Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Retro Etiquette of the Sexes

 When a man is careless or thoughtless, it is all the more evident. Begin as a boy to observe all the small, sweet courtesies of life.

Social Etiquette:
The Differing Courtesies That Marked Good Breeding in Man and in Woman, from 1891

 "Are girls as well bred as boys?" Yes— and no! says Marion Harland in answering this question in The Weekly. Their training lies along different lines. One thing must always be considered —namely, that a woman's part is in many points of etiquette, passive. It is the man who takes the initiative, and who is made such a prominent figure that all eyes are drawn to him. Have you ever noticed it? Man proposes, woman accepts. Man stands, woman remains seated. Man lifts his hat, woman merely bows. Man acts as escort, woman as the escorted. So when a man is careless or thoughtless, it is all the more evident. For this reason, begin as a boy to observe all the small, sweet courtesies of life.


I often wish there were any one point in which a woman could show her genuine ladyhood as a man displays his gentlehood by the management of his hat—raising it entirely from the head on meeting a woman, lifting it when the lady with whom he is walking bows to an acquaintance, or, when his man companion greets a friend, baring his head on meeting, parting from or kissing mother, sister or wife. These, with other points, such as rising when a woman enters the room and remaining standing until she is seated, giving her the precedence in passing in or out of a door and picking up the handkerchief or glove she lets fall—are sure indices of the gentleman, or by their absence, mark the boor.


But our girl should not think that she can afford to overlook the acts of tactful courtesy which are her duty, as well as her brother's. Her temptation is often to exercise a patronizing toleration toward her elders, aud while she is not actually disrespectful, she still has the air of a very superior young being, holding converse with a person who has the advantage merely in the accident of years. Another of our girl's mistakes is that of imagining that brusqueness and pertness are wit. There is no other error more common with girls from fifteen to eighteen, and they generally choose a boy as the butt of their sarcastic remarks—and, to their shame, be it said, they frequently select a lad who is too courteous to retort in kind. — From "The Weekly" as reported in the Los Angeles Herald, 1891


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

Monday, May 22, 2017

"Phone Voice" Etiquette

Though the telephone has become an integral part of our daily lives, many people do not realize that voices are transmitted at a higher pitch over phone lines, than if one was speaking with someone face to face. Business professionals in particular, can benefit from speaking in a lower tone of voice than normal, when on business phone calls, in order for those on the other ends to hear them more clearly. 


Improve Your Phone Voice! 

Despite the fact that the telephone has become so commonplace as to be taken for granted in our daily living, many women have never learned to talk on the instrument. Technically adept at putting their calls through, and well versed in the rules of telephone etiquette, they still create an unfavorable impression upon their listeners because of their voices. Women who claim they don't like to talk on the telephone are usually admitting their discomfort. Their point that the facial expressions observed in personal chats add much to any conversation, is a valid one. Be that as it may, if they plan to use the telephone as a medium of communication, they should accept its limitations and set about correcting their own failings. 

One particularly unfortunate telephone voice is the meek, mild one that makes listeners yell, "What's that?" and "Louder, please." No matter how competent a person you may really be, the person at the other end of the wire is likely to conclude that you are ineffectual and without self-confidence. This is a handicap in both business and social relationships. Equally unattractive is the telephone-shouter who attempts to convey her message by vocal power alone. Not only is such a voice unpleasant to the unfortunate ear at the other end of the line, but it also marks the shouter as being unsure both of herself and of the instrument. - San Bernardino Sun, 1950


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

Etiquette's First "Etta Kett"

Etta Kett was a five decade comic strip created by Paul Robinson. The original distribution began in Dec. 1925. The strip originally offered tips to teenagers on manners, etiquette and the social graces. By the early 1950's, it had changed its focus from etiquette, to her family, social circle and school life. The wholesome humor helped Etta Kett maintain a readership over 50 years. But there was a newspaper Etta Kett who came first, in 1900, as the article below shows. 






The Force of Habit

"I'll never invite Ryeyun to my house for dinner again." asserted Mrs. Etta Kett after she had exchanged the greeting of the day with Mrs. Soandso. "Is that possible?" queried Mr. Soandso. "I thought Mr. Ryeyun was excellent company at table. At least so I have heard." "You see, it's just this way." continued Mrs. Etta Kett. "I know that Mr. Ryeyun is forced by circumstances to take his meals at a restaurant or chop house, and thinking that a real nice family dinner would taste good to him. I invited him to my house one evening. He accepted the invitation with every manifestation of pleasure, and you may be sure I exercised my best culinary skill to prepare a dinner that would make any man's heart rejoice, let alone a poor unfortunate who must eat regularly at the chop houses." "Well, did he not enjoy it?" "Yes. But do you know. Just as soon as he sat down to the table he wiped off his plate with his napkin, then wiped off his knife, forks and spoons, and then held his glass of water up to the light to see if there were any bugs in it!"— Omaha World-Herald, 1900


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

Etiquette, Elbows and Emily

One blogger unaware of her 1937 stance, states that Emily Post's position​ evolved on many subjects but,"There was one standard, she refused to relax, which was the importance of chaperones." In Victorian society which she came of age in, "no proper young lady would risk the damage to her reputation that might be incurred by an unchaperoned trip or overnight stay with a young man. Until the end, Emily Post believed that was sage advice."


