Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Etiquette, Gents and Flowers

A girl under five feet five might prefer a small arrangement to be worn on her back décolletage, rather than one to be crushed at the waist or on the shoulder during dancing or a tiny nosegay to pin to her gloves or bag. Tall girls can stand the big impressive corsages men love to buy, but little girls often abhor them. 


In the sending of flowers, confused, they buy something expensive and therefore, they believe, impressive, but it may be quite unsuitable to the occasion or to the costume the girl is wearing. A corsage of purple orchids looks foolish at a football game, whereas a shaggy chrysanthemum, a bunch of violets, or orange calendula, or even a charmingly arranged spray of bittersweet would be in tune with her sport coat, lap rug, and stadium boots. A woman is much more impressed when her escort makes an effort to find out what kind of flowers she would prefer to wear than if he just leaves it up to the florist. 

If a man can't determine for himself whether a girl is the orchid or gardenia type and can't bring himself to ask her what she plans to wear, he is safe in sending white flowers — lilies of the valley, gardenias, chrysanthemums (for daytime wear), rosebuds (but they are perishable for an evening of dancing), carnations in a tight little round bouquet. But he should be careful not to have so many flowers in the corsage that a delicate gown will be pulled out of place by the weight of it. And for a short girl, never, under any circumstances, should a corsage of more than one or two orchids be sent. A girl with taste and a taste for orchids would prefer one little green, yellow, or white spray orchid to half a dozen ostentatious purple ones. But, orchids or cornflowers, corsages should be free of ribbon trimming, and rose corsages should not have any greenery but their own as background. 

Flowers are worn various ways with evening clothes. (If they are to be worn on the shoulder for dancing, the right shoulder keeps them fresh longer. ) A girl with braids or a chignon might prefer a red or pink camellia or a single gardenia for her hair rather than a corsage. A girl under five feet five might prefer a small arrangement to be worn on her back décolletage, rather than one to be crushed at the waist or on the shoulder during dancing or a tiny nosegay to pin to her gloves or bag. Tall girls can stand the big impressive corsages men love to buy, but little girls often abhor them. 

Flowers should be arranged in corsages so that they will be worn the way they grow, with the heads up. They should be sent with several florist's pins so they can be anchored firmly in place. Bouquets of flowers should always be sent with some thought of where and how they will be arranged. Several dozen towering dahlias, chrysanthemums, or gladiolus, sans container, will not always be welcome in a hotel room, in the compartment of a train, or aboard ship, in anything less than a suite. A potted plant is impractical for a transient. 

Flowers corsages or arm bouquets sent to trains and planes are usually just a burden to the recipient. It is a very nice thing, however, to send flowers for decoration to a girl who is giving a party. I once knew a charming gentleman with imagination enough to do that. He filled my apartment with flowers the afternoon I was giving a large cocktail party and sent along his Filipino butler, too, to help out. 

A man who is laying siege to a girl's heart does well not to systematize his flower-sending. I knew one man who could be counted on to send two dozen long-stemmed red roses every Saturday, rain or shine. And another who might send a gay, red geranium in a simple clay pot or turn up with a single gardenia in a twist of green waxed paper or a new recording or some fresh catnip for the kitten one never knew. Any woman could tell in a minute which was the more interesting man. — The Courier-Journal from Louisville, Kentucky, 1953


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

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Etiquette at the Door


A Question of Etiquette: Do you hold the door for others?
"Everyday acts of etiquette, such as holding doors for other people, reflect the internal simulation of acts of social cooperation."?

American researchers stake out a door and find it far from an open and shut case

Whether one person holds a door open for another is not simply a question of etiquette, says a study by Joseph P Santamaria and David A Rosenbaum of Pennsylvania State University. No, they say. Nothing simple about it.

Santamaria and Rosenbaum worked to pursue the answer through a tangle of belief, logic, probability, perception and calculation. Their study, Etiquette and Effort: Holding Doors for Others, was published in 2011 in the journal Psychological Science. It is, one way or another, a gripping read.

Santamaria and Rosenbaum selected a door that gets heavy use by people entering or exiting a building. “We recorded the behaviour of 148 individuals approaching and passing through the door. We determined whether the first person held the door for the follower or followers, how far the follower or followers were from the door, how long it took for the follower or followers to reach the doorway, and how many followers (one or two) followed the first person at the door.”

“We found,” they reveal, “that the closer the follower or followers were to the door, the more likely people were to hold the door open.” The researchers devised the experiment to test their new hypothesis — their highly educated guess — as to what happens in the mind of a person faced with a decision to either hold the door open for the next person, or not hold the door open.

“Specifically, we hypothesised that decisions about whether to hold a door open depend on calculations of the odds that one person’s holding the door would require less effort than would each individual’s opening the door on his or her own.”

Santamaria and Rosenbaum’s small, specific door-holding hypothesis is a toy version of their big, general hypothesis: “We hypothesised that everyday acts of etiquette, such as holding doors for other people, reflect the internal simulation of acts of social cooperation.” Their theory aims for a deep level of understanding: “According to [our] view, etiquette, or the form of physically expressed etiquette considered here, is not just a symbol for respect; it is also a means of reducing physical effort for the group.”

In the final paragraph, the study points out one of its obvious limitations: “Some forms of etiquette do not concern physical effort (eg napkin folding).”

