Monday, August 31, 2015

Etiquette and "Mother's Secret"

He looks angelic, but were his manners as assured and correct as those of a grown man?
I once knew a lady whose son, a little lad of ten, was the admiration of everyone for his beautiful manners. While he was perfectly simple, frank and boyish, his manners were as assured and correct as those of a grown man. His mother could send him in a carriage alone to the station to bring a lady guest from the station, certain that he would give her every needful attention. He would take the checks, care for the baggage and bring her to the house with every courtesy. And always when visitors were at his home, he did his little share of entertaining them. He was quick to wait upon them and to show them every respect, and, though he was not forward, he was ready to converse with them if they seem so inclined.

"How do you manage it? What course of training do you pursue?" People used to inquire. "Well," I heard his mother answer, laughingly, at one time, "for one thing I never snubbed him. He has no idea that there are people in the world who do not like boys. He supposes that everybody is as friendly as himself. Then I have always brought them up to take care of me, and to be polite to me, and I am as careful to be considerate and courteous to him as I am to his father. So he never has to be put on his good manners; they are the habit of his life. I think that is all about there is to it." —From American Youth, 1893



Etiquette Enthusiast, Maura J. Graber, is the Site Moderator for Etiquipedia© Etiquette Encyclopedia

Proper Place Setting Etiquette

Correctly drawn diagram of a place setting, with no more than 3 forks on the left. If a 4th fork was to be added on the left, it would replace the cocktail fork, and the cocktail fork would be moved to the right of the place setting, and to the right of the knife. 
In the United States' Colonial period, the only flatware on a dining table was a knife, fork, and possibly a spoon, for each person. With stacked tablecloths, one atop another for each course, explain Wendell and Wes Schollander, in the book Forgotten Elegance, "Part of the reason for this was that the tablecloth was removed after every course. To have a lot of silver and many glasses on the table would have made the removal of the tablecloth too hard.           
The fork is the only utensil that can be found at three sides of a place setting. 
When the change to service à la Russe took place in the 1860s and 1870s, the tablecloth stayed in place throughout the entire meal. In addition, the servants were busy carving and serving food. It now made sense to put out all the silver the diner would need and leave it there throughout the entire meal. The footman had other things to do and less time to hand out silverware. In addition, the mechanization of the production of silverware, together with a drop in the price of silver, meant the host now acquired more silverware. 
 An individual"bird knife and fork" in the Chantilly pattern. The game course could consist of partridge, pheasant, duck, woodcock, snipe or other popular birds eaten in the 1800's. The bird knife was the forerunner of the steak knife we know today, after a serrated edge was added.
There were some practical limits. Clearly if the hostess put out the eight or ten forks one would use at a formal meal, the diners would be too spread out to comfortably talk to each other. Convention quickly settled on three or four forks as the maximum number the hostess could put out so guests could still talk easily to their neighbors. For some twenty years after the Civil War there was disagreement about whether three or four forks were proper.        
The three forks on the left, as set for a formal meal, match with the corresponding knives on the right. This formal dinner setting's menu included a caviar first course, a cream soup second course, a fish course, a dinner course, then a salad course, then dessert. The utensils directly above the plate are always for dessert, (save the salt, pepper, or condiment spoon and possibly a butter spreader.)

In the end, three forks won out – perhaps because the game course became less common. But, because this was a change and an arbitrary number, it was necessary to keep reminding people that they should never put out more than three forks at a table setting." –From the book, "Forgotten Elegance"


Etiquette Enthusiast, Maura J. Graber, is the Site Moderator for Etiquipedia© Etiquette Encyclopedia

Etiquette's Ruth Ashmore


The 19th Century Etiquette Advice Columnist for Young Women and Girls

"Ruth Ashmore,"was the brainchild of Edward Bok, of the Ladies Home Journal. It was also the "nom de plume" of writer, Isabel A. Mallon (1857 - 1898), who also wrote under that name. After Bok had taken over the Ladies Home Journal in 1889, he sought a motherly columnist who could provide useful advice to young girls. Unable to find one, he wrote a sample of "Side Talk with Girls" under the name "Ruth Ashmead" to demonstrate exactly what he was looking for in a column.

After he mislaid the draft copy, his staff read it and convinced him to run it in the magazine, as it was the "best stuff for girls they have ever read." After the first column appeared, Ashmead was soon changed to Ashmore, and in January 1890, hundreds of letters poured in to "Ruth Ashmore." Bok convinced Isabel Mallon to take over the popular column, and she later went on to write two books for girls and young women.



Etiquette Enthusiast, Maura J. Graber, is the Site Moderator for Etiquipedia© Etiquette Encyclopedia


Etiquette and Pinky Fingers

Please keep your “pinky” curled, and we'll offer you some of these yummy treats.  
Many people mistakenly think, and actually still teach others, that one’s pinky finger should be extended when one is drinking tea from a cup. This is not considered proper by any trusted etiquette authorities. It is what is commonly known as an “affectation” that has been promoted by television and the media for some time now, just as women eating and drinking while wearing gloves, has been promoted in period dramas and films. As Judith Martin put it, these little nuances help with what "is evidently intended to add a touch of what passes for 'class.'” However, they are absolutely incorrect.
Curl your fingers as much as you can.
Many anthropologists and sociologists believe this habit was acquired hundreds of years ago, when the poor servants of the wealthy landowners and royalty in Europe, watched how their “Lords and Ladies” dined. They believe the servants picked up the habit of keeping a finger extended while drinking and dining.
And look, we don't thrust our pinky fingers out to pour the tea, either...
Only the wealthy could afford to purchase salt and exotic spices, like nutmeg, at their tables. Foods were eaten with one’s hands and a knife. Utensils were not used at many tables then. When dining, these wealthy people would keep the “pinky” finger extended when scooping up foods so that they could keep grease off of that finger. The finger could then be dipped into the salt or spices needed to season their foods. This kept grease and food particles out of the dishes holding the spices.
                          
