Monday, October 25, 2021

Etiquette and Entertaining Royalty

A visit from the King and Queen was fraught with expenses, and one could not turn down the request for a visit. The cost of entertaining during a royal visit in the Edwardian era could run up thousands in extra expenses, like the extra food and drink. When the Duke and Duchess of Manchester were honored by Edward's presence in 1904, newspapers estimated that the cost of the visit was $150,000.00 American dollars. That is nearly $5,000,000. In today’s dollars. And 16 new frocks would be needed as, “One could not wear the same ensemble twice, and what reasonable woman would not want completely new outfits for such a momentous occasion? Sixteen new ensembles (four dresses for each of four days) from, say, Worth would substantially increase the cost of a royal visit.”

When the Manchesters were honored by Edward's presence in 1904, newspapers estimated that the cost of the visit was $150,000, paid of course by the Duchess's papa, Mr. Zimmerman, who had bought Kylemore for Duchess Helena.

Part of the cost was dressing the part. The King, for a week's stay, would be bringing forty suits or uniforms and at least twenty pairs of shoes and boots, and costumes were expected to be splendid in his presence. Consuelo Marlborough remembers at least four changes of clothes: an elegant silk costume for breakfast in the dining room, a tweed suit for lunch with the “guns” (the men who were shooting), a tea gown, and the most formal brocade or velvet evening dress with the grandest jewels possible (always includ ing a tiara) for dinner.

One could not wear the same ensemble twice, and what reasonable woman would not want completely new outfits for such a momentous occasion? Sixteen new ensembles (four dresses for each of four days) from, say, Worth 
would substantially increase the cost of a royal visit. — From “To Marry an English Lord,” Gail MacColl and McD. Wallace, 2012

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

Sunday, October 24, 2021

China's 1st Finishing School

‘You have to learn how to behave properly,’ says Rebecca Li, the president of Institute Sarita

Students learn deportment and the polite way to eat an orange, among other things.

In a secluded courtyard, a lesson in deportment is under way. Some female students, each one with a book balanced on her head, are attempting to walk a few steps without the book falling off.

One volume crashes to the ground, but most of the students make it to the other side of the space without mishap, to the approval of the smiling instructor.

But there's an unusual aspect to this class. It is not happening in Europe, home to many of the world's best-known finishing schools. Instead, it is taking place in Beijing. Welcome to Institute Sarita, which it claims is China's first finishing school.

It is the brainchild of Sara Jane Ho. A native of Hong Kong, she went to boarding school and university in the USA. After working in investment banking, and for a non-governmental organisation (NGO) in China, she spent some time studying at a Swiss finishing school.

Inspired by what she had learnt, on her return to China she decided to set up a school of her own.

‘Etiquette shouldn't be Chinese or French, it shouldn't be for the rich or for the poor, it should be for everybody,” she says.

‘The spirit of etiquette, no matter where in the world, is the same – it's about respect and consideration for other people, and how to put other people at ease around you.’

‘Behave properly’

The school targets an older age group than its European counterparts. It offers two main courses - one for debutantes, and another, offering instruction in how to be a hostess, for married women.

One of the most important subjects it teaches is deportment.

“It's about your character, and the feeling you give to others,” explains the institute's president, Rebecca Li, who has also attended a Swiss finishing school.

“You should make people feel you are confident – a person you can trust.”

How you stand, how you sit, how you walk, how you enter a room, how you shake hands - all these things can have an impact on how you are perceived and how others around you feel, according to Ms. Li, “so you have to learn how to behave properly.”

The ‘polite’ way to eat an orange is with a knife and fork, according to Institute Sarita

Other lessons include the polite way to eat an orange (which involves using a knife and fork), table setting, and dinner party seating arrangements.

The vast majority of those who attend the school are women. Men occasionally take part in classes aimed at more mature students, such as lessons in dating etiquette, and managing personal relationships.

Ms. Ho believes the fact that there is demand for courses offered by schools like hers is partly a result of the rapid changes happening in Chinese society.

She says that women in particular can find it hard to adjust.

“In the last century Mao said, ‘women hold up half the sky’; he liberated women by letting them enter the workforce, and now in the career world, you do see women advancing,” she explains.

“But there's [also] 2,000 years of Confucian values which say ‘the woman should be the noble protector of the home, and her place is the home, and to bear children.’”

The majority of the school's attendees are women

She also believes that globalisation is having a big impact, particularly on the wealthy.

