medieval manners and from the lower, peasant classes:
Modes of behaviour which in the Middle Ages were not felt to be in the least distasteful have increasingly become surrounded by feelings of distaste. The standard of delicacy finds expression in corresponding social prohibition. These taboos, so far as can be ascertained, are nothing other than ritualized or institutionalized feelings of displeasure, distaste, disgust, fear or shame, feelings which have been socially nurtured under quite specific conditions and which are constantly reproduced, not solely but mainly because they have become institutionally firmly embedded in a particular ritual, in particular forms of conduct.

Elias argues that these apparently minor changes were crucial in the rise of modern states. Changes in behavior helped form a courtly class and the extension of central courts’ power throughout various European societies. Beginning at court, refined behavior spread throughout society through the increasingly complex webs of social connection and interdependence that bound the court to the rest of society. If one wanted to be acceptable in court society, one needed to move, gesture, and speak with civility, and anyone interested in moving upward in the social hierarchy could not afford to be excluded from court society. New standards of behavior became badges of inclusion in court society, and were gradually internalized.
Norbert Elias (1897-1990)
Over time hardy warriors were transformed into effete courtiers. Medieval noblemen were largely independent of other noblemen, and largely independent of peasants and burghers. They expressed themselves with a swashbuckling freedom: An insulted knight struck out violently in defense of his honor. As victors emerged from the competition among well-armed medieval nobles, however, royal courts increasingly held a monopoly of force, and nobles were increasingly dependent upon kings, and on other nobles and even bourgeois tradesman and bureaucrats, for their own social standing and power. To get near the centers of power, one had to adopt a particular regimen of behavior, a regimen that held violent passions in check and maintained an air of politeness. Competitive politeness replaced the old military competition.

This situation required a complex response: On the one hand, nobles could maintain their status only by distinguishing themselves in dress and deportment from the rising bourgeois, while at the same time it was in the interests of nobles to convince everyone (not just nobles) that noble standards were the obvious standards of civilized conduct. These social pressures required courtiers to act and speak in stereotyped ways, suppressing not only their instincts for revenge but also lower bodily functions. The same regimen foregrounded refined bodily movements and conversation that did not include discussion of hemorrhoids, the smell of feces, constipation, or gas. Men who farted and laughed were no longer going to have a place at the king’s table. The transformation of manners is, for Elias, part of the story of the political centralization of Western states, and their monopolization of force, during the early modern period.

“Cultivation” came to be identical to the adoption of certain rituals of conduct, internalized in feelings of shame and revulsion, and this process is connected to the formation of a refined upper class that exercises power within a society as the constraint on body and emotions becomes a mark of membership in elite society.

A 2011 Review by Peter J. Leithart, for .org

Friday, June 27, 2014

Retro Etiquette for Teens and Telephones

Dick Clark's Teen Etiquette Advice Book

Regarding fighting over the phone, from the chapter Alexander Graham Bell:

I certainly haven't looked into the situation very deeply, but one friend of mine maintains that people fight more easily on the telephone then they do in person. There's a kind of sense to his remarks, however, but I find it hard to slough off. Since what you say on the telephone is not accompanied -- for the benefit of the person listening -- with the hand motions, eye motions, or lip motions that also communicate what you're feeling, there's a big danger that you will be misunderstood. Hunch your shoulders, look dismayed, and say, "But I told you I can't go to the movies tomorrow!" And what you're actually saying is, "Much as I'd really like to be with you, I don't see any way that I can make it, and I feel worse than you do about having to refuse the date." The hunched shoulders and look of dismay are missing from the telephone impression; what your friend might receive can sound pretty much like this:  "Look, I've got other things to do, and you keep nagging me about this unimportant movie date. Get off my back!" The old adage, think before you speak, is pretty important anytime, especially when you're on the telephone. 
The old adage, think before you speak, is pretty important anytime, especially when you're on the telephone. 
My friend also says -- and again I find it hard to disagree -- that people are bolder on the telephone than they are in person. In one way, that's good it sure is easier to invite a gorgeous girl to the junior prom by telephone then in person. If you've been scared that she'll turn you down. But in another way, it makes for heap of trouble I think we've all been guilty, at one time or another, of telling someone off via the Alexander Graham Bell in terms that we wouldn't dare use in a face to face meeting. Is so?
Now that's something to think on while you're waiting for your next dial tone!  From Dick Clark's 1963 etiquette advice book for teens, "To Goof or Not To Goof"  
Because you can't see people's faces by telephone (at present that is, but science promises to remedy this drawback very soon) your voice and what you say are very important.