Pinky fingers are perfect for "pinky rings," not for sticking out while drinking tea.
Others think it started when tea and handle-less cups from China became popular in Europe. They believe tea drinkers would keep the pinky out because the cup was too hot to hold. However, the Chinese have never extended fingers in that manner, nor have the Japanese when drinking tea from cups without handles, so why would the British? The cups that Chinese use, still do not have handles to this day. These cups are held in the palm of the hand. Old artwork from the time, proves this as well.

Old artwork can be very helpful in showing a period as it truly was lived.

Aside from that, coffee houses at which hot coffee was served in cups, were very fashionable in England, prior to tea drinking becoming the trend. There is no debate though on how to drink coffee from a cup with regard to pinky fingers being ridiculously thrust out. The only debate with coffee, is that in many countries, it is still socially acceptable for one to pour his or her hot coffee into the saucer, in order for it to cool down to a drinkable temperature more quickly. Pouring one's coffee into the saucer to drink, has not been socially acceptable in many other countries, since the early to mid-1800s.
Here are two etiquette violations in one image~ Drinking with gloves on and sticking the pinky finger out.
Today, most all etiquette authorities agree; The proper way to hold a tea cup is with one or two fingers of the right hand put through the hole of the cup handle, while balancing the cup with your thumb on the top of the handle. Your other fingers should be curled beneath the handle.




Etiquette Enthusiast, Maura J. Graber, is the Site Moderator for Etiquipedia© Etiquette Encyclopedia

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Etiquette and "Thinking French"

Manners are a form of human progress; man in the twentieth century has not only reached the moon, he is advanced to the stage where spitting is considered indecent.

"Another treatise on savoir-faire defines manners prettily as the 'fusion of the movements of the mind and the heart.' Manners, it goes on, are a form of human progress; man in the twentieth century has not only reached the moon, he has advanced to the stage where spitting is considered indecent. There have, of course, been regressions, as when Edward VII made eating asparagus with one's fingers fashionable. 

But politeness is not restricted to table manners. There is, for instance, the politeness of the bed. On his wedding night, the husband should, like *Renan, 'masturbate in the bathroom so as not to pester his bride.' This mixture of the practical and romantic is the mark of a people who have managed to combine the  unashamed celebration of instinct with a multitude of small, complicated observances.
Victorian asparagus server ~ It was Edward VII who made eating asparagus with one's fingers fashionable. 
More than the mechanical practice of etiquette, politeness in its highest form is a state of mind, a path to virtue, a philosophical system which teaches how to cushion the rude shocks of life. It permits, in French society, what Henry James calls 'the inarticulate murmur of urbanity.' At its most refined, it is a cross between Confucian politeness based on mastery over oneself and the maieutic system of Plato, in which ideas are brought out through questioning.  It postulates that the oblique is better than the direct. If someone tells you what you already know, appear grateful. Never say 'you misunderstood me,' but 'I explained myself badly.' 

When someone asks about your health, it is to be told 'I am well, thank you,' and not to be given a medical bulletin. This was Swann's great mistake. Never praise too highly and never condemn outright. Do not say 'de Gaulle's speech was terrible,' but 'too much had been expected of the speech for it to be anything but disappointing.' The goal of conversation is to sustain a high level of urbanity. It is less important to be good or moral or honest than to be well brought up. This is an attempt to salvage order and cohesion in social relations, and it is also protection against intimacy, for it encourages and maintains a minimal distance even between close friends.
Ernest Renan, French philosopher, historian, and scholar of religion, a leader of the school of critical philosophy in France • 1823 —1892
The observance of the proprieties forbids the investigation of motives. As Chamfort said: 'I have renounced the friendship of two men; the first because he never spoke to me of himself and the second because he never spoke to me of myself.' This form of courtesy becomes second nature, remembered in the most extreme moments. The Marquis de Montaignac, competing in the first French automobile race, doffed his hat while passing another car near Perigueux, sideswiped it, and landed in a ditch. His dying words: 'I excuse you entirely, you are not to blame, it was I who struck you, please accept my most heartfelt apologies.'

Modern life seems less and less suited to such exacting standards, and in recent years, France has singled itself out as the country where motorists are most violent to one another. The reverse of politesse is a rudeness that quickly escalates to violence and homicide. The same people who once considered it essential to wear hats so they could doff them, now kill one another over parking space." From Sanche de Gramont's, 1969 "The French - Portrait of a People"

*Ernest Renan, French philosopher, historian, and scholar of religion, a leader of the school of critical philosophy in France • 1823 —1892


Etiquette Enthusiast, Maura J. Graber, is the Site Moderator for Etiquipedia© Etiquette Encyclopedia

Friday, August 28, 2015

Etiquette: The French Politesse

  Anne d'Arpajon, aka "Madame Etiquette" ~A French aristocrat and first lady of honour to Queens of France, Marie Leszczyńska and Marie Antoinette, Anne d'Arpajon was called"Madame Etiquette" by Marie Antoinette for her insistence that no minutia of court etiquette ever be disregarded or altered in any way.
   (Above is Judy Davis, playing "Madame Etiquette" to Kirsten Dunst's Marie Antoinette, in the movie of the same name.)

France has maintained a ceremonial tradition directly derived from the usages of court life, when a breach in protocol could cost a courtier his apartment at Versailles, when royal infants were born in public, and when foreign princesses arriving to wed the French King were requested to disrobe completely at the border and change into French clothes. France has an almost oriental sense of decorum. As a Chinese professor told Giraudoux: 'Our countries were made to get along. They are the only ones which both have a cuisine and a politesse.'  

