Thursday, October 15, 2015

Etiquette and Manners for Men

"I had long wished that some capable person should challenge Mrs. “ Madge ” Humphrey on some of her statements in her letters in Truth and The World, or in her little booklets, Manners for Men and Manners for Women..."
"Madge" Propounds "More Manners for Men"
Rules for Everything, from Marriage to the Color of a Necktie, Are Given with Tabloid Wisdom in Mrs. Humphry's Book of Etiquette

The lady known as "Madge" in London — Truth- her real name, it appears, is Mrs. Humphrey— who for years has told people just how to conduct themselves on all conceivable occasions, has written another book called "More Manners for Men." Her "Manners for Men" was so successful, and provoked so many questions from men continually kept guessing as to whether they were "in right" on the color of neckties or the exact angle of salaams that "Madge" has once more graciously consented to be an authoress.

Right at the very start of her preface she points out one class to whom her new book should appeal in these words: "Marriages of mixed nationalities become more and more frequent. And besides all this, our American cousins visit us, to our great content, in greater numbers every year. Their etiquette differs essentially from ours in many points, and they are naturally desirous to acquaint themselves with ours, just as we should be to acquire a knowledge of theirs while we visiting their own great country."
Does this bridegroom have pretensions to social position? He's wearing a frock coat in 1904! "In most of these letters I am asked if the frock coat is a necessary item of the bridegroom's costume. Until the last couple of years I was obliged to reply that this garment was indispensable to any bridegroom with pretensions to social position."
"Madge" tells us to bear in mind that "the most innately courteous and high minded of morals possesses no inward guide to the knowledge that a letter to the King must be written on thick white note paper, and enclosed in an envelope large enough to take it without being folded. And how could anyone possibly be aware from his or her inner consciousness only, that a Frenchman may eat with his fork, leaving his knife blade sideways on his plate, whereas an Englishman must not do so under penalty of showing himself ignorant of our table customs?"

"I receive a great number of letters from young men in all parts of the world," remarks "Madge," "with references to the etiquette of marriage, and containing many questions about the formalities of weddings. In most of these letters I am asked if the frock coat is a necessary item of the bridegroom's costume. Until the last couple of years I was obliged to reply that this garment was indispensable to any bridegroom with pretensions to social position. Fortunately, however, fashion has now decided that the less ceremonious morning coat may replace the frock. At one of the smartest weddings of recent years the bridegroom, an officer of the First Life Guards, wore a simple gray suit, and had not even a buttonhole."–The New York Times, 1897




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