Basic Manners ~
On the Telephone

Telephones are not walkie talkies for barking orders and emergency messages. When you play or received a telephone call, it's almost like greeting a guest at the door. Because you can't see people's faces by telephone (at present that is, but science promises to remedy this drawback very soon) your voice and what you say are very important.

When you answer the phone -- Say "Hello" in a pleasant voice. Don't say "Yes?" impatiently, or -- like a junior butler --- "Jimmy Jones' residence!"

If the call is for you, say "This is Jimmy speaking"; not "This is me."

If the call is for someone else in the family, say "Just a moment, please, and I'll call him." Then don't give out with an ear splitting scream, but go find the other person and tell him he's wanted on the phone.

When you are called to the phone, start by saying "Hello," instead of "Who is it?"

When the call is for someone who isn't home, say "My mother isn't at home; may I take a message?" Never hesitate to ask for the spelling of someone's name. Say, "Will you please spell your name for me?" if you're not sure of it.
Science's remedy to the drawback of not being able to see people's faces over the phone ~ the videophone.
When the doorbell rings when you're talking on the phone, say "Excuse me," answer the door and --- if they are friends -- invite them in, then return to the phone and tell your caller you'll have to call him back later.

The person who places a call should be the first to say goodbye. If you find this difficult at times, try saying "I have to finish my homework now" or "I have to go now; someone else wants to use the phone." You should limit the length of your telephone calls to five or six minutes and call your friends at reasonable times: never before breakfast or after 9 p.m. unless it's an emergency.
From "Stand up, Shake hands, Say 'How Do You Do' ~ What boys need to know about today's manners" 

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Bediquette: Vintage Etiquette for the Bedroom and Beyond

"Let it never be said that love is an Indolent calling ." Ovid

Bediquette : A Branch of Public Beducation

In an earlier treat – we mean, treatise we took the great American public right upstairs, and showed them the most universal thing in their lives, which is bed. We gave a few elementary ideas on how to get into it, how to lie in it correctly, and how to get out of it.

The darlings have known violent interest in these instructions.

They have been taught for years how to eat asparagus and green corn, and how to write a formal letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury. They know what to wear when invited to an afternoon wedding at the White House. Such things are merely etiquette. Hundreds of teachers have written millions of words about them, all those words ending at bedtime.

Our book goes higher. It goes straight into the bedroom. It discusses bediquette, the new social science intended for people so clever that they do not just hang up their good manners every night with their clothes. This is the first complete book on how to be knightly, nightly. We commend this subject to every intelligent reader as an important new branch of public beducation.

You can sleep just like Lucy and Ricky Ricardo, and on Easy Terms!


This is the oldest disease in the world, though it has never held a name until now. You know it. You probably have it. Don't tell us you don't know what it is. You've heard of Claustrophobia, and Hydrophobia, and even Silurophobia, haven't you? Silurophobia means "car fear." We have christened "Suzygophobia" from the Greek word "suzygos" which means "yoke-fellow" or "mate."
 Do you have Mate Fear? 
Do you have it worst at night? 
Do you approach the conjugal bedroom fearing everything that may happen to you in it? Would you rather plunge into a jungle that may contain a tiger than plunge into a bed that she really does contain your mate?
The cure for this awful disease is to leave this book where your ferocious mate will find and read it. Enclose it with a bunch of American Beauty roses, or folded into a bath towel, as your means may permit.
If the book doesn't teach your mate the rudiments of good and gentle behavior, your last recourse is a club. (The Union and The Colony Club are considered to be the two most refined hide-outs in New York.)
From Dr. Ralph Y. Hopton's and Anne Ballio's 1936 "Better Bed Manners" 

(1.) Good etiquette, for a man, is what ever makes a woman feel more like a woman, without making her feel weak minded. (2.) Good etiquette, for a woman, is whatever makes a man feel more like a man, without making him feel more harassed and put upon then he normally does anyway.