But with the Jacobin reaction against the courtly tradition, good manners were denounced as a class weapon. There arose a countertradition of deliberate gruffness. Rudeness in the Jacobin mentality was a way for the common man to affirm his equality. If you called a man a bougre  or a jean-foutre (the two most common Jacobin epithets)  you showed that you were as good as he was. In contemporary France these two traditions coexist. 

Visitors are baffled by the tangle of perfect courtesy and incredible rudeness. This does not mean that some Frenchmen are rude and others are polite. It means that the same man who kisses a lady's hand in a drawing room will half an hour later be grossly insulting to a fellow motorist at a red light. Such inconsistency is only possible because good manners are considered a form of currency which makes it possible to obtain certain amenities in life and thus should be used thriftily and not on strangers.

The polite tradition is considered a rampart of French civilization, a code of behavior which makes life in society possible. Since the 12th century, books on etiquette have been advising the French on how to mop up the sauce and blow their noses. In 1559 Mathurin Cordier wrote in his Mirror of Youth for the Formation of Good Manners and Civility: 'If you blow your nose with two fingers and snot falls on the ground, place your foot over it.' 

Politeness in the French sense is not natural, but contrived. It is precisely because it is artificial that it is recognized as a mark of special attention. It is, as Montesquieu remarked, an embellishment. To present his hand to a lady passing from one room to another he rushes toward her as though she were in danger of falling; he runs to pick up a glove or a handkerchief with as much precipitation as if he were withdrawing it from a fire.

The French gendarmerie's book of etiquette, which is called Advice from an Old to a Young Gendarme describes the correct way to shake a hand:  'The way to shake a hand is equally a sign of good education. It must not be squeezed, or brandished, or slackly dropped. The shaking of the hand must be straightforward and without brusqueness. Too brief, it is discourteous; too prolonged, it indicates a familiarity which is permitted only among intimates.'  Attention must be paid this basic daily ritual of French life. The factory foreman spends ten to fifteen minutes each morning shaking the hands of all the workers in his keep. The busy waiter in a café, his hands wet from rinsing cups and saucers, extends his folded elbow like an amputee to regular customers. Ostracism in France is to spend a day without shaking anyone's hand." — From Sanche de Gramont's, 1969 "The French - Portrait of a People"


Etiquette Enthusiast, Maura J. Graber, is the Site Moderator for Etiquipedia© Etiquette Encyclopedia

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Etiquette for Business in China

Author Sharon Schweitzer in Beijing at the Chinese Real Estate Chamber of Commerce


Business Dress/Appearance


The Mao jacket has gone and conservative professional attire is now seen in the commercial world. Appearance and first impressions are important in Chinese business circles. Wealth is admired. Men and women wearing tailored, well-made suits are considered successful. Men usually wear suits and ties in conservative and neutral colors. 


Most women wear modest suits, pantsuits, dresses or skirts with low two- to three-inch heels. For men and women, lightweight suits are appropriate during the summer and in southern regions. Designer clothing, high-quality shoes, and minimal accessories are recommended. Name brands signify your rank and status in the hierarchy.

Gifts


Gifts are exchanged at initial and later meetings; coordinate these in advance with an internal source. Purchase more gifts than anticipated for those you may meet unexpectedly. Use both hands to present and receive. More senior members receive different gifts that are not expensive. Beautifully wrap gifts in red or gold; avoid black or white paper.

Business gift ideas include items made domestically and small office items including pens, trays, bowls, and corporate and desk memorabilia. Businesswomen enjoy cosmetics and silk scarves. 

Avoid Scotch, clocks, straw sandals, a stork or crane, or handkerchiefs. 

White and black items represent mourning; scissors, knives, and cutlery represent the severing of relationships.

Introductions, Greetings, Personal Space


In China, greetings include a slight bow of 30 degrees from the shoulders, for three seconds. Observe whether your host offers to shake hands. International businesswomen may need to extend a hand to indicate they are willing to shake hands. Handshakes are not as firm as in the West; expect a softer, briefer handshake. 

Applause may occur as a greeting; applaud in response.

Introductions are formal and usually involve an intermediary. Rank and status determine greeting. Not everyone present may necessarily be greeted or introduced. Chinese stand two arms’ lengths apart and avoid physical contact.


Lower your eyes when bowing.


Holidays and Festivals


Some Chinese holidays are determined by the lunar calendar and change from year to year. Floating holidays are designated with an asterisk. On certain holidays, an office may remain open with limited staff. Check with your embassy or trade office before planning business travel.

Chinese business slows considerably during the Spring Festival. Avoid business visits during this two- to three-week holiday period. 

Chinese Holidays and Festival Dates

January 1–2 New Year’s Day
Late January/February Spring Festival and Chinese New Year∗
April Ching Ming Festival (Tomb Sweeping Day)∗
March 8 International Women’s Day
May 1 Labor Day
May 4 Youth Day
June 1 Children’s Day
June Duanwu Festival or Dragon Boat Festival∗
July 1 Anniversary of Founding of the Communist
Party of China
August 1 People’s Liberation Army Day
September Mid-Autumn Festival∗
October 1-3 National Day∗

                                                       
From our newest Contributor, Sharon Schweitzer JD. Sharon is a cross-cultural consultant, corporate trainer, and the international award winning author of Access to Asia. Her work and travels have taken her to over 60 countries on 7 continents. With over 20 years’ experience providing consulting and training to more than 100,000 attorneys and corporate executives in law firms and global corporations, Sharon's been quoted by the New York Times, Fortune Magazine, and numerous international media outlets. Connect with her at Sharon Schweitzer or find her new book at Access to Asia


Etiquette Enthusiast, Maura J. Graber, is the Site Moderator for Etiquipedia© Etiquette Encyclopedia

Monday, August 24, 2015

Etiquette Playing "Whist"

The Amalgamated Female Whist Players of America? "If you are a bystander, walk around the table and look over the hands of the players."