The fountains of sacred rivers flow upward, everything is turned topsy turvy. This plaint of Euripides is echoed 23 centuries after the Greek dramatist by no less a modern mentor of manners and morals than Emily Post, whose name is synonymous with etiquette. Mrs. Post is nonplussed by the confusion of modern life, by the way in which the younger generation has taken the bit in its teeth. 


But she is not worried as to the basic goodness of her fellow women, she told a New York audience. Instead of deploring the disappearance of the ancient institution of the chaperone, she chuckles over the interesting problems that have resulted; instead of teaching the conventions to her young readers she finds she must adapt the conventions to fit modern behavior. 

Etiquette means something more important in human conduct than choosing the right fork, a lapse of which Mrs. Post herself frequently is guilty since she is both near-sighted and absentminded; she also, let it be whispered so that your children do not hear, puts her elbows on the table at dinner when she feels like it, and says, "it really makes no difference." 


What does make a difference is eternal vigilance to be considerate of the rights of others, and to be kind. At the moment, Mrs. Post is deep in the study of a great problem; Is it correct for a woman to pay all or part of the dinner and entertainment check? She is brooding about this to the exclusion of all others and will write a book about it when she has completely made up her mind. 

In the daytime in the business world, she muses, a man and woman are equals, work as companions, lunch as co-workers. But in the evening matters are changed, the woman becomes a woman again and the man pays and pays. Is that fair, she wonders, when women are earning as much or more than the men who entertain them? Would it not be fairer if he takes her out once and she takes him another time? We await with bated breath her decision on this vital question. – San Bernardino Sun, 1937


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

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Etiquette for Drinking Maté

 The universal custom of drinking it is by sucking it through bombillas, from maté cups. A bombilla is a tube, which may be of the simplicity of a mere pipe stem, or an elaborately decorated silver, or silver mounted, work of art. 


Paraguay Tea from an Evergreen Shrub...
Introduced in Europe, where its use is increasing

Yerba maté, or Paraguay tea, is the daily household beverage of the masses of Paraguay, and it is consumed to a great extent also in Brazil and Argentina. It has been introduced into, Europe, where its use is increasing, writes Consul Cornelius Ferris Jr. of Asuncion. The tea is the product of a plant belonging to the species ilex of the family of ilkacase
, related to the ilex aquifolium, an evergreen shrub or small tree well known in western Europe. The leaves of this plant are carefully toasted near the place where they are gathered, all the skill required in producing the tea being applied in the process of toasting. This is necessary in order to dry the leaves thoroughly and evenly, without scorching or affecting their flavor by smoke.

After toasting, the leaves are sent to the mill, where they are ground to fine powder and packed solidly into bags for market. There is no sorting, grading, cleanin, nor are any means taken to rid the product of impurities or foreign matter. The tea is prepared for drinking in the same manner as ordinary tea, and may be taken with sugar, cream, lemon or brandy. The universal custom of drinking it is by sucking it through bombillas, from maté cups. A bombilla is a tube, which may be of the simplicity of a mere pipe stem, or an elaborately decorated silver, or silver mounted, work of art. 

Maté cups vary in style from a simple little gourd, to interesting specimens of local craftsmanship in silver. It is the custom to use a single maté cup, with its one bombilla, for an entire household, including all the visitors who may happen to be present, among whom it is passed, like a pipe of peace. To refuse to partake would be a breach of etiquette. The tea is said to be disagreeable at first, but it is readily adopted as a habit when the taste is once acquired. — San Francisco Call, 1910

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

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Argentinian Dining Etiquette

"They declared with some warmth to the cook, that the foreigners did not know how to eat. I apologized as well as I could, and endeavored thereafter to eat according to gaucho etiquette."

Table Manners in Argentina 

"We encamped near a swamp," says a gentleman, describing a meal he had with some cart drivers in South America, "and supped on sliced pumpkin boiled with bites​ of meat and seasoned with salt. The meal was served in genuine pampas fashion. One iron spoon and two cow's horns split in halves were passed around the group, the members of which squatted upon their haunches and freely helped themselves from the kettle. 

Even in this most uncivilized form of satisfying hunger there is a peculiar etiquette which the most lowly person invariably observes. Each member of the company in turn dips his spoon, or horn, into the center of the stew and draws it in a direct line toward him, never allowing it to deviate to the right or left. By observing this rule, each person eats without interfering with his neighbor. 

Being ignorant of this custom, I dipped my horn into the mess at random and fished about for some of the nice bits. My companions regarded this horrid breach of politeness with scowls of impatience. They declared with some warmth to the cook, that the foreigners did not know how to eat. I apologized as well as I could, and endeavored thereafter to eat according to gaucho etiquette." —New York World, 1894


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

Friday, May 19, 2017

Dinner Seating Etiquette, 1895

Dinner tables of society hostesses, in the latter part of the Victorian Era, featured unique and ornate silver patterns. The more silver laid on a dining table, the better. Silver reflected candlelight, illuminating dining rooms that were not yet fitted with electric lights.