Lady Chatterly's Mistress: Men and Women and What to Do About It 

The subject of men and women versus etiquette is absolutely fraught with sex, which is as it should be. It is a good thing from other standpoints, too, for the fact greatly simplifies the approach to this chapter.

1. Good etiquette, for a man, is what ever makes a woman feel more like a woman, without making her feel weak minded.
2. Good etiquette, for a woman, is whatever makes a man feel more like a man, without making him feel more harassed and put upon then he normally does anyway.

These are the touchstones, then, against which to test any puzzling point of intersexual etiquette, whether in the elevator* or in the bed. For today, with each sex doing so many of the same things, and push buttons doing most of the rest, both men and women need occasional reminders as to which team they're on.

It has come to my attention that some people have, as a matter fact, forgotten. That is, some men would rather act like women, and some women would rather act like men, which makes for a certain confusion. But several books have already been written about this, so I won't need to go into it. This chapter will concern itself only with the old-fashioned clear-cut kind of people, of whom there are still many around. It will not concern itself, however, with the sex appeal factor (except in so far as it becomes as a happy side effect of observing points 1 and 2.)

Lady writers in particular are always advising other women on how to attract men: 14 ways to up your sex appeal**. And it is a curious fact that these pieces are often read and followed even by women who don't want any more sex appeal – say a woman who has so much already that she is in perpetual hot water, or a woman who privately considers the whole thing a great nuisance and doesn't really want to get to where all that sex appeal would probably lead her. Like a vegetarian going to a great deal of trouble to make friends with the butcher.

At any rate, before upsetting your applecart to do things those articles recommend. It's wise to take a look at the men attracted to the lady writer who is touting her own wiles. Of course, you seldom get a chance to – although, just once, I did. I met a couple of the men this charm expert had attracted, herself, and decided I'd sooner draw flies. So each to his own, and you can never tell. 

Actually, and the glorious fact is that everyone – flat-chested or bulbous,silent or talkative, rosy or sallow, tiny or tall – everyone appeals to someone, as a cursory glance at one's married friends will attest.

But who can make the rules? Some men think sultry perfume is sex appealing; others like a fresh soap and water smell, like a little child's  clean hair. Some women find a male mustache fetching; some find it scratchy. Many people haven't the slightest idea what they want until they marry it, or till they don't marry it and wish they had.

So let's get down to where the work is – right into the etiquette of going out together and being out together – before we go on to the matter of living together, around the house and in the bedroom. (Most etiquette books never get into the bedroom, but this one will, because, after all, a great deal of etiquette takes place there, or ought to.)

Before getting mired in some minor details (what woman actually cares much whether a man is on the outside or the inside of an ordinary suburban sidewalk?), we 'll look at some basics: for one thing, the etiquette of the invitation proffered female by the male.

To hear your apt to get some real sparklers: "Want  to go anywhere tonight, hon? " Or, "Nothing special you want to do, is there? " these approaches don't make a woman feel womanly, they make her feel either apathetic or domineering. (Now she'll have to think of something.)

What she would vastly prefer is the approach of a high school boy I know. He phones a girl and says, "I'm going to go see that Western at the Paramount tonight. Want to come? "If she doesn't, fine. He'll call somebody else. This lad will go far.

Some men would counter my thesis here with "yes, but she never wants to do what I want to do. "But this probably isn't so. If he clearly and enthusiastically wants to do it enough, she usually will – that is, if they like each other, and if they don't, what are we talking about?

