Saturday, October 22, 2016

Etiquette and Les Petits Soins

A man learns to be graceful and deferential, au fait in all small things, gentle and kindly, not after he has attained to six feet and evening clothes, but while he is young and under his mother’s and his father’s tutelage.


Small Attentions and 
Etiquette
——————————
Grace and Tactful Deference to the Trifles of Everyday Intercourse

Les Petits Soins” do much toward making life pass pleasantly, a point which Harper's Bazar illustrates as follows; 

The man who helps you on or off with your wrap, who lowers or raises a window for you, who interposes his ready strength between you and a crowd, who finds a seat for you and treats you as though you were a queen or a queen's mother, is a man for whom you entertain a genuine regard. 

"Thomas is a perfect Gibraltar for honesty and goodness,” remarked a lady of anacquaintance "but he stalks in front of you into the dining room and marches out of it before you; he talks to you with his hat on his head and puffs the smoke of his cigar into your face; he calmly takes the best chair in the room and leaves you the hardest; he never knows anything about paying little attentions; he is like a man who may have a twenty dollar bill in his pocketbook, but never by any chance carries any small change.”

Probably, if the truth were known, Thomas and men like him were not accustomed in their boyhood, either to receive or to pay small attentions. A man learns to be graceful and deferential, au fait in all small things, gentle and kindly, not after he has attained to six feet and evening clothes, but while he is young and under his mother’s and his father’s tutelage. Old people are apt to resent obtrusive attention, and to regard with pathetic irritability the offered help which accentuates the fact of their declining years. 

None the less they like tactful recognition of their claim upon the service of their juniors. A man may safely yield the easy chair and the window where the light lingers latest to the grandmother who likes her comfort, and who takes her knitting or her sewing where she can see most readily. The strong shoulder of youth is meant for the bearing of burdens, and unless an elderly person be exceptionally unreasonable he or she will not persist in carrying loads which ought to he borne by those who are able to assume them. —1893


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