“Elite Chinese are starting to send their children to boarding school, they're buying property abroad, they're emigrating abroad,” she says.

“They are learning very quickly, and they're becoming a lot more cosmopolitan, which is why etiquette, now more than ever, is very relevant.”

‘An investment’

Her students agree. Candice Li runs her own business, which conducts research into the luxury market. She often travels internationally, and says that she has become more confident in dealing with foreigners after attending the Institute's classes.

Studying at the school is far from cheap, with a 10-day debutante course costing around £8,500 (€11,000; $12,200).

But for another student, Chelsea Chen, “how much you pay is not important, it's how much you can get from the course.” 

Ms Chen says she regards her attendance as an “investment… for my family… and for everyone surrounding me”. She also hopes that, if in the future, she has children, she will be able to pass on what she has learnt to them.

‘I always think about how can I make this into something bigger?’ says Sara Jane Ho

Institute Sarita is no longer the only player in the market for etiquette training in China, and it is facing increasing competition. How does Ms. Ho see the future of her enterprise?

“In some ways it's kind of a silly little business,” she says. “We charge high prices, but the volume is very low… our classes are very small… and our costs are high… but I went to Harvard Business School, and I always think about how can I make this into something bigger?”

Ms Ho says her role model is Martha Stewart, the American author, TV host and entrepreneur, who “provided a guide for the suburban housewife” on how to cook, decorate, and entertain.

“I want to provide the same to the modern day Chinese woman,” she says. “I want to help her be the best mother that she can be, be the best wife that she can be, …make the home a place where she can invite loved ones and friends; and also [to learn] how to live, in this modern day world.” — By Neil Koenig, Producer, Life of Luxury, BBC News Business, 2016

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

Saturday, October 23, 2021

More Introduction Etiquette

Make all your introductions simple. Say as few words as possible! Speak distinctly! 


Make all your introductions simple. Say as few words as possible! Speak distinctly! 

As illustrations:
“Miss Brown, MAY I PRESENT Mr. Green?”
“Miss Brown, DO YOU KNOW Mr. Green?”

Or perhaps BEST OF ALL, simply their names:
“Miss Brown, Mr. Green.”



“Mr. Jones, MEET Mr. Black.”

“Mr. Jones, SHAKE HANDS WITH Mr. Black.”

WHEN INTRODUCING A MAN TO A WOMAN always speak the woman's name FIRST!
You may say: “Mr. Green, HAVE YOU MET Miss Brown” – indicating that the introduction bestows a favor on the gentleman and on the woman the respect that all women receive from well-bred men.

“Miss Brown, HAVE YOU MET Mr. Green?”
This conveys the impression that Mr. Green is more important than Miss Brown.

Special distinction of office or advanced years may justify introducing a debutante to a famous author or scientist, a general or an admiral.

“Mr. Smith, Mr. Brown.” 

From “Good Manners: 
Reliable Advice on Etiquette – Clearly Told,” 1930

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

Friday, October 22, 2021

Brazilian Beach Etiquette

Acting with civility, that is, with consideration for others, is beyond a choice, a habit. So the sooner you start practicing, the faster you'll be used to acting with civility and etiquette on the beach – and off the beach too. 

Summer Manners Guide

A beach is synonymous with leisure, rest and fun, right? Okay, but to make sure we all have a good time, it's always good to remember some recommendations about beach etiquette. After all, it's no use for someone to have fun if it brings discomfort, annoyance or harm to the other. As the phrase goes: “Your right ends where the other's begins”.

I know, we often do something not so nice out of distraction or haste. For example: Your son is coming back from the seashore and you, who stayed at the parasol, want to tell him not to run near people, because he is almost throwing sand at someone. So you yell, “Muriloooo, don't run close to the others!” and with that, your scream ends up waking the girl who is napping in the parasol beside you, or resulting in a reprimanding look from a man who is reading nearby.

True, even the most careful of people get distracted at times. It is not possible to be considerate of all others one hundred percent of the time. However, it is possible, and very desirable, that we try. And that we try to remember as much as possible that we are sharing the same space with other people.

Acting with civility, that is, with consideration for others, is beyond a choice. It should be a habit. So the sooner you start practicing, the faster you'll be used to acting with civility and etiquette on the beach – and off the beach too. 

You may be asking yourself: “And what do I get out of it?” You are gaining peace by not causing or getting involved in conflicts, you are setting a good example for your children and anyone who sees you, you are sowing warmth and kindness, and as you have heard, “kindness breeds kindness,” therefore, the more you are kind, the more others will be, and the more kindness you will receive.

