Friday, October 16, 2015

Etiquette – More Advice to Men

Did you know that "there is an art in nut-cracking?" "Madge" maintains that there is. "The man who has achieved it," she adds, "is in request by the ladies on either side, for, for some reason, women are seldom adepts in freeing the nut from the shell, and this is more especially the case with Brazil nuts and walnuts. The ordinary woman crushes them into a mixture of nut and shell which is very difficult to separate." 
More Manners for Men, 
from Mrs. Charlotte Eliza Humphry, who wrote under the title “Madge” of “Truth.”


How to Get Married

And, continuing on the subject of weddings, she says: "I receive many letters from perspective best men. An invitation to act in this capacity seems to arouse in the breasts of some men a feeling almost akin to terror. They know themselves to be inexperienced, and they guess themselves to be inadequate to the pressing duties that the occasion involves. But the matter is simple enough. The duties of the best man comprise" — "Madge" outlines their duties in short order, and adds: "when the best man has seen his friend safely off on his wedding trip he's free to go home, get out of his war paint, and settle in his own mind which of the bridesmaids he is going to propose to."

Follows much tabloid wisdom on "How to Propose, and "Don't propose by letter! "Madge" tells of one instance where such a course resulted rather queerly: "The lady wrote her reply, posted it herself, and on her way back to the house met another young man whom she had understood to be engaged. He asked her to marry him. She was very much in love with him, and at once accepted. But her letter accepting the other gentleman was in the letter-box. Making some excuse, she dashed back and stood guard over the box till the postman came; she then asked him to give her the letter. Whether he had any right to do so or not, which is questionable, he complied with her request. She wrote one of very different report and married the real choice of her heart. She has often wondered, in talking to me, what would've happened if the postman had been less amenable. I have never been able to give her much sympathy, for I cannot understand how any girl, loving one man, could possibly accept another.
Don't fold your napkin! Somebody once remarked that "to fold your napkin carefully and put it beside your plate, is involuntarily to express the intention of partaking of one next meal with one's host." 

How to Crack Nuts and More

"The man who has achieved it," she adds, "is in request by the ladies on either side, for, for some reason, women are seldom adepts in freeing the nut from the shell, and this is more especially the case with Brazil nuts and walnuts. The ordinary woman crushes them into a mixture of nut and shell which is very difficult to separate."

Don't fold your napkin! Somebody once remarked that "to fold your napkin carefully and put it beside your plate, is involuntarily to express the intention of partaking of one next meal with one's host."

"Madge" tells all about writing letters, what kind of thought you should use, what kind of note paper—beware of coats-of-arms!—And then comes to the "perfect handshake," which is "warm and sympathetic without any extreme of impetuosity or indifference."
                                                          
Every girl's crazy 'bout a dark-browed man... In novels, that is!

"We all know the dark-browed young man of the woman novelist," she says, "who, when he shakes hands on his first meeting with the heroine, looks her in the eyes with a dark and brooding eyes, with which he 'reads her very soul.' He would be rather a nuisance in every day life. Deep-set eyes which seem to read the soul are far from reassuring at, say, a dinner party, or on a river excursion."

"Madge" gets very solemn and didactic in her chapter entitled "A Word About Manners with Girls." Looking between the lines, one can almost see her British forefinger held up severely, while she is saying:

"I feel that I am approaching a very delicate subject, but no book dealing with manners for men can possibly be complete without entering upon the demeanor of young men with regard to girls. Too often in the middle classes, and perhaps those below them, the idea of a young man is, when conversing with girls, to assume a half-joking manner. Just as though the moments of his life spent in their society were of no importance whatever, and should not be regarded seriously by him. This is not only a mistake, but an indication of the young man's character, which by no means recommends him do any observer, and most certainly not to the girls themselves. They like fun, it is true, but they do not like to be regarded as merely some childish amusement." (Wagging of British forefinger.) – The New York Times, 1897


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