The Santamaria/Rosenbaum study follows distantly in the tradition of John Trinkaus. Professor Trinkaus published nearly 100 academic studies about things that annoyed him. His paper, called Exiting a Building: An Informal Look, published in 1990, reported the behaviour of 819 people leaving a New York City building that had two side-by-side doors, one held in the open position, the other closed. Trinkaus observed that approximately 70% of those people chose to exit through the open door.

Marc Abrahams is editor of the Annals of ImprobableResearch and organiser of the Ig Nobel prizes - From May 2015, TheGuardian.com

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

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Victorian School Etiquette

“Good manners are the shadows of virtues, if not virtues themselves.”


School-Room Etiquette

If teachers realized the inestimable amount of good they might accomplish by giving a little time and thought to the manners of their pupils, surely they would willingly give it. Those of their pupils who have no proper training at home would thus gain a knowledge which, in after life, would prove a blessing. And such a course acted upon by the teacher would be of great assistance to the parents of those who are well trained at home; for a large portion of a child’s time is spent in school, and under conditions that require such training.

Teachers must treat their scholars politely if they expect polite treatment from them.

Every teacher should see that no pupil is allowed to treat those of a lower station in life with disrespect.

It is a common occurrence for a teacher to speak with seeming disrespect of a pupil’s parents, blaming them for the pupil’s lack of interest in school, truancy, etc. Such a course is highly reprehensible in the teacher, and gains the pupil’s ill-will. It is better to assume that the parents would be displeased with anything wrong in the pupil, and to appeal to the pupil for his mother’s or father’s sake.

A teacher should never allow herself or himself to be addressed by pupils as “Teacher,” but as Miss or Mr. Smith.

If pupils would take pains to bid a teacher “good-morning” and “good-night,” they would appear well in so doing, and easily give pleasure to another.

The entire atmosphere of a school-room is dependent upon trifles. Where a teacher, by her own actions and in accordance with her requirements, insures kindness and politeness from all to all, she may feel almost sure of the success of her school.

Young misses ought to be addressed by the teacher as “Miss Julia,” “Miss Annie.” Young boys (too young to be addressed as Mr.) should be addressed as “Master Brown,” “Master Jones,” etc.

Teachers should use great discretion in reproving any unintentional rudeness, especially on the part of those ignorant from lack of home training. If such were reproved gently and privately, it would be more efficacious and just. No one should be allowed to appear to disadvantage from ignorance.

Selfishness, untruthfulness, slang, rowdyism, egotism, or any show of superiority should be corrected in the school-room.

Young teachers hardly realize with what fear and dread mothers intrust to them their carefully reared children, especially young ones.


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

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Etiquette for Telephoning

When there are several different persons using the same line, two or three of them may mistake the call for theirs, and all rush to the telephone at once. If at all stupid, or lacking in politeness, they will make it quite unpleasant for each other. - From "Practical Etiquette," 1899  
While it is fun to read retro-etiquette or vintage etiquette posts, which preceded our carrying our phones everywhere with us,  they rarely need much modification to suit today's needs.  Keep this in mind when reading. With mobile phones, or cell phones, fewer people are making actual phone calls. Texting and engagement through social media sites are far more prevalent. 
The amount of text, email and social media app data usage, surpassed the amount of voice data used in cell phone calls in less than a decade. One 40-year-old marketing consultant from Canton Massachusetts, said that she probably only spoke to someone verbally on her cell phone, once a week, when interviewed by the New York Times in 2010. To get, and keep jobs, in which conversation skills are highly valued, proper telephone manners may have to be learned, or refreshed, as the current trends continue.


Telephoning

For the benefit of those who but seldom make use of the telephone, and consequently feel more or less ill at ease when attempting to use one, and also for those who, from ignorance of the first laws of politeness, or who, from thoughtlessness, ignore them, a few hints upon the subject may not come amiss. It is after having called up “Central,” and been given the number requested, that one often stands in need of no small amount of tact and good breeding, as well as of some idea of the best method of procedure. 

When there are several different persons using the same line, two or three of them may mistake the call for theirs, and all rush to the telephone at once. If at all stupid, or lacking in politeness, they will make it quite unpleasant for each other. The one entitled to speak should politely inquire for the one for whom she has called at the telephone, also giving her own name as the one delivering the message. If this does not suffice to enlighten those who sometimes keep calling “hello,” “hello,” without waiting to learn if they are the ones desired, the one talking should again announce herself, and the name of the one to whom she wishes to speak. Then, occasionally, even while in the midst of a conversation, some one will break in with a “Hello!” “Who is it?” “What do you want?” etc., which is quite distracting. If one can gain a hearing in no other way, it is well to say: “Excuse me, I hold the line.” If this does not bring order out of chaos, one should ring off and call again.

One should be careful not to call up friends at inconvenient hours, and when one is notified by a servant, or otherwise, that someone, the name being given, is at the telephone wishing to speak with her, she should certainly be as expeditious as possible in replying; for, by holding the wire, she is inconveniencing others, as well as the one who is waiting for her. No lady needs to be warned against speaking discourteously under any circumstances to the telephone assistants at the central office. It is in these little things that one shows herself to be well-bred or not.

None, of course, but the most informal of invitations can be delivered by telephone.

Servants should be taught always to answer the telephone politely and intelligently. When answering, a servant should say whose residence it is, if asked, not by giving the family name, as “Smith,” but as “Mr. Smith,” and then, if asked who is at the instrument, she should reply, “Mrs. Smith’s cook” or “maid.”