Anyway, many women like men to fight harder for their rights. There's too much male docility around, these days, and it's taking a lot of fizz out of the battle between the sexes. Take the matter of who was supposed to go first.

Well, he is. Nearly every time. Common sense says so, and so does present-day etiquette, although many men have Ladies First  so firmly wedged into their heads they often hang back when they shouldn't. 

Women like men to go first. After all, the farmer walking six feet ahead of his wife across the cow pasture showed native gallantry, even when she was carrying the cow. He was blazing the trail around ditches and other unpleasant things she might have stepped in. A woman doesn't mind doing a little toting, so long as he will pioneer.

(If  ever saw a well-meaning man trying to get a woman through a revolving door headed him without knocking her hat off and her teeth in , you saw good example of misguided manners. He should have gone through first. Then she'd have followed, on his push.)

Look at some other instances: he goes up a ladder first, for reasons of delicacy and so you can give her an assist at the top. He gets into a cab first, so she need'nt scoot across the wide backseat to make room for him. Scooting is easier for someone and trousers. He goes first down a train corridor because it's going to take biceps to open those stubborn doors between the cars. If he has no biceps, this will develop them. He goes first down the theater if there's no Usher. (If there is, she goes first, close to the wandering pool of light from the ushers torch.) he goes first into a dark nightclub. This could be a nasty bistro, and he'd better lead the way. He goes first into a restaurant, it's no maître d' is there to greet them. Masterfully he finds a table. He climbs into a bus or streetcar first, to help her up. He gets off first, to help her down – unless it's crowded and she's nearest the door, in which case she'll just have to keep her eyes open and her wits about her and move.

An exception is escalators. Here she should go first – and she usually does, automatically, because she's on a high lope for the Dress Sale on Three. But he's supposed to be behind, anyway, to catch her if she slips.

Finally, he gets off a crowded elevator first if he's nearest the door. Women prefer this to being squashed by his gallantly hanging back. He should just get out. 

It's all quite simple, you see. He goes first when ever that's easier or safer for her.  

Sometimes a man finds it hard to play his proper role with aplomb or even with good will.  I asked a worldly man I know what annoys him most in the area of women and etiquette. After considerable thought, he said, "the woman who takes me for a salaried doorman when I hold the door for her in a public building." He thought some more. "And, "he added, "the forty women right behind her who know a good thing when they see it. "

Then, too, when a woman slams full tilt into a man and waits for him to apologize, or hogs the middle of the escalator step so no one can get around her, or forgets that her umbrella points on the average male's eye level, or that her free swinging 10 pound pocketbook is a first-class battering ram – Well,  she does her cause no good, for men find it hard to be gallant to a Sherman tank. But many men would enjoy being more courtly, it women would make it easier.

"... Pleasant as they have been, my years in the United States whatever more agreeable if American women had allowed me to kiss their hands... Despite my frustration, I still regard the kissing of a woman's hand as one of those small courtesies necessary for the preservation of the essential margin between men and women, which makes them both, in different ways, superior to each other and, therefore, again in different ways, and on a higher level, truly equal." -Romain Gary

Which isn't to say that she should be an entirely fragile blossom. Take modern car doors. Automotive companies pay high-priced talent to design latches that open at the touch of a pinky, and so Antoinnette might as well use hers. Or, if that is just more than she can bring herself to do, a man can correctly reach across her to open it for her.

A great deal of trivia has crept into intersexual etiquette, and that's a fact. For instance a man – saith the etiquette book – mustn't walk between two women, except when the Trio crosses a street. But if he's the only man they've got why mustn't he? The book says it's because he'd have to turn his face away from one of them in speaking to the other. But this isn't so terrible. Maybe each of the ladies enjoys having a man beside her, and if he weren't, she'd feel like Orphan Annie. Did they ever look at it that way?

Also, a man isn't supposed to take a woman's arm, and except when crossing the street. But if she is wearing spike heels, or if it is spring (as or summer, autumn, or winter) and they are in love, he certainly may. That's what this book says.