A New Dinner Table Fashion!

The new heraldry, or rather etiquette, for large public dinners, annual​ dinners and the like—to which more and more​ frequently ladies are invited—places the wife at the table by her husband's side. She has for some years sat side by side with bim on the box seat when he drives his four-in-hand, and now it is the recognized thing, even in London,where innovations come slowly, to have this arrangement at dinner. 


"It seems very odd," writes an English woman, describing the annual dinner of the Newsvendors Benevolent and Provident Institution at the Grand Hotel, "very odd to go down with Richard, this being one of the particulars in which the public banquet differs from the private dinner. Opposite us were a husband and wife, to the left of us another couple, and a little further off another married pair. None of us quarreled with each other. 

Richard talked to his friend, who occasionally threw me a crumb of the conversation, and I made friends with my other neighbor, admired the lovely tulips on the table and made energetic efforts to see what Lady E_____ looked like. She sat beside the chairman, her husband, her father, the Earl of Arran, supporting her on the right. So you see it was intensely British​, a family arrangement of the most pronounced kind." 

The first time that such an arrangement was tried in Philadelphia was at the dinner given to Dr. James Mac Allister by Mr. Edward T. Steel and a number of other friends. There, husbands sat by their wives, and the novelty and ease of this arrangement was very much enjoyed. Since then the arrangement has become quite a general one for public functions, when other placing of the body of guests would be awkward or impossible. — Philadelphia Public Ledger, 1895

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

Thursday, May 18, 2017

1930's Smoking Etiquette

If people you care very little about are the smokers, the solution is simple enough, since you need not continue inviting them to your house. — Emily Post


Dear Mrs. Post:
How can I be courteous about letting visitors in my house know that I do not like cigarette smoke? Any one using strong perfume is supposed to be showing very bad taste, and yet cigarette smoke smells equally strong, to say nothing of smoke-drenched clothes worn by the inveterate smokers. When I have to spend a day or evening with smokers, I am completely seasick.


Answer: If people you care very little about are the smokers, the solution is simple enough since you need not continue inviting them to your house. If, however, all the people you like best smoke, you will, I am afraid, have to accustom yourself to smoke or resign yourself to loneliness. On the other hand, I think it only fair to mention that your friends should in their turn, show reasonable consideration for you. Every smoker should realize that smoking at a dining table, which has not been furnished with ash trays and cigarettes, is a breach of etiquette. After the meal, of course, the question of courtesy goes into reverse and those who dislike smoke are unhappily for themselves expected to tolerate it. One thing that might help you if you have not already discovered it, is to remove the dead ends constantly from the ash trays or better still, get especial ash receivers with water compartments beneath trap tops which prevent that stale smell which is more than likely the cause of your feeling of seasickness. – San Bernardino Sun, 1939

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

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Meishi Etiquette in Japan

The exchange of meishi offers you an opportunity to make an impression on your counterpart.

Exchanging Business Cards in Japan

It’s important to exchange business cards correctly in Japan. In addition to the simple exchange of contact information, participants are often trying to glean as much information as they can about their interlocutor and that person’s company.

Takashi Nakano, whose company Soul Products advises business clients on business cards, says that the exchange of meishi offers you an opportunity to make an impression on your counterpart.

Here’s a list of basic rules that Nakano follows when exchanging a business card:

(a) offer your card with two hands;

(b) receive your counterpart’s card with two hands;

(c) ensure the card is turned towards the receiver; ensure no names or logos are covered up when you offer your card;

(d) if the person you are exchanging cards with outranks you in terms of seniority, you should offer your business card first;

(e) if the person you are exchanging cards with outranks you in terms of seniority, you should offer it at a lower level than the other person;

(f) after receiving a business card, you should read over the contents and either place it facing upright on top of your cardholder on the table or, if standing, place it on your cardholder in your left hand until the other person has moved on.

“You need to look at what’s written on a business card very carefully and ask questions, if you can, in order to show that you are interested in that person,” Nakano says. “And don’t talk about yourself the whole time.” — Japan Times, 2017


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

Mega-Yacht Etiquette

From a guest column by Irena Medavoy for The Hollywood Reporter - Irena Medavoy, a Cannes fest regular with producer husband Mike, shares the secret of life aboard the world's most lux (and largest - but really, size doesn't matter) boats.


1. Never Invite Yourself - or Anyone Else 

Boat people are casting a movie — they know who they want on board. After all, cruising waters 24 hours a day, you'd better enjoy the people. Tight quarters make for tighter relationships. And if it doesn't work, you won't be back. On my very first boat trip, there was an Oscar-winning actor who brought his friends - Mike and I went to the side and said to each other, "Oh my God, how could you?" Luckily there was an extra cabin. There are no rules for A-list stars. What's amazing is they turn out to be the most gracious, kind and generous — and grateful.