One’s individual manners, and ordinary polite or impolite forms of address, are very noticeable when accentuated by the telephone. — From Practical Etiquette 


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

Etiquette and Chaperonage

The Chaperone — Ready to spoil just about everyone's fun! 


Chaperonage in 1899 

The foreign custom that makes a chaperone indispensable where young people are gathered together at places of public entertainment, has long obtained in the cities of the East, and in all conventional communities everywhere. No really fashionable party is made up without a chaperone.

A young woman condemns herself in the eyes of good society who is observed to enter alone with a young man a place of public refreshment, be the restaurant or tea room ever so select. Bred under other conditions of a society so necessarily varying as that in our broad America, a stranger visiting New York, for instance, might readily and innocently make a mistake of this nature, and blush at finding herself condemned for it. In the same category of offenses is ranked that of maidens visiting places of public amusement under the escort of young men alone. Many parts of the South and West allow this to be done with the smiling consent of good society; but in Eastern cities it is considered a violation of good form, and for the comfort, if not the convenience, of the girl considering it, had better be ranked among the lost privileges upon which social evolution may look back with fond regret.

It is always wisest, when a number of young people are to have a party, to ask two or three married women to be present, not only for propriety’s sake, but because there will then be no danger of anything unwished for happening, inasmuch as it is the duty of the chaperones to make all social entertainments smooth and pleasant.

When it is necessary for a girl to pay long visits to a dentist’s office, she should be accompanied either by her mother, or some woman relative, or maid.

The etiquette of chaperonage is much less strict for a young widow than for an unmarried girl of the same age; but it is important and in good taste for a woman who is a widow to be very quiet and inconspicuous in all she does, giving by her behavior no opportunity for criticism. — From Practical Etiquette



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

Etiquette and Francatelli's Legacy

"At Windsor Castle, Francatelli, and then the royal chefs who followed him during Victoria’s long reign, had at least two Yeomen of the Kitchen and 24 assistant chefs to prepare these meals, and then, of course, all kinds of servers and lackeys were involved in washing, table-setting, serving and clearing away." —M.F.K. Fisher 


"Her Majesty’s (Queen Victoria's) French? Italian? English? chef, Charles Edme Francatelli, wrote ''The Modern Cook'' in 1846, and it sold almost as well in America as in England. Few kitchens here could follow all its directions for the light Gallic dainties Francatelli introduced to counteract the basic heaviness of royal dining habits, but gradually his style of making two courses of a meal, with a predominance of sweet dishes in the second, was adapted by our housekeepers to shape the way we now eat lunch and dinner.

In the Queen's menus, there were often three soups, three fishes, a kind of savory (for instance, marrow patties with a fines-herbes sauce), four dishes and eight entrées in the first course, all served at once. In the second there were three roasts and poultry and game, three sweet desserts, two more side desserts of pastry, and 12 entremets, including vegetables, aspics and fruit tartlets.

At Windsor Castle Francatelli, and then the royal chefs who followed him during Victoria’s long reign, had at least two Yeomen of the Kitchen and 24 assistant chefs to prepare these meals, and then, of course, all kinds of servers and lackeys were involved in washing, table-setting, serving and clearing away. 


Nonetheless, American housewives as far west as Iowa and then beyond, helped by one or two immigrant servants, read ''The Modern Cook'' and its lesser imitators and gradually changed the accustomed pattern of one long hodge-podge of dishes served together, even in a plain Family Meal, to two courses, with sweets alone finally constituting the second course. This might consist of two kinds of pies or tarts, a cool pudding, a jelly and a tall layered cake, but at least these did not appear side by side with roast pigeons, asparagus soup and a haunch of venison flanked by boiled vegetables." — From Food: The Arts (Fine and Culinary) of 19th Century America
By M. F. K. Fisher

Etiquette for Eating Oranges

In ancient times, Alexander the Great named what we now call "oranges," “Median Apples” and “Persian Apples.” Considered the fruit of emperors and kings, oranges and orange groves were considered one's paradise. France's Louis XIV had his own: “His orangerie at Versailles was built in the shape of a "C," 1200 feet around, and was the scene of garden parties and masked balls.” And oranges were believed to be the “ultimate preventive” to the threat of a plague, according to physicians of the Italian Renaissance. Oranges were still considered a delicacy throughout most of  the Victorian era. Specially designed spoons and dishes for oranges were seen on the finest dining tables. Only those who were well-versed in etiquette knew how to use them, and eat their oranges properly. By the 20th century, after refrigerated railroad cars were invented, oranges reached the middle-class in the United States. In the early 1900’s, people in the United States used to consume more fresh oranges than all other fresh fruits combined, with their popularity soaring during the winter holidays.  Though no longer considered a delicacy, oranges continue to hold a special place in children's Christmas stockings.



It is not customary to serve fruit as a first course at dinner, though at a lunch it is quite proper.





First in expensive sterling, then in silverplate, special spoons for oranges became popular table accoutrements.  When oranges were no longer a delicacy, and grapefruits were grown to be more palatable, a serrated edge was added to orange spoons, creating "grapefruit spoons." 

Oranges are seldom served at dinner unless they are specially prepared, that is, with the skin taken off, and the sections divided, in which case the fruit is eaten from a fork.