"Rules That Scientific Players Will Most Certainly Approve"


The following eight rules, which were adopted by the third annual congress of the Amalgamated Female Whist Players of America, are formulated to prevent the learner from unintentionally making the game dull and uninteresting. They should be carefully memorized by the beginner:


First — Conversation during play is limited strictly to the weather, fashion, society, the drama, music, art, sports, the new woman, the last few tricks taken and everything else that may tend to break the tiring monotony habitual to the new players. The success of the game depends on this.


Second —Each player should at once throw out a hint as to the quality of her hand, her satisfaction or dissatisfaction with it, and her approval or disapproval of each play. This will make you a popular partner with the men.


Third—A player should never wait to lead until the preceding trick is turned and quitted. Delays of this sort are always unnecessary and make the game slow.


Fourth —Never fail, as the second trick is turned, to inquire what is trump. Repeat the inquiry at short intervals throughout the band. This is the easiest way to fix it indelibly in your memory.


Fifth—Frequently a card should be played in such a manner as to call particular attention to it. If you think your partner is not aware of it, touch your card and say: "Now, remember, I played that!" He might have finished the game with the impression that it had played itself. 



Sixth—When you have played the highest in suit, and it is your partner's play, never fail to remind him that it is your trick. He might think it belonged to your uncle in California.


Seventh—When you are accused of revoking stoutly deny it. If it is proved against you, you can explain at length just how you came to do it. If you discover your own revoke, never fail to revoke a second time. In this way the first error will escape notice for a little longer. This will make all the men glad they are in the game.


Eighth—If you are a bystander, walk around the table and look over the hands of the players. Do not forget to call frequent attention to the game during the play of each hand. This will prevent your husband's friends from feeling neglected. — Los Angeles Herald, 1896







Etiquette Enthusiast, Maura J. Graber, is the Site Moderator for Etiquipedia© Etiquette Encyclopedia

Etiquette and Card Games

"Betting at cards is vulgar and something to be avoided. The habits of English society, however, sanction the staking of small sums, but even this is to be discountenanced as far as may be." Vingt-et-un is French, and literally is translated to "twenty-one." It's first known use was in 1772. Refers to American "Blackjack" when card playing.
Entertaining and Card Playing

Refusing to Play  
Never urge any one who seems to be unwilling to play a game of cards. They may have conscientious scruples in the matter which must be respected.

It is not kind, however, to refuse to play, if conscience does not dictate the refusal, when a game cannot be made up without you.


Understanding, The Game 
Do not attempt to play, however, unless you know the game moderately well, for it is especially unjust, if you have a partner, to allow him or her to suffer through your ignorance.

Precedence In Cards 
In a game of cards married and elderly people take the precedence over young and unmarried ones.

Proposing A Game Of Cards 
It is the privilege of the host and hostess to suggest cards as a means of amusement for their guests. The latter should never call for them. 

On the other hand, cards should not be brought out at every visit, because some might prefer conversation to playing.
It is best in large assemblages to furnish the cards and tables, and allow the guests to play or not at their option, now and then exercising a little friendly aid in seeking for people disposed to play in making up a game.

New Cards 
New cards should be provided on every occasion.

Husband And Wife Playing Together 
Husband and wife should not play together in the same game, either as partners or antagonists, for they are so well acquainted with each other's modes of playing that they possess an unfair" advantage over others.

Cheating At Cards 
Never violate the rules of a game, and by all means never be guilty of cheating. If, however, you detect another guilty of either of these breaches of good manners, either point out the error or the intentional wrong in a quiet manner or let it pass.

Never get excited or lose your temper. People who are liable to these irregularities had best abstain from playing altogether.

"Whist" 
Do not keep up a continuous conversation during a game, which will distract your own mind and that of others from the cards. Give your whole attention to the matter in hand, and procure at least comparative silence. "Whist" is defined in Webster "a game of cards so called because it requires silence and close attention."

Haste In Playing 
Never hurry any one who is playing. It is necessary, in playing their best, that they should take their own time without interruption.

Betting At Cards 
Betting at cards is vulgar and something to be avoided. The habits of English society, however, sanction the staking of small sums, but even this is to be discountenanced as far as may be.

Meddling With The Cards 
Never finger the cards whilst they are being dealt. Not only do not actually look at the cards before they are all dealt out, but do not seem to do so. Let your cards lie before you until all are dealt and you are at liberty to take them in your hand.

Chess And Other Games 
The rules of etiquette concerning cards apply with equal force to chess and all other games of skill or chance.

Knowledge Of Cards And Other Games 
It is desirable, unless we have religious scruples in the matter, that we should all have a tolerable knowledge of these various games, in order that we may contribute to the amusement of others, and not run the risk of being accused of being selfish and impolite.— E.B. Duffey, 1877

Etiquette Enthusiast, Maura J. Graber, is the Site Moderator for Etiquipedia© Etiquette Encyclopedia

Etiquette and Publicity

Etiquette reminder for those with a love of publicity: "There will be always a publicity naturally resulting from our political and social institutions which can not be avoided. It behooves us, therefore, to augment its good and diminish its ill effects as far as it lies in our power." 

Love of Publicity


Political institutions, by their recognition of the equal rights of all men, call upon each individual to manifest himself. Every American being thus not only free to speak and act, but feeling it his duty to do so, becomes, more or less, a public man. The political influence

extends to the social habits, and we have, in consequence, but little privacy of life.