2. Go with the Flow

Your hosts are the captains of your stay — where you go, what you eat and what you do — so you need to follow the program. Some want to go to Capri and disco and eat at the best restaurants, like Fontanel, which you can only get to by boat. Others want to see nature —places like the Porquerolles in France, where you can swim on deserted beaches and eat lunch served by a crew more beautiful than anyone in Sports Illustrated.


3. Bring Something to the Party — and oh,    Behave

Tell stories, be present and suggest interesting people they might like to meet on land. Jet ski, swim, explore, snooze, dance. Be yourself... Just a better-mannered self. I once saw a major singer get his laptop ruined by a drunk club-goer coming to visit the boat and hitting on him. You do not want to walk the plank and be escorted off by security in your black-tie dress and heels.


4. Tip the Crew 

The right amount for you and your family is about $10,000 for a week. You take care of everybody who took care of you. (And by the way, don't take the masseuse or the manicurist away from the owner's time.)


5. Know the Social Media Policy 

The most beautiful boats I have been on, I'll never talk about - the owners are that private. So you don't post it. You don't write about it. And you never say the name of the yacht or your hosts. 


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

Facial Hair Etiquette

Simion Grahame was a Scottish-born writer and courtier to James VI. He urged gentlemen to keep their beards and moustaches clean, well trimmed and tightly curled.

Simion Grahame (1570-1614) was a Scottish-born writer and courtier to James VI. One of his better known works was Anatomie of Humors, in 1609. Much of this work dwells on human emotions, melancholy, in particular, something to which Grahame himself seemed familiar. 


Interspersed with advice on conduct, manners and how to forge and maintain good relationships with others. In one chapter Grahame urged gentlemen to keep their beards and moustaches clean, well trimmed and tightly curled. — “…A man is to be commended if he be [clean] in his linings, his hair well dressed, his beard well brushed and always his upper lip well curled… For if he chance to kiss a gentlewoman, some rebellious hairs may happen to startle in her nose and make her sneeze…”


Those who did not attend to their facial hair, wrote Grahame, were slobs, not fit to socialize with:. —“[These] snotty nosed gentlemen, with their drooping moustaches covering their mouth and becoming a harbour for meldrops [mucus]… He will drink with anybody whatsoever, and after he hath washed his filthy beard in the cup… he will suck the hair so heartily with his under lip.” — Simion Grahame, The Anatomie of Humors, Edinburgh


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

Saturday, May 6, 2017

England's "Lady Kissing" Etiquette

A 17th C. Kiss on the hand —"Being unaware of the fact that it was customary in England to kiss the corner of the mouth of ladies by way of salutation, instead of shaking hands, as we do in Hungary, my younger brother and I behaved very rudely on one occasion..."

Kissing the Ladies

Nicolaus de Bethlen, a pupil of Doctor Basire at Alba Julia, visited England during the winter of 1663-1664 and relates the following in his "Autobiography": "Being unaware of the fact that it was customary in England to kiss the corner of the mouth of ladies by way of salutation, instead of shaking hands, as we do in Hungary, my younger brother and I behaved very rudely on one occasion. We were invited to dinner to the house of a gentleman of high rank, and found his wife and three daughters, one of them married, standing in array to receive us. We kissed the girls, but not the married ladies, and thereby greatly offended the latter, but Duval, a French Protestant clergyman, apologized for our blunder, and explained to us that when saluting, we must always kiss the senior lady first and leave the girls and children to the last; after dinner it was considered sufficient to kiss the hostess only, in recognition of the hospitality received. "Thereafter​," he adds, he and all his traveling companions, with the exception of one who could not be prevailed upon, "complied most scrupulously with the rules of etiquette." — Marin Journal, 1889


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

Black Forest Table Etiquette

The Black Forest, or "Schwarzwald," as it is called in German, is not precisely a land unknown to American tourists, though it is not so well known as it deserves. Pedestrians find it a kind of paradise in good weather. No part of Europe is better situated for excursions.

European Letter —

One of the best centres in the Black Forest is Frieberg, where there is an excellent hotel—the "Schwarzwald," — in an excellent situation. From this point the tourist can branch out in all directions. It has a railway station, and the line of the railway from Frieberg to Hausach is one of the most remarkable pieces of engineering in Europe, and quite as remarkable as the Semmering between Vienna and Gratz. Frieberg is famous for clocks and watches; and it is to be remarked that over one of the largest clock-making establishments in the village there is a large clock which has no hands, and that, almost without exception, every clock to be seen in the hotels or other places is either stopped altogether, or is entirely wrong as to the time.

The etiquette of German bathing places is very peculiar. In one of them the following is written in French on the bedroom doors; "Those persons recently arrived will place themselves at the foot of the table. A bather desiring to have a visiting friend near him at the table, may be accorded this privilege for one repast only. Such favors as selecting a place of his own choice, passing immediately to the head of the table, or of sitting opposite whom one pleases, will not be accorded for the reason that they would result in the juxtaposition of persons not agreeable to one another." 