Grape-fruit must be served ice cold. It is served in two ways: either it is cut in halves, midway between the blossom and the stem end, the seeds removed, the pulp loosened with a sharp knife, but served in the natural skin, to be eaten with a spoon; or the pulp and seeds are entirely removed from the skin with a sharp knife, and the edible part only served in deep dessert plates. Pulverized sugar should accompany grape-fruit. - From *Practical Etiquette by N.C., 1899


*Author's note : "The author is under obligation to so many persons for suggestions and advice, as well as to many authors, that it does not seem best to give a list of the same, especially as such list could be only a partial one, for many of her friends would not desire mention of their names."
N. C. Dec. 1, 1899


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


Thursday, July 27, 2017

Etiquette Duties of Dinner Hosts

"Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you what you are."  Brillat-Savarin ...  "To invite a friend to dinner," says Brillat -Savarin, "is to become responsible for his happiness so long as he is under your roof." 


In summing up the little duties and laws of the table, a popular author has said that — "The chief matter of consideration at the dinner-table — as, indeed, everywhere else in the life of a gentleman — is to be perfectly composed and at his ease. He speaks deliberately; he performs the most important act of the day as if he were performing the most ordinary. Yet there is no appearance of trifling or want of gravity in his manner; he maintains the dignity which is so becoming on so vital an occasion. He performs all the ceremonies, yet in the style of one who performs no ceremonies at all. He goes through all the complicated duties of the scene as if he were 'to the manner born.'" To the giver of a dinner we have but one or two remarks to offer. If he be a bachelor, he had better give his dinner at a good hotel, or have it sent in from Birch's or Kühn's. If a married man, he will, we presume, enter into council with his wife and his cook. In any case, however, he should always bear in mind that it is his duty to entertain his friends in the best manner that his means permit; and that this is the least he can do to recompense them for the expenditure of time and money which they incur in accepting his invitation.

"To invite a friend to dinner," says Brillat Savarin, "is to become responsible for his happiness so long as he is under your roof." Again:--"He who receives friends at his table, without having bestowed his personal supervision upon the repast placed before them, is unworthy to have friends." A dinner, to be excellent, need not consist of a great variety of dishes; but everything should be of the best, and the cookery should be perfect. That which should be cool should be cool as ice; that which should be hot should be smoking; the attendance should be rapid and noiseless; the guests well assorted; the wines of the best quality; the host attentive and courteous; the room well lighted; and the time punctual. —
From "Routledge's Manual of Etiquette"
by George Routledge and Sons, c. 1860s



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

White House China Etiquette

The White House "China Room" in 1918

The ground floor China Room is where the White House collection of china is kept. Even the earliest Presidents received government funds to purchase state china. However, by a special clause in the appropriation bills, "decayed furnishings" could be sold and the proceeds used to buy replacements. Such "furnishings" included state china, and during the 19th century the cupboards were frequently swept clean and the contents carted off to auction. The money could then be used to order a new china service that better suited the President and his family.

Even into the 20th century, White House china was often given away if it was chipped or broken. Later, Congress passed a law that required that all U.S. Presidential china be kept or destroyed. When new dessert plates for the Johnson administration turned out badly, the White House staff smashed it against a basement wall painted with caricatures of the President's assistants.

Today, nearly all Presidents are represented in the china collection one way or another. And full services suitable for state dinners exist for the B. Harrison, Wilson, F.D. Roosevelt, Truman, L. Johnson, Reagan, and Clinton sets, although the older sets are much smaller than the newer ones and cannot be used for the largest events. Replacement pieces are occasionally ordered for these, as pieces become chipped or broken.

Wilson — 120 settings

F.D. Roosevelt — 120 settings

Truman — 120 settings

L Johnson — 216 settings

Reagan — 220 settings

Clinton — 300 settings

Bush — 320 setting formal set, 75 setting informal set

Above from the White House Museum.Org

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

19th C. French Baptismal Etiquette

Baptismal font in Toulouse, France ~ When one has consented to hold the infant at the baptismal font, he should perform this duty in a becoming manner, and according to his own condition and that of the parents of the child.

Etiquette Of Baptism


We must invite several months beforehand the godfather and godmother of the child that is to be baptized. If the ties of blood have given you a right to this onerous duty, you cannot dispense with it. If not, you can seek a specious excuse.


When one has consented to hold the infant at the baptismal font, he should perform this duty in a becoming manner, and according to his own condition and that of the parents of the child.


A present should be given to the mother, and this present usually consists of confectionary. We must also give one to the godmother, a pair of white gloves and comfits; if she is a young person, she commonly receives a bouquet of white flowers in addition. If the godfather wishes to show her any attention, he can add to the presents an elegant and valuable object, such as a fan; but in that case it is good ton for the godmother to send in return some rich and tasteful present. She also has the honor of giving to the child a cap, and often a baptismal robe. To her also belongs the duty of putting the first dress on the child.
Persons of a very high class in order to free their friends from these expenses, send their domestics to present their children at the baptismal font. This is a most unbecoming custom!
The attendant and the nurse have also a present.


The officers of the church, and the poor, should each receive a gratuity proportionate to their condition. We simply put a piece of money into the hands of the humbler persons; but we present the clergyman with a box of presents in which is enclosed a piece of gold or silver.


Persons of a very high class in order to free their friends from these expenses, send their domestics to present their children at the baptismal font. This is a most unbecoming custom; it seems to consider this holy consecration as a slavish ceremony, and destroys at its source the sentiment of respect and affection, that a godson or daughter should inspire in those who have adopted them before God.