Our love of publicity is shown by the gregarious modes in which we live and move. That great caravansary, the American hotel, is a characteristic expression of the national protest against individual separateness. It is constructed on the principle that it is not good for any human being to be alone except when he is asleep, and even then it is not seldom that he is provided with one or more companions. The bedrooms are made just large enough to lie down in, and are evidently only designed for that purpose. 
These, thrust far away under the eaves, are ordinarily the only provision for the individual. The rest, composing much the larger and most accessible part of the structure, is appropriated to the public, for whom, moreover, all the splendor and convenience are exclusively furnished. 

So much is the American hotel constructed for the especial advantage of the aggregate many, and so little are the requirements of the particular one considered, that, while thousands are feasted there luxuriously at certain hours every day, no single hungry man can, at any other moment, get a chop or a potato to save himself from starving. In traveling the same gregarious practices obtain, and no one, however tender of body and fastidious in mind, can entirely escape the nudge of the elbow or the shock from the words of a rude neighbor.

This shaking together, so universal with us, has not been without its marked effects upon the character and manners of our people. The good may be thought by some to transcend the bad. It has led, undoubtedly, to a fuller recognition of common interests and mutual obligation, and thus humanized the multitude. Meeting together as we all do on the road and the road-side, in the enjoyment of the same cheaply-purchased privileges, we are forced, temporarily at least, to a social equality, which can not fail to elevate the spirit of the humble and check the aspirations of the proud.

One of the worst effects of the gregarious system is the perpetual intrusiveness of the many upon the retirement which is at times necessary and pleasing to each person. The uniformity of sentiment, moreover, which is apt to result, and overbear the private judgment and the individual conscience, may be also considered as one of the most serious evils. There is a certain boldness, too, of manners, which is more observable and offensive in the young than in others, which is traceable to the publicity of American life.

We should, particularly in this country, cultivate domestic privacy as the best check to the excessive tendency to gregariousness. We, on the contrary, are apt to cultivate the latter at the expense of the former; thus the practice common with us of living in hotels and boarding-houses, where that reserve so necessary to the development of the individual character and the acquisition of modest manners is impossible.

There will be always a publicity naturally resulting from our political and social institutions which can not be avoided. It behooves us, therefore, to augment its good and diminish its ill effects as far as it lies in our power. As we can not get rid of each other, let us make ourselves mutually useful and agreeable by the improvement of our sentiments and manners. With the greater publicity in America, public opinion is necessarily more extensive in its influence, and therefore it is especially important that it should be exerted in favor of the good and beautiful. 
The Bazar Book of Decorum, 1870


Etiquette Enthusiast, Maura J. Graber, is the Site Moderator for Etiquipedia© Etiquette Encyclopedia

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Etiquette and Manners at Home

Good manners shouldn't be shed, like tight collars and irritating shoes, when the family is sheltered beneath its roof.

There are many books published on "Social Etiquette," "Polite Form of Public Society," and "The Ethics of Smart Society," all conducing to the highly polished manners and conversation of men and women when associating together as "company." Yes, it's "company manners" and "company talk" that are made much of in printed volumes, large and small, cheap and expensive in price.

In comparison, the output concerning "Home Manners," "Domestic Politeness," and "Family Courtesy," is startlingly small. Perhaps this scarcity of elucidation of conjugal and parental and filial courtesy, in print, may be held accountable for a large share of the lack of good home manners – since this lack of kind and gentle treatment of others is so seriously apparent in the large majority of homes.

Even when bad home manners are not at all abusive, they are tinged with a certain unkindness that blurs a moral perception of each member of the family. This tends to a certain mental laxity that bodes evil for the citizenship.

How much more important then, is domestic courtesy then the ethics of smart society to a standard of responsible municipal government! Bad home manners conduce to unhappiness and crime. Unhappiness and crime are conditions of all the people.

Polite forms of smart society conduce to the polish and glitter of a part of the people, the comparatively small part known as the wealthy and aristocratic. But, even this small part that has use for, and practices, the ethics of smart society is more or less tinctured with the unhappiness and crime that accrues from bad manners in its homes.

Dean Hole said, in a magazine, that he once rebuked a woman because her children were ill-behaved when he visited the home. "Lor' bless you, sir," replied this woman, boys and young 'uns must have some place where they can enjoy themselves."

Clearly, this woman felt that polite language and gentleness toward others were species of cruel restraint, that had no free-to-all place, in the happiest home. Apparently she believed that good manners should be shed, like tight collars and irritating shoes, when the family was sheltered beneath its roof.

There are scores of folks like the children of this woman. They don't enjoy good manners. They delight in freedom from a sense of being made to behave by the other fellow who demands the half-way, right of way, out in the open. They take that freedom in the home. Since each member of the family is apt to take this freedom at the same time, trouble may be predicted.

The larger part of matrimonial dissension, including divorce, is due to the bad manners of husbands and wives in homes. A discourtesy, a challenging criticism, an ironical retort – and the row begins! Then there are rows and rows that develop into mutual bitterness of spirit and estrangement.

Max O'Rell tales of a man saying to him: "Brown is a most peculiar and finicky chap. He takes his hat off to his wife when he meets her in the street. He turns over the pages of music when she plays on the piano for him. Just as if she were a stranger."

There's not a bit of doubt that Brown showered this kind of "peculiar" treatment upon the girl while courting her. Indeed, "the man" would have dubbed Brown an ordinary fool had he not lavished pleasant attentions upon the girl. Provided Brown wanted to win the girl as his wife, and the wedding was proof that he did. But when married, "the man" seemed to count Brown as a good deal of an oddity for being as courteous to his wife as to the girl he courted.