"A now famous Hollywood actor reveals his lower white-collar origins every time he sits down. He pulls up his trousers to preserve the crease." – Vance Packard

Consider Men's Hatiquette. It's simple, but many words have been wasted on it. Actually, all that matters is that he make sure his hat* is off whenever there's a roof or ceiling overhead – except for long covered thoroughfares like public halls and terminals, and in the Jewish Temple, and on special ceremonial or costumed  occasions.

Elevators are a moot point. Taking off his hat is a gracious gesture. But in a closed-packed elevator it can create more distress then joy you must elbow people and knock their hats off in the process.

He never has to take his hat off in the street, unless the flag goes by or stops. Not when a lady goes by or stops. The merest flick of the brim will suffice. And if it's a raw day, practical intersexual etiquette demands that he keep it securely on. Should he catch cold in his sinuses, some woman will probably have to nurse him or put up with him, and thus he has'nt proved to be so gallant in the long run.


"If men dine alone, 10 men together, how they dress*** I really don't mind. I'm not there. But if a man takes me out to dinner, I like him to smell of a nice soap, to wear his best suit, maybe a black tie, so that I can wear my nice little dress. I will know then he has kindness of heart, he has said to himself, 'I will make a little effort so that she can look her best'." – Louise De Vilmorin

Her point is well taken. Then, there are a few things she should remember, as well, and I am sure she does.

For one, not to keep him waiting too long before they even start out, while she decides that her makeup base is too light or her stockings too, well, purplish or something, and changes them. In most fair to good restaurants these days you need a miner's cap to read the menu by, anyway. Ten gets you twenty the man you're with won't notice what color stockings you're wearing, if any, but he'll certainly notice the three cigarettes he had to smoke while he waited.

She should carry the minimum equipment. If she knows she'll need a complete ballot and ring job by mid-evening, it's simpler to bring along a veil. I know a girl who tapes a lipstick, a dime, and a folded dollar bill above her knee (is she could slip them into her bra too) before she goes dining and dancing. This makes great sense – no swollen velvet pouch to end up in a man's pocket and make him heavy on his feet, or hers. (Of course, a girl must carry a small bag she is lost without Compact, cigarettes, and so forth. But it should have a wrist strap or loop, so she can wear it while she dances.)

As for mad money, you don't hear much about these days, a charge account at a cab company can be handy. It is a no-host evening, she won't need much money along, either. Sonia Goodkid always hands Bill Youngenbroke her contribution before they leave. Or if it is entirely her celebration, she'll have stopped in earlier and arranged with the restaurant to bill her later. (However, she better watch her step with this routine, or Bill will get the habit, and first thing you know, she'll be putting him through med school.)

A working girl, at any age in any job, pays for own lunch when she lunches with a man. Or, at any rate, she is expected to, unless this is a budding office romance (as most wives will assume it is, if their spouses lunch money starts disappearing with twice its usual feverish rapidity). She can give him a few dollars before they go into the restaurant – for her share of the bill – and hope she gets her change back

Or, if she knows he isn't sensitive about these things – and there's no reason he should be, at a business lunch – she can simply pay her own check and leave her own tip. Either way.

By the way, these financial matters should always be clearly understood all around, whether the situation is business or social. A woman I know gave a lavish restaurant party for three couples – she had been visiting in the city and this was the only way she could return their royal hospitality. The champagne flowed; she urged upon them the pressed duckling, the grapes after the fashion of Suzette, the brandy; and her guests needed little urging. Finally, when she asked for the check, it developed that one of the gentleman had already paid it. She protested, but he was adamant. All she could do was send him a note and a gift – a desk clock, it was. He owned to already, but she still feels indebted to her friends.

The worst female restaurant menace, according to men is the woman who stops to chat – standing – with acquaintances at another table. A man feels ungentlemanly if he doesn't rise, and uncomfortable if he can't sit down immediately thereafter. A sweet smile from the lady, and a brisk hello, are sufficient, before she strides on. If she has  to say something, she can send a note by the waiter.