At whatever hour the ceremony is appointed, we go to the church in a carriage at the expense of the godfather. He and the godmother pass in first; then comes the infant borne by its nurse or a matron; then the father, who accompanies the other invited persons.


It is the custom in many houses to give, after returning from the baptism, an elegant entertainment, of which the godfather and godmother receive all the honor. Above all, they should give their godchild new year’s gifts while it is a child, and manifest their affection during the whole of its life.


From the 6th Paris Edition of  “The Gentleman and Lady's Book of Politeness and Propriety of Deportment, Dedicated to the Youth of Both Sexes.” by Mme. Elisabeth Celnart, 1833 



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

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Table Seating Etiquette

The reason seating arrangements is worth thinking about in advance, is that you'll be asked the question, "Is there any place in particular you'd like us to sit?" and your mind will have a hard time switching gears. 


Diplomatic careers have foundered on bad decisions about who should sit where, but with six people you've got nothing to worry about. Because couples often go through life welded together at the hip, it might make for a more interesting dynamic not to have the same two people who breakfast together every morning of their mortal lives seated together at a dinner, as well. 


Convention likes to have a man seated next to a woman seated next to a man seated next to a woman. But since couples no longer come exclusively in those pairings and since your table might not conform to three of one, three of the other, best to seat people for conversational possibility rather than atavistic allegiance.

The reason it's worth thinking about in advance, is that you'll be asked the question, "Is there any place in particular you'd like us to sit?" just as you're draining the pasta or taking the muffins out of there tin, and your mind will have a hard time switching gears.

You want the talkers and the listeners fairly evenly distributed around the table. You probably don't want the three men who were college roommates absorbed in a tête to tête to tête, at one end of the table. Nor do you want the shy cousin who invited you to dinner when you first moved to town, to have only you to talk to throughout the meal, the cocktail hour having pretty much exhausted your news of the family. So say firmly, "Yes, I'd like Marjorie on my right, Fritz on my left, and if Betty would go to the other end of the table, the rest of you can sit where you like." — From 1993's "Rising to the Occasion"

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

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Washington Centenary Etiquette

William Henry Harrison was the 9th President of the United States. The last president born as a British subject, Harrison died of pneumonia merely 31 days into his term, thereby serving the shortest tenure in United States presidential history. He was the first president to die in office. Harrison's death briefly sparked a constitutional crisis, leaving unsettled Constitutional questions as to the presidential line of succession. 

If we could be carried back into the 18th century we should behold a country totally unfamiliar to us, and the material transformation which the progress of a hundred years has wrought, but measures a corresponding change in the national attitude. Though only the Chief Magistrate of a Government which was viewed with scant respect abroad, and composed of a few factious states that offered many intricate puzzles in statecraft, and sharply checked any extension of the executives power, nevertheless the Republican Court was hedged in by much more formality than is now permitted, to rule the White House.


Were we to apply the principle of evolution to social forms, we could see how well they have been demonstrated in the changes wrought in the etiquette of the Federal Capital. Washington's attendance, upon Congress in a cream-colored coach, drawn by six white horses, with outriders and postilions, escorted by the Secretary of State and the Secretary of the Treasury, savored of Kingly state. His receptions were chillingly formal, but in strict accordance with his sense of Presidential propriety, which forbade the ceremonial of hand-shaking as too familiar. England's yoke had been thrown off, but her influence was still apparent in the aristocratic tinge of society and the imitation of her form.


As the notion of the Republic has been developed, these remaining traces of Royal ceremonies have disappeared, until now. President Harrison steps from the ranks of private citizenship into the executive chair of a nation great in extent and influence without any essential change in the etiquette of his intercourse with his fellow-citizens, and now Americans see nothing derogatory to the indignity of the high position when our President serves his guests to refreshments or assists them in the cloakroom. 

These changes have deep seated causes. The cheers which will re-echo for President Harrison on his progress to New York will have a widely different keynote from those that greeted Washington. The pulse of the nation, then struggling to its feet, beat high with hope and with fear for their new Government. Under the Confederation, the United States were hopelessly drifting toward anarchy, and the terrors of the French revolution filled American elites with forebodings for their own future. 

The Federal Government seemed to offer a remedy, but might not the President become an absolute Monarch, and the Senate arrogate to itself aristocratic privileges and relentlessly crush the liberty of the States. Thus it was that a deep undercurrent of anxious emotion surged through the hearts of the citizens who greeted Washington, while the cheers which will resound for Harrison as he follows in his predecessor's footsteps will arise from hearts full of proud satisfaction in their President, and trusting with perfect confidence in the form of Government that has so well stood the test of the century, and under which the country has achieved such unparalleled progress. — Pacific Rural Press, 1889

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

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Etiquette and Travel

Learn the culture, what's acceptable and unacceptable. For example, "almost half of all Japanese hotels ban tourists with tattoos from public bathing areas due to tattoos being common among yakuza crime organizations, although these bans are being reconsidered by Japan’s tourism agencies in an effort to boost tourism. However, they’re not the only country with tattoo bans. Thailand and Sri Lanka are cracking down on tourists getting Buddha tattoos while visiting due to cultural insensitivity." — From TravelAgeWest.com 

Choose the Right Destination 

Make informed choices when picking destinations. Learning about a country or area before you go, will help you decide whether it's the right destination for you. It will hopefully prevent unpleasant surprises, too. What will the weather be like? What foods are commonly available? Unexpected extreme poverty, political policies, and even hygiene practices of the locals, can leave some travelers shocked, baffled or stunned. 

