The sloppy woman, hunched over with her elbows on the table is obviously unaware how bad she looks. The woman on the right will need tact to break herself from the acquaintance. – “It has sometimes happened that undesirable residents have invaded good neighborhoods—it requires time to make discoveries of that nature —and kind-hearted women are frequently led into an embarrassing intimacy. It must be broken, of course, but the woman passes through the experience successfully must be a woman of tact.”
Etiquette is largely a matter of locality—politeness is an important department of everyday life. Among “fashionables” etiquette is a finicky list ot details for which girls are trained, and to which new members of the fashionable set come straight from the polishing hands of persons who are versed in the ways of that particular set. In middle-class localities there is a varying degree of etiquette, and in lower circles formality is entirely dispensed with.
Kindness prompts one to call upon new arrivals in a neighborhood and if the call is not returned, or objections are found to prolonging the acquaintance, the matter may be allowed to settle down to a pleasant exchange of greetings at accidental meetings. The cut direct is a form of rudeness that is never excused, save on the ground of personal grievance. It costs nothing to be agreeable, and saves much in the way of unpleasant, feeling.
It has sometimes happened that undesirable residents have invaded good neighborhoods—it requires time to make discoveries of that nature —and kind-hearted women are frequently led into an embarrassing intimacy. It must be broken, of course, but the woman passes through the experience successfully must be a woman of tact. I have seen it done by absence from home or a period of exaggerated invalidism—I have also seen it done without a thought of injured feelings and the hatred they are capable of engendering. Kindness prompts assistance to neighbors and friends in time of trouble. A timely answer to letters, prompt acceptance of invitations and immediate notification of inability to accent or keep an engagement. The hostess who is kept on the anxious seat without good reason is badly treated, and would be justified in meting out proper punishment.
There is one point where general carelessness is shown – few of us even try to be prompt in meeting appointments. In the lobby of any playhouse, one may always find men and women anxiously awaiting the arrival of tardy companions, and my own experience holds numerous occasions where the opening number of concerts was entirely lost and the first act of plays so nearly, so that the thread of the plot was hard to pick up. There may be an occasional good reason for tardiness, but the bulk of it is caused by sheer carelessness or indifference. Men are the real victims, because women who are lax expect to find the same fault in members of their own sex – but men are martyrs from choice, as a systematic course of neglect would reform the whole world of women. – Sacramento Union, 1912
Etiquette Enthusiast, Maura J Graber, is the Site Editor for the Etiquipedia© Etiquette Encyclopedia