The advancement to the head of the table is not coveted merely as a matter of distinction; for it includes the appreciable advantage of a first presentation of dishes at dinner and supper; and the difference of a plate as it comes from the chef, and the same plate when it has passed a file of hungry Germans, male and female, after their kind, is very marked. But the final right to sit opposite whom one pleases has possibly a more romantic signification, and may be intended as a check on the too ardent gallantry of susceptible youths who want to sit opposite the prettiest girls. – From C. A. S. in The Marin Journal, 1878

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

Etiquette, Modesty and Dress

Oh, the irony! She wears a bathing dress that shows her limbs half way up to the knee, and doesn't care who sees them; but in the evening, when at home, if her dress should expose the least bit of a striped stocking to the gaze of her most intimate friends, she would clutch it frantically and drag it down quicker than chain-lightening.


The Absence of Etiquette in the Water

It is astonishing to see how much a young lady becomes attached to a gentleman while in the water, who she would barely recognize on the street the day before. We have seen such a one clasp a young man lovingly around the neck, just because a roller, a little larger than usual came along, and he had considerable difficulty in releasing himself before he was choked to death. 

The same young lady wears a bathing dress that shows her limbs half way up to the knee, and doesn't care who sees them; but in the evening, when at home, if her dress should expose the least bit of a striped stocking to the gaze of her most intimate friends, she would clutch it frantically and drag it down quicker than chain-lightening, while her face would become suffused with blushes. It makes a power of difference where we are, and what we're doing. (We presume that the same lady would blush to look upon Antony and Cleopatra.) – California Farmer and Journal of Useful Sciences, 1877

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

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Etiquette and a Grecian Bend

The Grecian Bend... it is the latest "thing" in polite accomplishments. Not to know the Grecian Bend at Saratoga and Newport this season is to "vote yourself out of refined society." 



Letter from New York


[From Our Special Correspondent] 

New York, August 15th

As I have not yet learned the "Grecian Bend," I have declined a visit to the watering places. Your fashionable readers, of course, know what the Grecian Bend is. But your more fashionable folk may require to be told that it is the latest "thing" in polite accomplishments. Not to know the Grecian Bend at Saratoga and Newport this season is to "vote yourself out of refined society."

When first your correspondent heard of the Grecian Bend, in the innocency of his heart and the antiquity of his ideas, he thought it referred to archery practice, including the drawing of the long bow by the newspaper correspondents at these watering places. Then it occurred to him that it might mean that graceful action by which a man in tight-fitting habiliments gets at his pocket book — a gentle stoop to prepare the pocket for the insertion of the digitals. As this is the most frequent action at our watering places, it seemed proper that it should possess a studied grace. But this is not the Grecian Bend.

Not to keep your readers longer in suspense, here is what the newest accomplishment of our belles and beaux really is. You must know in the first place that the very extreme of the present Paris toilette prevails at Saratoga, Newport and the other fashionable summer resorts this season. The most striking costumes are the chignon, worn on the top of the head, from which two long switches of loose hair depend, hanging from each side of the center down the back. The "pannier" is worn at the top of the hoop, and around and upon it are gathered five or six yards ot material, forming what is called the "blancbisseuse," or "washwoman's" style. A band encircles the wearer's hips, just below this monstrous hump, and the dress below falls straight to the feet. To relieve this straightness and give effect to the hump aforesaid, the belles assumed what is called the Grecian Bend.

This is performed, says a fashion critic, "by pulling the lower hips up to a point, even with the lower ribs, drawing the stomach in and throwing the shoulders forward, with the hands dropping pendent from the upraised elbows, like the paws of a dancing bear, or, to use a politer simile, like the shaking​ quakers in a dance." 


"When the whole affair is carried out in a dance," says a correspondent, "by a gay and luxuriant youth, with his hair parted in the middle, placing his right arm under the belt of the lady, with fingers extended as in a spasm between the shoulder-blades, while with the thumb and second finger of the other hand he holds her wrist, leaving the hand to hang lifelessly pendent, we have an exhibition of snobbishness and cockneyism which might put all sensible Americans to the blush." – August, 1868

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

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Moslem Toothpick Etiquette

Ornate Victorian Era Toothpick ~ Throughout the 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries, ornate and bejeweled toothpicks were popular throughout the world, especially with the United Kingdom's upper classes.

Moslem Etiquette

All true Moslems when eating must begin with salt and finish with vinegar. If they begin with salt, they will escape the contagion of seventy diseases. If they finish with vinegar, their worldly prosperity will continue to increase. The host is in etiquette bound to be the first to start eating and the last to leave off. Tooth picking Is considered an act of grace in the true Moslem, for the angel Gabriel is reported to have brought a tooth pick from heaven for the prophet at every meal. The priests recite certain passages of the Koran before and after lunch and dinner, and also before drinking water at any hour of the day. — The Mariposa Gazette, 1903



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

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Moroccan Dining Etiquette

A "diffa" is an Arabic reception or banquet. General Mark Clark and Caid El Ayadi dining in 1943

"Morocco Etiquette"

General Mark Clark, head of United States forces in Morocco, is eating with his fingers at the great diffa, or feast, given by the rich, Caid El Ayadi, on the occasion of a wolf hunt. General Clark and his staff enjoyed the diffa immensely. — 
As reported in The Enterprise and Scimitar, May 1943