Do Some Homework

Travel isn't just about the sites, but the people, too. Aside from the usual guidebooks, government websites are good places to start researching a country's people or destination, and h
undreds of foreign news sites can be found at online. Not surprisingly, personal blogs and vlogs from expats, can give you a really unique window into your chosen destination.

Respect Local Customs 

Study up on what's appropriate in terms of behavior and clothing. Visiting holy sites without wearing the proper attire and exhibiting appropriate behavior, can be extremely difficult. Knowledge of local customs will make you more at ease. It's also much less disruptive to the locals. 

Queue jumping is acceptable in some countries and unacceptable in others. A little research on your part, can go a long way in easing the frustrations of waiting in line.

Respect the environment around you, as more often than not, resources are scarce in developing countries, and may not be what you are expecting. Don't exhaust local supplies by overusing water or leaving excessive amounts of garbage in your wake. Locals will only be annoyed by what will be perceived as selfish behavior on your part.

Always bargain politely. Haggling over prices is seen as a fun type of "sport" in many foreign marketplaces and shops. It is even expected in others. Don't take your dickering too far though. In developing nations, a dollar or two will usually mean far more to the seller, than it ever will to you. 

Tipping can be expected in some places, while seen as an insult in other locales. Check beforehand to find out whether tipping is desired or expected. If tipping is required or encouraged, ask a guide for the typical amounts to give.

Watch Your Hand Gestures 

As insignificant as they may seem, one needs to use caution when gesturing with hands. When it comes to body language, err on the side of caution. Avoid gesturing with your hands and even pointing, if you're not sure what you are silently conveying. 

Represent 

Remember, you are representing the country that you are from. Don't spoil a place for other visitors and tourists from your home country, by exhibiting any ignorance of acceptable behavior when abroad.



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

Diplomatic Etiquette Faux Pas

Diplomacy is the art and practice of conducting negotiations between the differing representatives of international states. It is the conducting of international relations through the intercession of professional diplomats with regard to a full range of topical issues. Reflections upon the personal character of another country's President, Prime Minister or Royals, are not regarded as proper, according to official etiquette.


He Talked Too Much — Broke Diplomatic Etiquette

Washington, April 12.—The various interviews ascribed to Minister Loomis at San Juan have attracted much attention here and the minister probably will be invited to explain some of his utterances if he is not able to enter a broad denial of the accuracy of the interviews. Reflections upon the personal character of the president of Venezuela are not regarded as proper, according to official etiquette, and it is confidently hoped that the minister will be able to repudiate these. Otherwise it will be manifestly impossible for him to return to Venezuela, even in the event that the issues which led to his departure were satisfactorily composed. The prevalent idea is that no matter how these personal questions are settled, it will be a long time before a United States Minister resumes the post at Caracas. — Press Democrat, 1901



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

Etiquette and Employee Reprimands

Point out the error or incorrect behavior. Then reaffirm them, by telling them they're okay in your book. It's just their actions that need to be modified.

When reprimanding, what you "do" is often not as important as what you "don't do." Since no one really enjoys a reprimand, it's easy for people to be put on the defensive when receiving criticism. I suggest remembering these "don'ts" when you must reprimand an individual. By not observing these points, you'll find that people become less concerned with listening to you and more concerned with fighting you off.

1. Don't attack someone personally. Never begin a reprimand with a statement such as, "Listen Fred, you idiot, ... " Address the problem at hand. Be specific about what it was that was incorrect. However, there is no need to insult a person just because you're upset.

2. Don't store up reprimands. By this I mean don't wait "for good time," to deliver one or more reprimands. The best time to give a reprimand is immediately after the incorrect behavior or action has occurred. If you wait a week or so to discuss the problem with the individual, and throw in some other problems you've observed over the past months, your impact on a person's behavior will not be very effective.

Accumulated griefs and problems will only make you feel bad. When you do finally "dump" on the person, there will be so much to digest, and the error so far removed from the actual event, you'll just end up blowing off a lot of steam which will have little or no impact on behavior.

3. Don't threaten people. Such threats will either immobilize them with fear or cause considerable resentment. Stick to the point. Point out the error or incorrect behavior. Then reaffirm them, by telling them they're okay in your book. It's just their actions that need to be modified.

4. Don't reprimand people in public. Public fireworks, such as chewing out an employee in front of a customer, is a technique only used by bullies. It's thoughtless, damaging and embarrassing for everyone around. Before you give a reprimand, think! If someone has done something wrong you must ask yourself, "Should he or she have known better?"

If the answer is "No," then the person is obviously still unfamiliar with his or her assigned responsibilities or tasks. In this case, do not reprimand. Never reprimand a beginner — be it an experienced hand, working in a new position, or your own child learning to tie shoelaces. It will only cause confusion and outright discouragement.

In this instance, your role is a manager is to help or redirect the person who is having a problem. However, if a person should have known better, then you must ask yourself, "Did they make the mistake deliberately? Or because they lacked confidence?" If the problem revolves around confidence, do not reprimand.

You need to determine the reason for the problem causing this lack of confidence. It could be that there is a new situation which is unsettling to an experienced worker. For example, perhaps a long-time sales clerk makes many errors on the new cash register. If so, the reason is probably a lack of confidence with the new buttons and new routine required when ringing up sales.