Finally, to the matter of ordering. This is a male prerogative. Giving the order to the waiter will – back to our original touchstone – somewhat build the male ego, if he is knowledgeable about these things, and cares. But not if he isn't and doesn't. He'll properly consider it's not worth the effort, if the menu is abstruse, or if the lady shuffles nervously from Crab Thermidor to the Lamb Chops, with a short but dramatic pause at the Curry Indienne along the way. If she can see her way clear, or if she wants to discuss sauces with the waiter, she'd better do her own ordering.

If there are more than two people at the table, each had better order. The hosts usually can't remember all that. Like a wraparound skirt in a high wind, the whole thing is apt to blow up.

And so to a few rough notes on the Social Gathering, as it concerns men and women, and etiquette.

It is true that a man gets gold stars on a ladies ledger – which cancel some of the black marks on his rap sheet – when he tells her how pretty she looks ( or handsome or well put together, as the case may be) before they go to a party, or while they are en route. But he gets double credit for telling her once they get there, for then it has twice the impact. The reason is this: Before she leaves home, a woman is tolerably satisfied with how she looks (or she wouldn't have left). Indeed, she is often delighted with her appearance – the naked black basic, the company face – wholly different from the rather soul – shattering reflection the mirror handed her early that morning. But once they arrive, her innocent glory is apt to be dimmed by all the other naked black basics and company faces, which in her excitement she had forgotten would be there. At this point, especially, she must know how she stacks up, this is the time to tell her.

Still, this is a minor point. A major one – or, to put it another way, what makes women the maddest – is the male tendency to herd together, drinking and talking shop. Many a woman asked for it, with her crossfire chitchat about purely female concerns, which drives the man perforce into the tall timber where the bottle is. But many a woman who doesn't ask for it gets it, too, which can have unhappy repercussions. After all, she didn't put on her company face and her nice little dress just to swap tatting patterns with Irene and Thelma. She'd be glad to do it for a while, mind you, but not all night.

The fact is that the virtuous housewife – if she doesn't work outside the house – sees and talks to few males alone, except for the milkman and the little old codger in the Blanket Department twice a year at White Sales. And this party – she thought – would be a chance to shine a little, showing a few pretty facets that may have rested a bit at the kitchen sink. If she doesn't get to go – if, on the contrary, she goes home feeling like the little woman in the tight permanent, with a pocket full of tuna recipes – she'll feel like kicking the cat.

This sorry state of affairs, with the sexes is getting no practice in attracting and interesting each other, is often reflected in a certain lackluster performance in the bedroom, particularly where our heroine is concerned. Nothing has come alive for her, including herself, though the moon shine ne'er so brightly over the cow shed.

* "An almost outmoded grace that still thrills me actually is to have a man take his hat off an elevator when I enter. It makes me feel feminine and cherished – makes me feel, and act, much nicer for at least half an hour." ~ Kay Taylor

 ** I don't know what makes them think they're auricles. It's common knowledge that female writers and resemble either horses or birds, and their fingers are usually smudgy from changing typewriter ribbons.

***This goes for the convention hats with the funny tassels, too. Sometimes the boys forget, and keep them on and restaurants.

                    From Peg Bracken's 1959, "I Try To Behave Myself"

Compiled and submitted by Demita Usher of Social Graces and Savoir Faire

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Retro Etiquette for the 1950's Businessman

You may have to appoint her chairman of a committee to look into the company's telephone manners, ask her to "get the girls together"...


To: Men who can't be bothered with "all that etiquette nonsense"
From: the editors

We solemnly swear that this book will not tell you:
1. how things should be done to please delicate ladies tsk-tsk ing over the teacups in their Victorian bowers
(Instead, it tells you how things are done, by practical men who know their way around in these high-pressure days.)

2. how to set a table, manage a wedding, furnish your house or christen a baby
(But it tells you how to handle women who care about such matters -- and it might help you sign up a Lady who has an etiquette book of her own.)