Dining in the Middle East

To avoid making your hosts feel uncomfortable, there are a few simple guidelines to follow.
  • Bring a small gift of flowers, chocolates, pastries, fruit or honey.
  • It’s polite to be seen to wash your hands before a meal.
  • Always remove your shoes before sitting down on a rug to eat or drink tea.
  • Don’t sit with your legs stretched out – it’s considered rude during a meal.
  • Always sit next to a person of the same sex at the dinner table unless your host(ess) suggests otherwise.
  • Use only your right hand for eating or accepting food.
  • When the meal begins, accept as much food as is offered to you. If you say ‘no thanks’ continually, it can offend the host.
  • It’s good manners to leave a little food on your plate at the end of the meal: traditionally, a clean plate was thought to invite famine. It can also suggest to your host that they haven't fed you sufficiently.
  • Your host will often lay the tastiest morsels in front of you; it’s polite to accept them.
  • The best part – such as the meat – is usually saved until last, so don’t take it until offered.
Etiquette Advce from Lonely Planet.com

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

Field Trip Etiquette Plea

1930's school children — "The majority of students know how to conduct themselves, but the hopeless minority group can make or break the school's reputation when off-campus."

Filed Under "Conduct"

Emily Post has written many books on etiquette but it remains for some enterprising person to write a book on how students should conduct themselves on field trips. 
When a student is on a field trip, he himself carries a part of the school's reputation and it behooves him to act like a gentleman. 

The majority of students know how to conduct themselves but the hopeless minority group can make or break the school's reputation when off-campus. Those few students who act like rowdies and respect the property of no one should remain at home when the class makes a field trip. — The Corsair, 1938

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

Monday, April 17, 2017

Major Etiquette Fail

Mr. Clark wasn't "all that" in modern day slanguage — A hostess should never ignore or otherwise insult, any of those paying visits to her home, however, one should not use a gun to settle any social misunderstandings either.

Misunderstanding Social Rules

Jesse C. Clarke evidently wanted to be "the whole thing" when he sought society yesterday and called at a home on Redlands Road. He objected to the hostess paying any attention to a young couple that called during his stay and manifested his displeasure by firing off a revolver and using vile language. For this, little remissness in observing the rules of social etiquette, he was fined $5.00 by Justice Hanna this morning. He is said to be an employee at the P. F. E. plant. — California, 1912


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

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Etiquette Class for Immigrants

During the 1800s, after Ellis Island in New York City, the Port of Baltimore was the second-leading port of entry for immigrants arriving to the United States.

In Baltimore, Maryland, the first public school for the teaching of etiquette has been established at the Captain William Fleet School, where children of foreign-born parents are given a better conception of our customs and manner of living. – Sacramento Union, 1921

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

First Choice Etiquette

Etiquette Class is Number 1 with Students
Teen Girls' Fashions of the 1920s

From the Madera Tribune of 1925 

"Beginning next Monday, a number of short courses will he offered to Madera high school students once a week for five weeks, advance registration made today show clearly the trend of student preference. The highest registration was in etiquette. For this subject, 115 students indicated a first preference, 56 a second preference, and 42 a third preference. Next in popularity was a course for girls in the care of the automobile. Forty-three students took this course as their first choice. Thirty-nine enrolled for radio, 29 girls for folk dancing, 27 for parliamentary practice, and so on down the line. Much interest in the courses is being displayed by students."

The following week —
New Courses Prove Popular in Madera Union High School

The series of short courses recently introduced in Madera High began Monday morning with most of the classes well attended. Miss McSweeney’s Etiquette class has the largest attendance while Miss Johnson’s class of Etiquette and Mr. Mathews’ class on the Care of the Automobile, rank second with an enrollment of 47 each. The various courses are all very practical and offer the student advantages which he doesn’t secure In his regular school course. Following are the classes and enrollment in each:
Etiquette—(girls) Miss McSweeney, 58. Etiquette—(boys) Miss Johnson, 47. Radio—Mr. Sheldon, 42. Care of the Automobile—Mr. Mathews, 47. Aesthetic Dancing—Miss Richter, 25. Etiquette—(girls) Miss Bennink, 24. Parliamentary Law—Mr. Thompson, 22. Ornamental Gardening—Mr. Moffit, 21. Basketry and Sewing—Miss Worthington, 18. Short Stories—Miss Petty, 15. Salesmanship—Miss Campbell, 12 Modern Drama—Mrs. Hubbard, 12. Fancy Stitches—Miss Jones, 7. Music Appreciation—Miss Short, 3.

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

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Snuff and Etiquette at Versailles

Smoking was popular as well! – The active ingredient in intobacco was named “nicotine” after the French diplomat, Jean Nicot. Nicot introduced snuff tobacco to French Queen, Catherine de Medici, and the French Nobility.