In such a situation, the managerial style required is "supportive." No one needs to reprimand this clerk. Rather, the clerk needs some training and some practice on the new register coupled with support from an understanding boss. Remember that you reprimand only deliberate, regressive performance or behavior. — Dr. Ken Blanchard in Inland Empire Magazine, 1989



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

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Tudor Etiquette and Henry VII

Dining with Henry VIII ~ If you were wealthy, your cakes would be decorated with marzipan, and after dinner there would be nuts, thin and delicate wafers, and sweets made with aniseed and ginger to help digestion.

In the days of Henry VIII., the ways of society differed from our own more in observance than in spirit. Though the gay world danced and gambled very late, they rose very early. Their conversation was coarse and lacked reserve. The ladies cursed freely. Outward show and ceremony were considered of the utmost importance. Hats were worn by the men in church and at meals, and only removed in the presence of the King and Cardinal.

Kissing was far more prevalent as a mode of salutation. The Court society spent the greater part of their income on clothes. To those in the King's set, a thousand pounds was nothing out of the way to spend on a suit of clothes.

The predominant colours at Court were crimson and green; the Tudor colours were green and white. It was an age of magnificent plate, and the possession and display of masses of gold and silver plate was considered as a sign of power. Later on in Shakespeare's time, not only the Nobles, but also the better class citizens boasted collections of plate.

A quaint instance of the recognition of distinctions of rank is afforded by certain “Ordinances” that went forth as the “Bouche of Court.” Thus a Duke or Duchess was allowed in the morning one chet loaf, one manchet and a gallon of ale; in the afternoon one manchet and one gallon of ale; and for after supper one chet loaf, one manchet, one gallon of ale and a pitcher of wine, besides torches, etc.

A Countess, however, was allowed nothing at all after supper, and a gentleman usher had no allowance for morning or afternoon. These class distinctions must have weighed heavily upon humbler beings, such as Countesses; but perhaps they consumed more at table to make up for these after−meal deficiencies.

Table manners were a luxury as yet undreamed of. The use of the fork was a new fashion just being introduced from France and Spain. — Herbert Beerbohm Tree , 1911



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

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Etiquette for Caviar

Antique flatware for caviar: a rare, individual, sterling caviar spade in the Versailles flatware pattern, a bone caviar spoon, and a sterling handled, horn bowled, caviar server 
~ The flavor of caviar is often referred to as an acquired taste, but those who enjoy it say it is "an intense explosion of complex flavors." Caviar is a delicacy. It is the unfertilized eggs (roe) of sturgeon brined with a salt solution. The brining solution contributes a little to the overall palate, but caviar enthusiasts often savor the luxurious texture and indescribably rich taste of the caviar berries themselves.



The eating of caviar has its own set of rituals. Caviar is a "finger food" when eaten as an hors d'oeuvre, and
 served on toast points, or thin, round slices of bread- usually dry, since good in quality caviar, there should be enough fat in the eggs to moisten the bread.  Purists do not alter the flavor of the caviar with such garnishes as sour cream, chopped egg or onion. As with most finger foods, caviar on toast points, crackers or other small sliced breads, should be eaten in one or two bites.

The following are some considerations:
Caviar should be served from a non-metal spoon. Caviar spoons are widely available in bone, horn, tortoiseshell and mother-of-pearl. Any metals, including silver, will impart a metallic flavor to the granules. 

Depending on the grade of caviar, the flavor of lesser grades can be enhanced with a dab of fresh lemon juice. 

If you don't have a caviar server, place the caviar in a small glass or porcelain bowl, inside of a larger bowl filled with crushed ice. Make sure that the water does not enter the caviar bowl as the ice melts. 

If serving caviar on crackers, use bland, unsalted crackers.




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

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Etiquette and Society

Samuel Littleton, a famous Queen’s Counsel in his day. had a family whose manners might cause many a house of noble rank to blush —A Queen's Counsel (postnominal QC), or King's Counsel (postnominal KC) during the reign of a King, is an eminent lawyer (usually a barrister) who's appointed by the Queen to be one of "Her Majesty's Counsel learned in the law." The term is also recognised as an honorific.

What Constitutes Society?

A famous essayist once wrote: "l have but seldom sat at the tables of the great. but on such occasions I did not fail to notice that exalted rank does not always confer a superiority of manners; however, I must confess that while respect must always be paid to nobility, the arts of polite conversation, gentle manners, discretion of speech, kindness, sobriety, wit and learning seem to me most successfully cultivated by those who possess no title to respect other than may be conceded to integrity, Industry and success in life.

“Samuel Littleton, a famous Queen’s Counsel in his day. had a family whose manners might cause many a house of noble rank to blush. He himself was a scholar and a wit, yet a wit who sought not to wound. His son, though apt to blush in conversation, had in him the making of a very pretty wit. His daughter, lovely in person, could also display the graces of the mind. They understood music enough to play movingly upon the spinuet. They were also well read and could aptly quote from Shakespeare. Milton and Dryden. They conversed intelligently on all subjects generally allowed to be Introduced before ladies, without boldness, but with a modesty which always best becomes a young geutiewoman. Of the wife and mother no praise would be too extravagant, but it will be sufficient to say that her daughter*, in attempting the task, despaired of emulating her. 