Frederick Leighton relates that a man entered a hotel parlor hastily and rather rudely brushed against a woman, so that his cuff button caught in her hair. He scowled, and in doing so glanced into the woman's face. Quickly he took on a gracious attitude and said: "I beg your pardon, madam; I thought you were my wife, and I was in a hurry."

Alas for the domestic atmosphere of that man and his nuptial mate, since his policy is that any kind of manners will do for a wife! However, by the same token, their wives a-plenty who consider a courtesy misplaced when bestowed upon her husband when there's no favor to be gained through "such a bother."

When there's a millennium of good manners in the home, unhappiness and evil will dim into the great minority.
— by Dorothy Fenimore, 1906


Etiquette Enthusiast, Maura J. Graber, is the Site Moderator for Etiquipedia© Etiquette Encyclopedia

Friday, August 21, 2015

19th C. Etiquette for Young Men

A Society Woman Tells Young Men How to Get Into Society and the Secret of Social Success
No lassoing required! A young woman and young man of society mugging for the camera on the beach at the turn of the century. "If this lady takes him up and introduces him and he makes himself agreeable his social fortune is made." 

Pictures and Works of Art Offer Topics for Conversation- What it is to be a Gentleman
There's no sitting on the fence about it; He should never push or transcend the delicate outlines of social sufferance; he must remember Thackeray's noble description: "What is it to be a gentleman? Is it to be honest, brave, to be gentle, generous, to be wise, and possessing all these qualities to exercise them in the most graceful manner..."
The young men of our free country, no matter how humble their station, should study manners and proper dress and proper courtesy, for there is no knowing where they will land as they climb the hill of life. Their tailors and their observation will tell them how to dress. Neatness should be their first and firmest ally then —no matter how plain their clothes.

A young man should never be too fine for his work — heavy shoes for walking, plain clothes for morning, and always a change for dinner and evening. Fresh stockings and neat-looking feet are indispensable, and clean lines are the very alphabet of good dressing.  A gentleman's dress should always be so quiet as not to excite attention. Thackeray was very funny about a too-new hat, and spoke of taking a watering-spot to it. The suspicion of being " dressed up " defeats any toilet. 


A young man coming to a great city unknown, may experience some difficulty in getting into society.  He should try to bring letters from some one who knows him well in his own sphere to some prominent social leader. If this lady takes him up and introduces him and he makes himself agreeable his social fortune is made. But such social good fortune cannot always be commanded. Young men often pass a lonely youth in a great city without meeting with the desired opportunity. To many it comes through college intimacies, on the cricket ground, at the clubs, in places of business, and so on.

It is hardly creditable for a young man to pass his life in a great city without trying to know the best ladies' society. He should seek to do so, and ask a friend to introduce him. He should never push or transcend the delicate outlines of social sufferance; he must remember Thackeray's noble description: "What is it to be a gentleman? Is it to be honest, brave, to be gentle, generous, to be wise, and possessing all these qualities to exercise them in the most graceful manner. Ought a gentleman to be a loyal son, a true husband, and honest father fought his life to be decent, his bills to be paid, his tastes to be high and decadent. Yes. A thousand times yes." 


Young men with all these virtues are sometimes led astray, in coming to New York, by the sight of certain gaudy adventurers, who get into society and unaccountably succeed by means of manners, impudence, self-assurance, audacity and plausible ways. They also see a set of men succeed, and get to be leaders of the german, and they observe fashionable men whom they despised, whom they looked upon as cowards and snobs in college or at school. This success (not of the fittest) is apt to disgust manly young man, and keep them out of society —a great loss to society. But this is a side issue. If the manly young man waits a few years he will see these men sink into obscurity. No success is so ephemeral.—New York Sun, 1888


Etiquette Enthusiast, Maura J. Graber, is the Site Moderator for Etiquipedia© Etiquette Encyclopedia

Monday, August 10, 2015

More Etiquette for Cycling

The instructors in the big academies, where women are taught to ride, their bodies are being educated in the mysteries of the "bike."

Are You Up to Bike Manners?

There Is a Need of a Leader in Wheeling Etiquette
A Fashionable Girl's Lament

Polite Rules of the Road As Laid Down Her Instructor— What She Must and Must Not Do

NEW YORK— Young ladles of the fashionable world, and for that matter the older ones too, who have become late of the wheel, have recently been discussing the urgent need of a recognized formula of bicycle etiquette. 


As far as wheeldom is concerned, the sport is in its infancy; everything is crude and unconventional to the delicately nurtured social eye, and the young buds of the ballroom are all at sea when they find themselves out on the road spinning along on the democratic "bike." 

It may not be long before regular professors of bicycle deportment will be making the rounds of the homes of the rich, instructing the maids and matrons of the etiquette of the wheel, just as the little boys and girls are now being taught the polite arts of the ballroom. 

But at the moment everything is chaotic in this most important field of the fashionable woman. She uses her good common sense, and her innate gentility is sufficient guide to correctly meet the ordinary happenings of life a-wheel, but bicycling is no ordinary sport, and happenings of an extraordinary kind continually occur. 

The laws of conventional life cannot apply to these unforeseen events, and the well-bred woman who insists upon being conventional and at the same time a bicyclist, does not know quite where she is at. The instructors in the big academies, where women are taught to ride, their bodies are being educated in the mysteries of the "bike."

Here are some of the etiquette rules which a fashionable girl said she received from the woman instructor of the academy where she rides. Be acknowledged that she may have forgotten some of them, just as she forgets the vital point in the art of dismounting, and frequently comes a nasty cropper in consequence. 
                     