3. how to make a million dollars, break 70 on the golf course or marry a beautiful heiress
(But it may keep you from making a fool of yourself while you're trying!)

With the help of experts in every field -- experts who form our board of advisory editors -- we've ruthlessly cast aside all forms which no longer make sense in the world of today. 

We've been especially rough on those ladylike rules which are not comfortable and natural for a man to follow. In their place, you will find new and current guides on everything from tippling to tipping, from courting to sporting.

We think this book will save you a lot of trouble -- and not a few embarrassing moments.

We think it will help put you at ease in what ever strange situation you come up against.

We know it will work ... so we hope you'll put The New Esquire Etiquette to work for you.

We think this book will help put you at ease in what ever strange situation you come up against.

From "Your Secretary"

Your secretary represents you. You're the one who will be marked down if she manages to rub other people the wrong way -- and she can do it in a minute if she has developed the habit of asking "Who's calling?" over the telephone, or if she relays your orders as though they were her own -- so in the end you're the one who will have to tell her how to seem polite and helpful even as she turns away your callers, prods your juniors, lies to your seniors or otherwise looks after your interests.

When she new, it's easy.  You just sit her down, as a sort of confidential partner in your business of getting ahead, and tell her exactly how you want things done. She can't be offended by the orientation approach I'm sure you know this already but... Hand her this book, if you're pressed for time, or buy her a copy of Communications Handbook for Secretaries*, but manage to let her know that you notice and you care how she handles other people for you.

When she has already had time to settle into some of the bad habits discussed below, the job of correcting her is a bit touchy. You may have to appoint her chairman of a committee to look into the company's telephone manners, ask her to "get the girls together" to discuss a general letting-down you've noticed on the subject of businesslike dress in the office, or assign her to collect materials for a memo you want to write the office manager about business etiquette. You can be sure, however, that it will be worth whatever trouble you have to take to bring your secretary's manners up to a par with her stenography. If she is smooth she can be more effective, for you.

Before you start criticizing your secretary's manners, however, perhaps you had better take a look at your own manners toward your secretary.
* By Lucy Graves Mayo, one of our advisory editors

Show wives and kiddies what Daddy does all day
From "Your Wife and Your Work"

KEEP HER OUT OF IT, if you can.

You are lucky if she knows enough about the ways of the business world to act as a suitable sounding board -- or enough about the ways of womanhood to provide needed relief from business pressures. In a company where a certain amount of social mixing is necessary, you're lucky if she is a good hostess endowed with the knack of putting people at ease (a knack which usually includes empathy, the art of small talk and a nice sense of timing in the expression of controversial opinion.) It's nice if she wants what you want in your career; it helps if she understands when you have to work hard and late.

But -- note -- all these qualities operate AT HOME.

Your wife should stay out of your office, except by infrequent appointment to meet you there or except by invitation to one of those Open House events some companies stage in order to show wives and kiddies what Daddy does all day.

She should stay off your office wire, except on matters which can't await your call or your return home. And even when the mission itself has your approval, she should never deal directly with your employees or fellow-workers.

If she doesn't know these things instinctively, you'll have to risk telling her outright. Explain it in terms of "appearances," a concept women are usually quick to appreciate, and she shouldn't resent the lesson.

For your part, you should avoid dragging her name, activities or opinions into the business day. She's not a skeleton (we hope) to be kept hidden in a closet, but too many men quote their wives too often to hold the interest (and respect) of their associates. It may be true that the road to success is crowded with wives pushing their husbands along -- but try not to let it show in your case!

And by the way: when and if you do refer to your wife in a business conversation, do not speak of her as "MrsYourName." Call her "my wife" or, if the person you are speaking to knows her well enough to know her first name, "Mary." The reason is simple; in social usage, a man refers to his wife as "MrsHisname" only in speaking to servants and children. So using that form in business, even though the business rule is not so clear-cut, sounds a note of condescension.

The New Esquire Etiquette 1953