After a French ambassador to Portugal returned to France with an addictive plant discovered in the New World, it caused a sensation in the French Royal Court. French diplomat and scholar, Jean Nicot, had been introduced to tobacco in Lisbon. There, it was being crushed into powder and was used as the remedy for a variety of maladies, ironically including cancer. Snuffing became a popular activity in Paris after the Queen Mother herself, Catherine de Medici, was introduced to snuffing tobacco by Nicot. He had demonstrated the inhalation of powdered tobacco, as a way to cure  de Medici's frequent headaches. It was later named the genus of tobacco cultivars “Nicotiana,” by the Swedish naturalist Carl Linnaeus in Nicot's honor. The active ingredient intobacco was also named “nicotine” after the French diplomat.

Snuffing remained popular, and addictive, with the French Royals and Nobility. By the 18th century, snuff boxes were as socially important as fine pieces of jewelry. Anyone who was anyone needed
 to have a variété´ of these boxes. And as fashions changed frequently, so did the styles and designs of snuff boxes. At Versailles, showered with extravagance upon her marriage to Louis XVI, Marie Antoinette was gifted with 52 gold snuff boxes. From all accounts, Marie Antoinette was more likely to carry a box of bon bons on her person, than a snuff box,  but she is said to have been responsible for the French standardization of the modern-day handkerchief.

Prior to the arrival and ultimate popularity of snuff tobacco in Europe,the handkerchief had become simply another object of fashion. Snuff brought the handkerchief back to its original purpose, and was indispensable for cleaning orange-brown, snuff-stained noses and fingers. White handkerchiefs were hardly appropriate for such a task, so snuff users began to employ large, colorful handkerchiefs to hide those stains. The handkerchief, up to that time, had come in many shapes; square, triangular, etc... According to legend, Marie Antoinette remarked that the square-shaped handkerchief at Versailles was the most pleasing, as well as the most convenient to use. The remark is said to have prompted Louis XVI to make mandatory that all handkerchiefs produced in France to be square in shape.

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

Saturday, April 8, 2017

19th C. Swedish Social Etiquette


"Skål bror!" —  Or "Cheers brother!"

All through Sweden, social intercourse is encumbered with much ceremonious etiquette, particularly among the landed gentry. The three Scandinavian tongues employ the two personal pronouns "thou" and "you" the first familiarly, the second when speaking to a mere acquaintance. But a well-bred Swedish gentleman, addressing a stranger, will always, with old-fashioned courtesy, substitute the equivalent for, "Monsieur." regardless of harrowing repetitions, and where a title is demanded, even under the difficulties of rapid speech, it is never for a moment omitted. As such politesse, however, in the end becomes both monotonous and wearisome, they have a practical way of cutting the Gordian knot. When a casual acquaintanceship has ripened into genial sympathy or mutual respect your Swedish friend at once proposes a "brotherhood." This is a distinct social ordeal, the initiation to which demands a special rite.

The man who has requested the honor of becoming your brother provides you with a glass of wine filled to the brim, he himself holding another; both rise, each linking the right arm of each, looking one another boldly in the eve and pronouncing the words "Skal bror," the beakers are emptied. Hence you are expected to use the pronoun "thou," and you take your stand on the footing of relationship. Among the reminiscences of this visit to Vermland is an evening when I acquired no less than six new and stalwart brother. On the subject of ancient politesse, I should mention, by the way. that there is a well-known Swedish gentleman who always gives precedence to his own son, because "He has one ancestor more than his father." – Cornhill Magazine, 1887

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

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Squalor and Etiquette at Versailles

A royal chamber pot from Versailles -There were no bathrooms as we would know them. Courtiers and royalty used decorative commodes in each room, while commoners simply relieved themselves in the hallways or stairwells. No one bothered to house-train the royal dogs, and servants did not consider cleaning up after them to be part of their job description.

The palace of Versailles was once the most lavish large home in the world, the residence of the French royal family along with hundreds of their courtiers and servants. Containing half-a-million square feet, the palace compound has 700 rooms and 67 staircases. With lofty ceilings, gilded crown moldings, decorative floors, and 6000 paintings, there were also extensive servants’ quarters, kitchens, stables, and services.

Versailles was the creation of Louis XIV of France, who obsessively enlarged and enhanced his residence for more than 30 years during the 1600s. Today it’s toured by three million visitors annually, all hoping for a glimpse of the royal lifestyle.
This was the royal family’s private chapel for religious services

The Baroque aesthetic was to leave no surface unadorned. Every royal chamber has gilded paneling and crown molding; every wall has brocaded or flocked wall coverings; every ceiling is covered with allegorical paintings of Greek gods; every floor is patterned parquet or colored tiles. The hallways were done up with contrasting colors of veined marble. Everything inside, from furniture to finishes, is a visual froth of embellishments. Versailles in its day was so visually overpowering that it inspired copycat palaces all across Europe.

The chateau began as a hunting lodge built by Louis XIV’s father, fifteen miles southwest of Paris. Louis grew up during a tumultuous French civil war called the Fronde, during which he was surrounded by conspirators, had no pocket money and slept on ragged sheets. His mother even had to pawn the crown jewels. After consolidating his power as King, Louis compensated for childhood privations by building himself the most luxurious palace imaginable. He continued enlarging it throughout much of his life.
The public could watch the royals from behind the golden railing (at the bottom of the photo), so that there was no privacy for the royal family, even in bed.