  • The 
    first one was, never criticise a fellow bicyclist, particularly if she is a woman and inclined to stoutness. The moral of this is that you may be stout yourself in a few years, and a bicycle rider for the sole purpose of reducing weight. 
  • Another is, when you are riding in the park or on the road and a cranky horse comes along which rears and plunges at sight of your bicycle, always dismount without delay and turn your wheel flat on the ground. Serious runaway accidents can sometimes be averted by a little courtesy of this kind. It only takes a minute or two of time, and as all women bicyclists ride for pleasure, that much lost time is of little consequence to them. 
  • Always keep to the right in riding. You may be called names if you forget this rule on a crowded road. 
  • In passing a vehicle or wheel going in the same direction, it is usually safest to go by them on the left. 
  • Try to foster the feeling of brotherhood and sisterhood among all wheelers. Remember that accidents happen to the best bicyclists, just as they do in the best regulated families. 
  • If anything goes wrong with a man or woman wheeler, render any assistance you can. No man will take advantage of such assistance to thrust his acquaintance upon you at a future time, he would run the risk of ostracism by fellow bicyclists who, perhaps, have sisters, wives or sweethearts devoted to the sport. 
  • If you are unfortunate enough to have an accident happen to your wheel, do not hesitate to accent the proffered assistant of the first wheelman who comes along. If he is the right kind, as he probably will be, he will set your wheel right and then pursue his journey. Should he ever pass you again he will give no sign that he had ever met you before. 
  • Don't be afraid to mention the word bloomers in the presence of a man. If he be versed in bike manners, as all true wheelers should be, he will regard the word purely as one for ordinary conversation, as it surely is in bicycle talk. 
  • If one fears the attention of pedestrians wear a veil, but not thick enough to affect the vision. It will protect the face from dust and thoroughly conceal identity. 
  • Don't try to ride rapidly. Fast riders meet with accident sooner or later, and a woman in a smash-up does not appear to advantage. It's bad bike form too. 
  • For the same reason, be careful about coasting and always be certain in advance that the brake is in good working order. 
  • Always respect the feelings of pedestrians, and be careful of their safety. In streets frequently crossed, ride as slowly as possible. Kindly consideration of the pedestrians will beget the same for the wheeler. 

Thus it can be seen that the true woman wheeler has more to learn in bicycling than the mere pushing of pedals. – New York, 1895

Etiquette Enthusiast, Maura J. Graber, is the Site Moderator for Etiquipedia© Etiquette Encyclopedia

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Etiquette: Have We Any Manners?



Have We Any Manners? Look at Our Ancestors and Take Courage!

"OUR ancestors do continually surprise us, but what can exceed the amazement, perfectly justifiable, that comes with our first glimpse at the approved etiquette books of only a generation or a century or two ago? It is comforting to believe' that our sires and their dames were the pinks of courtesy and good breeding, irrespective of their nationality or their station In life. But were they?

To the fair minded who study the novels, the jest books and the courtesy books contemporary with their lives — lives lived perhaps in the shadow of a palace— it is not always evident. And, except to the very young, who cannot see beneath the glittering surface, the exaggerated bows, the overpolished compliments, the kissing of perfumed hands and the spreading of velvet cloaks over muddy crossings seem theatrical and decidedly tiresome in an age that believes in such things as democracy, international conciliation, coeducation, pragmatism!

Today one of the most popular and amusing fallacies among the nations is that we Americans have no manners whatever; that all our women are selfish, strident-voiced, overdressed Daisy Millers; that all our men chew tobacco, hide behind newspapers at breakfast and dine in their shirt sleeves. And yet many old cosmopolitans and travelers, who claim to be discriminating in the matter of good manners, solemnly declare that we can well afford to be criticised by both Paris and Berlin.

We are a ridiculously new, composite race, but are we not an intelligent one— Indisputably benign, introspective, emulative, sympathetic and fond of laughter? To us a perusal of the etiquette books that only a century or two ago went through innumerable editions in all the great cities of Europe reveals this important, this unpleasant fact: that the immediate descendants of all the picture gallery folk, so picturesque in powdered wigs, swords, brocades and lace frills were in danger of inheriting the manners of snobs, boors and pigs only. While their background and courtly manners were extremely decorative, we must not regret that they have passed away forever.
         

Society has outgrown the romantic drama period. It is learning to think. Good breeding is founded only upon the Gibraltar of simple human kindness; but society has not always been kind and considerate and manners have ever fluctuated with the tides of fashion. The following dicta from a famous courtesy book were penned by a certain man of affairs for real people, who considered themselves the perfect flower of enlightenment. The glamour of this gentleman's century has faded away.

In the case of an educated democracy, his paragraphs read like directions for a puppet show only: 'If in company with an inferior, it is well worth your attention not to let him feel his inferiority. If you take pains to mortify him it is an insult not readily forgot. At table there can not be a greater insult than to help an inferior to a part he dislikes and take the best yourself. Walking fast in the streets Is a mark of vulgarity. It may appear well in a mechanic or tradesman, but suits ill with the character of a gentleman or a man of fashion.'

'Eating quick or slow at meals is characteristic of the vulgar. It has the appearance of being used to hard work. Smelling the meat while on your fork being put to your mouth is vulgar. Spitting on the carpet is a nasty practice. It will lead your acquaintances to believe that you are not used to genteel furniture. Wit is the most. dangerous talent the female can possess. It must be guarded with discretion.'

In a recent item of Americana, printed in New York and in a year so recent as 1849, one reads with little gravity that vehicle was 'written for the socially inferior of that period by a properly serious social leader, long dead and alas forgotten.' This author deems his advice an absolute, necessity In that sadly mercantile period of the fifties, with 'people continually rising in the world and with, their new wealth acquiring a taste for the superfluities of life with the use of which they are only imperfectly acquainted!'

