Sunday, September 6, 2015

Etiquette and Success

With no manners, it means he's no social success.

“Success without culture is like old-fashioned strawberry short cake without the whipped cream. It has no flavor."

"There are certain little courteous observances, certain social formalities that bespeak the true lady, the true gentlemen. Some of us call it good form. Some of us call it culture. Some of us call it etiquette. But we all admit that it makes the world a better place to live in.

In Italy, young men and women are considered ben educato, not when they can read and write, but when they know the established forms of convention—when they can show by a correct dignity and ease of manner that they are perfect in their knowledge of the rules of good society. And, after all, don't you yourself judge people by what they do, and say, and wear? Don't you read in their manner and appearance the secret of their inner worth? Isn't character and disposition revealed in the outer personality?

Perhaps you have heard the story of the "gentleman" who prided himself on being perfect in the art of etiquette. On one occasion, he passed a lake and heard a drowning man call for help. Quickly he threw off his coat and was about to plunge into the water, when he suddenly remembered that he had never been introduced to the struggling victim. Putting on his coat again, he proceeded on his way quite self-satisfied.

This is an instance where common-sense would have been the better part of etiquette. Too rigid an observance of the laws of good society makes them nothing short of an absurdity. The purpose of correct manners is not to enable us to strut about in society and command the admiring glances of the people around us—as the peacock, in its vanity, parades before onlookers in a proud dignity that is quite obviously assumed. The true service of etiquette is so to strengthen and simplify the social life that we are able to do what is absolutely correct and right without even stopping to think about it.” — From Lillian Eichler's, 1924, “Book of Etiquette–Volume I.”

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