The original hunting lodge was embedded within a vast series of newer buildings. Floors were added on top of existing structures, courtyards were filled in by new living spaces, wings were built, stables were constructed, staircases were built and then moved, service hallways added and then altered. The place became a complex maze containing sparkling state apartments as well as uncomfortable attic garrets tucked beneath the roof.

Ongoing construction at the palace provided job security to hundreds of masons, carpenters, plasterers, gilders, painters and landscapers. An immense support staff was maintained, consisting of cooks, valets, gardeners, grooms, hairdressers, and tailors. Vegetables and fruits to feed the masses were provided by a large potager, or kitchen garden.

But life in a palace wasn’t necessarily peaceful or enjoyable. The place was a vast hive of activity. Hundreds of courtiers lived alongside the royal family at Versailles, with their families as well. Nobles who could afford it often moved out of the crowded palace and constructed their own houses beyond the golden gates in the town of Versailles.

Versailles became a tourist destination almost from the beginning. The first visitor’s guide was published in the late 1600s. Anyone was granted entry to the grounds and the palace as long as the dress code was observed. (Hats and swords for men could be rented from the concierge at the gate.) Entry included the ability to enter into the royal apartments. 

A gilded railing separated the royal half of each room from the spectators’ portion. Behind these gilded railings, a series of private doors were built into the back paneling of the royal apartments, leading to secret hallways and stairs which allowed royalty to move from one room to another while remaining hidden from public view. Years later, in 1789, Queen Marie-Antoinette temporarily escaped the revolutionary mob by slipping through one of these doors to the king’s chamber.

Marie-Antoinette (married to Louis XIV’s great-great-grandson, Louis XVI) chafed at being on display even when in her bedroom. When she gave birth to her first child at Versailles, the entire royal family and all the major state officials came to witness the event. Hordes of other inquisitive people crowded in as well, in such numbers that spectators were crushed against the furniture and walls and movement was impossible.

It’s difficult to believe today when gazing at the gleaming golden palace, but life at Versailles was actually quite dirty. There were no bathrooms as we would know them. Courtiers and royalty used decorative commodes in each room, while commoners simply relieved themselves in the hallways or stairwells. No one bothered to house-train the royal dogs, and servants did not consider cleaning up after them to be part of their job description. The constantly-altered chimneys did not draw well, so everything inside was covered with soot. The filth and disorder at Versailles during the ancient regime were noted in many records of the time.

Life at Versailles was not just foie-gras served on golden plates. In need of cleaning, requiring expensive maintenance, and with in-laws living in the wings, Versailles was not so very different from many homes today. — A previous version of this article appeared in the Bloomington, IN Herald-Times in 2009

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

Etiquette and Swell Servants

 There is no doubt that the English nobility, have a way of employing servants which offers grand opportunities to rogues. 

The Swell Servants in England

''Although all hopes of recovering the jewels of Lady Dudley has vanished—their real value was £30,000 there is still a good deal of speculation about their disappearance, and a pretty general belief that some of His Lordship's servants must have been at least an accomplice in the transaction. It is difficult to believe that a box of such value entrusted to the care of servants could have disappeared in a railway station from unwilling hands, or that an outside thief could have known so much about the movements of the family as to have been on the spot at the precise moment. However this may be, there is no doubt that the English nobility, have a way of employing servants which offers grand opportunities to rogues.

In most cases the outside of the servants is the chief thing. If the coachman or footman is good-looking in his livery and of the required dimensions, his character is not inquired into. A well known Duke recently advertised for a footman of exactly five feet eleven and a half inches, whose sole business it would be to stand at the back of his coach beside another of like station. A youth, now in the employ of a lady of my acquaintance, applied for the advertised position, and says that his character was not asked for— he was taken into the servants' hall , and measured, and dismissed for lacking the half inch demanded by the Duke.

There is a passion tor tallness in servants, and of one noble family, at least, it is a rule to admit no man servant under six feet. There are six of these eminent personages in their fine mansions. The English servants are good-looking, neat and constitutional flunkeys and flunkeyesses. They are very shrewd, and have their class rules as well defined as any trade union. Downing street does not possess more pigeon-holes and red tape than a mansion of the wealthy. 

An upper house-maid would die at the stake before she would do a bit of work that came within the province of the under house-maid. A swell butler would throw up his position in the face of the Lord Chancellor himself if he were expected to black his own boots. There are many boys of thirteen kept in brass buttons, and in many an instance the sole duty of this boy is to brush the clothes and boots of the butler, the master of the house having his own separate valet.

Of course, it is not pride which has made the inflexible laws of etiquette among these servants, which they refuse to step out of an official groove or function. It is the determination of their class to preserve the conventional number of the servants required for any first-class household. They particularly dislike servants from other countries, especially the Germans, because if well paid, and well treated, they will do anything requested of them."— 
London Correspondent of the Cincinnati Commercial, 1875

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