This little book, 'The American Manual of Elegance and Fashion' is divided into 18 chapters. Curiously enough, three of them are entitled 'Tattling,' 'Smoking' and 'Advice to Tradespeople.' Any one but a New Yorker smiles the smile of the unconvinced, as he reads: 'In all cases the observances of the metropolis the seat of refinement should be received as the standard of good breeding.'" –By Olive Percival for the San Francisco Call, 1909

Etiquette Enthusiast, Maura J. Graber, is the Site Moderator for Etiquipedia© Etiquette Encyclopedia

Monday, August 3, 2015

Etiquette and Tea Styles

High Tea is also sometimes confused with the teas that King Edward VII hosted during his reign from 1901-1910. Edward had so many meals in his daily schedule he had to change everyone else’s schedules. Famous for his huge appetite, Edward ate no less than 12 courses at dinner and is responsible for adding “appetizers” to the dinner menus of British society.


Just Some of the Different Styles Of "Teas" Held, or Given, for the Enjoyment of this Popular Beverage
Around 1800, when tea was very expensive and kept in locked containers called "tea caddy boxes," special tea caddy spoons were designed and kept with the tea. Tea caddy spoons were popular gifts and often engraved for special events. 
·The High Tea:  In the past, "High Tea" was considered the tea of the working-class rather than the tea of the elite. This tea was a hearty affair. Meat pies, rarebit, shepherd's pies, slices of roast, sausage, vegetables, casseroles, puddings, and heavy desserts and other dinner time staples usually made with leftovers were commonly served.  
The term “High” came about because the tea meal was taken at a high dining table, or with high back chairs all around a table. This was to distinguish the meal from the Afternoon Tea that was taken at low tables.  
In recent years, High Tea has become a term for elaborate Afternoon Tea, though this is an American usage and mainly unrecognized in Britain (with the exception of some London hotels, catering to tourists.) It is usually served between 5:00 pm and 8:00 pm.  
High Tea is also sometimes confused with the teas that King Edward VII hosted during his reign from 1901-1910. Edward had so many meals in his daily schedule he had to change everyone else’s schedules. His dinner time was pushed forward another hour or so to 8:30 pm or 9:00 pm. High Tea could now be held even later in the afternoon.
Known for his huge appetite, the King ate no less than 12 courses at dinner and is responsible for adding “appetizers” to the dinner menus of British society. This change brought it closer in line to what most Americans think of as a dinner time (around 5:00 pm). 
·The Formal Afternoon Tea: A "Formal Afternoon Tea" is an elaborate affair with white linens, silver, hats and gloves, bone china, and several different types of tea. Darjeeling and Ceylon varieties are suggested for this teatime. Tea fare consists of scones, at least four varieties of savories, and beautiful finger desserts or petits fours, presented on three-tiered racks, often buffet style. 
Traditional service time is 4:00 pm, however any time between 2:00 pm and 5:00 pm is appropriate. (Please remember that proper etiquette dictates one remove those gloves before eating or drinking anything!) 
Tea fare consists of scones, at least four varieties of savories, and beautiful finger desserts or petits fours, presented on three-tiered racks, often buffet style. 
·The Afternoon Tea or The Low Tea: An Afternoon Tea or "Low Tea" is designed to enhance social skills and usually is served in fine fashion and in several courses. Some believe the term “Low Tea” may come from the fact that hotels have traditionally used low tables in their lobbies to hold the foods and tea service presented at afternoon teas. 
This full-tea service includes scones, savories, and a variety of petits fours. It is traditionally served at 4:00 pm, however, any time between 2:00 pm and 5:00 pm is appropriate.
·The Special Event and/or The Seasonal Tea: These teas are designed for a season, occasion, or personal style for the hostess or honored guest. Although these teas require more planning, they also provide an opportunity for creativity in themes, menus, table settings, favors and invitations. Examples include; bridal teas, sweetheart teas, Christmas teas, harvest teas, baby shower teas, business teas, retirement teas, graduation teas, garden teas, and benefit teas.

·The Cream Tea: These Cream Teas are fondly known as afternoon "sweet-tooth teas" in some circles. They feature heavy, clotted cream from Devonshire, that is slathered on scones, rather than any cream added to the tea. 
Cream is much too rich to accompany tea, as it will curdle; milk is the preferred addition. Besides scones, this tea includes fresh fruits, berries in season, and cake. Cream Teas are traditionally served from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm.
                          
No pinky finger thrust out here. Perfectly lovely!
·The Brunch Tea: A hearty tea, Brunch Tea is a wonderful way to start the day. A Brunch Tea usually offers an egg dish, fresh fruit, or pasties which are light on sugar content. This is the perfect time to seek a hearty breakfast tea, since the traditional time is from10:00 am to 1:00 pm.

·The Teddy Bear Tea: This special tea, (in actuality, it is hot chocolate), was prepared by nannies for their young charges. The children would scurry off to their quarters to play with their favorite dolls or bears and sip hot chocolate while munching on goodies from the adults’ tea table.

·The “Elevenses”: The term “Elevenses” is a British version of the American office "coffee break," between 10am and 11am in the morning. The coffee break originated from the old "Second Breakfast" of European immigrants to the United States. In Britain, a tea cart with tea, crumpets, scones, or cinnamon toast is wheeled in for the break.


A post script: Remember...  one drinks tea. One does not take tea. During the Victorian era, the term to take tea was used by the under classes and considered a vulgar expression by the upper classes.





Contributor Bernadette Petrotta is the Director and founder of The Polite Society School of Etiquette. Her newest book is "The Art and Proper Etiquette of Afternoon Tea."



Etiquette Enthusiast, Maura J. Graber, is the Site Moderator for Etiquipedia© Etiquette Encyclopedia