When contrasting a dinner given by my Lord Fullacre, the noisy talk that prevailed, the low topics introduced, the profusion of wine and other evils and extravagances, with a dinner at the house of Sam Littleton, the sobriety of his table, yet the plenty, the moderation of the drinking, the pretty conversation and lively sallies of the girls, the graciousness of the matron, the innocent mirth and laughter of the company, then you find what is true society—that is, society ordered according to the politeness of the age—must be sought for where the men are scholars of delicacy and breeding, and where the women have been educated to make them fit mates for the men." — San Francisco Call, 1892

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

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Precedent and Etiquette

The case is unprecedented of ladies of official rank visiting the Old World alone," but in lands where precedent and official etiquette are so important it is no laughing matter!
A Matter of Precedent 


Mrs. J. R. McKee and Mrs. Russell Harrison, daughter and daughter-in-law of the president, are now in England and enjoying themselves hugely by ail accounts. The American reader is inclined to smile at the cablegram to the effect that our diplomats abroad are greatly embarrassed, as "the case is unprecedented of ladies of official rank visiting the Old World alone," but in lands where precedent and official etiquette are so important it is no laughing matter. The ladies will visit Paris and Berlin also, and no matter what ceremony is observed there is, as Abraham Lincoln used to say, "No doubt but we shall be able to keep house." — Los Angeles Herald, 1891

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

Etiquette and 19th C. Politeness

"Acquaintances made in travelling, or accidentally in public places, have no claim to more than a passing bow if you afterwards find that the acquaintanceship is not particularly desirable?"

Rules of Politeness and Introductions

As a general role, do not introduce a gentleman to a lady without first privately asking her permission. In going through the ceremony of introducing, pronounce the name of the lady first, adding; "Permit me to present to you Mr. —. " In introducing two gentlemen, present the younger one to the elder, or the one of lower rank to the one of the higher. If the gentlemen are about the same age, and equal in society, present the stranger to the one with whom you are the most intimate. The best form of expression that can be used in introducing two gentlemen, who are in the same circle, is to say; " Mr.— let me make you acquainted wilh Mr. —." But if you are addressing an elderly gentleman, always say, "Mr. — , permit me to present to you Mr. — ." 

A lady should always be perfectly at her ease while introducing her friends to one another, as she has, while performing this necessary little ceremony, great opportunity of proving whether or not her manners are truly graceful. It is not considered fashionable to introduce two persons who accidentally meet in your parlor, and who are paying you a morning visit. The object of this custom in France, (where it first arose) was to prevent formality, as visitors were expected to converse together without an introduction, and were afterwards at liberty to recognize each other or not just as they pleased. It is, therefore, in good taste if you find your guests do not converse together without an introduction to present them to one another. Never introduce in the street, unless the third person joins and walks with you. You may make an exception to this rule when the parties are mutually desirious of knowing one another. 

If you are walking with one lady, do not stop to converse with others who are unknown to her, as she must necessarily feel unpleasant. If you are walking with a gentleman you may follow the bent of your inclination, for if he is well bred he will attend your pleasure without evincing either impatience or awkwardness. A lady is at liberty to take either another lady or a gentleman to pay a morning visit to a friend, without asking permission: but she should never allow a gentleman the same liberty, if he desires to make any of his friends known to her, he must first ask if the acquaintance would be agreeable. 

A lady who is invited to an evening assembly may always request a gentleman who has not been invited by the lady of the house, to accompany her. Acquaintances made in travelling, or accidentally in public places, have no claim to more than a passing bow if you afterwards finds that the 
acquaintanceship is not particularly desirable. When a gentleman is presented to a lady, if she is in her own house, and desires to welcome him, she may shake hands with him, but on any other occasion, unless the gentleman is venerable, or the bosom frfend of the husband or father, this practice is reprehensible. The same rule should be observed when a lady is introduced to a lady: although in this country the habit of shaking hands is very general. 

In introducing a friend, be as cautious of saying too much in his favor, as too little, for if the introduced be really the possessor of very good qualities, they will soon be lound out, and more appreciated than if they had in the first instance been all told. At a large dinner or evening party, although some persons strictly adhere to the French custom of not introducing, the mistress of the house shows real politeness by presenting to one another those persons who she thinks will assimilate in their dispositions. If there are strangers present, a party in America is apt to become formal through the omission of introductions; not so in Paris, where everybody converses with his neighbor without going through the unnecessary ceremony of a presentation. — Scientific American Magazine, 1846


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

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Etiquette and a Willful Child

 A person of tact can always distract the child's attention from its own obstinacy, and in a few moments lead it gently 'round to submission. 

Breaking the Child’s Will

No art is so useful in the management of young children (nor is any art so neglected) as that of avoiding direct collision. The grand blunder which almost all parents and nursemaids commit is, that when the child takes up a whim against doing what he is wanted to do—will not eat his bread and butter, will not go out, will not come to lessons, etc.,— they, so to speak, lay hold of his hind leg, and drag him to his duties; whereas a person of tact can always distract the child's attention from its own obstinacy, and in a few moments lead it gently 'round to submission. 


We know that many persons would think it wrong not to break down the child’s self-will by main force, to come to battle with it, and show him that he is the weaker vessel; but our conviction is that such struggles only tend to make his self-will more robust. If you can skillfully contrive to lay the dispute aside for a few minutes, and hitch his thoughts off the excitement of the contest, ten to one, he will give in quite cheerfully; and this is far better for him than tears and punishment. — Red Bluff Independent, 1874


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