Often the kindness you will receive will not be from the same person you helped. But even if it comes from someone else, it comes. You also gain peace of mind, a clear conscience, a feeling of well-being. It is scientifically proven that doing, receiving and even witnessing an act of kindness is good, with a discharge of oxytocin, also known as the “love hormone” in everyone involved.

That is, when we are kind, civilized, and use self-control and etiquette on the beach, it becomes a place of tranquility and harmony, fulfilling its role of providing leisure for everyone.

The beach is a place of more informality, both in costume and communication (gestures, verbal and non-verbal expressions). Therefore, some rules can be more flexible, such as how to eat, for example. However, we must not confuse flexibility and informality with mess and lack of manners.

Even though it is an open place, where we have a tendency and even greater permission to act more freely, common sense and consideration must prevail. It also happens sometimes that the beach is full and people have to stay closer to each other. In these cases, our care must be redoubled.

Now that we understand the importance of beach etiquette and how each of our attitudes impact the well-being of others, let's look at some practical tips on how to act with good beach manners.

Beach Etiquette Tips:

Occupation of Available Space

If the beach is emptier and has more space for you to occupy, use it freely. However, when space is more restricted, avoid placing your things on a pile of chairs, and scattering towels and sarongs over a large stretch of sand. If you're late and the beach is already full, you'll have to settle for not taking the best spot. It's not nice to settle down practically glued to someone's chair or umbrella. Even if you are on a crowded beach, try to distance yourself from others as much as possible.

If you've got a chair from a good spot on the beach and don't plan on using it now, but only a few hours from now, avoid leaving your towel by reserving the chair for when you get back.

Children on the Beach

It is important to ensure that your children do not disturb others. Children are not born knowing how to behave in each place. They need someone to teach what is polite and proper and what is not. And that someone is you; father, mother or guardian. Observe children closely, guiding their behavior when necessary. Children tend to run and play without worrying so much if they are spilling sand or water on someone. They can step on other people's towels, yell around other people, etc. Also take care so that they are always safe, avoid letting them to go too far, to enter the sea unaccompanied, or to play games that represent danger to them or to others.

I suggest that you only go to another child's parents if you notice that their actions are posing a risk to the child's or other people's safety. In the case of minor annoyances, it is sometimes preferable to let it go and say nothing, to avoid further annoyance or conflict.

If an accident happens between you (or your child) and someone else, offer to help resolve or work around the problem. Try to replace the damaged object or food yourself, or offer money for the person to replace whatever is damaged with another. Don't forget to apologize. If it's something your child caused, ask him to apologize too. That way you will be teaching him to take responsibility for his actions.

Games on the Beach

There are typical games and sports when we go to the beach, for example:
  • Playing games like soccer or volleyball, try to play on a more spacious part of the beach, away from other people. 
  • Be careful not to hit the ball or bump into anyone nearby. Preferably stop the game to wait for someone to pass safely.
  • When playing in the sand (building castles, bucket of water, shovels), be careful not to spill sand or water on people nearby.

Dogs and Pets on the Beach

The same precautions that we advise to have with children, apply to pets. Be aware of your pet so that it doesn't bother other people. Before taking him, check if that beach accepts animals, how he usually behaves in the presence of strangers, if he has up-to-date vaccinations, if you are confident in leaving him off a leash. Don't forget to clean up any dirt or poop it makes. Remember to bring toys, snacks and water so that he can also enjoy the tour. Furthermore, any hungry and bored person or animal is more likely to start bothering others.

Music on the Beach

There are those who go to the beach to have fun and enjoy listening to music. Perhaps they are at the beach for travel, in the company of a group of friends or family. There are also people who enjoy silence, who seek the beach to relax, read, or just think about nothing. When these two people or groups meet, the chance for one to leave unhappy is big. But it's possible to avoid annoyances using these beach etiquette guidelines.

As much as people who decide to go to beaches can already imagine that they will be full, especially on summer days, this is no reason or excuse to leave education aside. Ideally, just listen to music in public places with the headset. If you are in a group and everyone wants to enjoy the sound together, try to keep the music at a low volume, ask beforehand or observe if those nearby are showing signs of discomfort. As much as you love your music, other people may have different preferences or simply not feel like listening to music at all. The same care applies to the volume of voice and conversations.

Clothes on the Beach

As we mentioned at the beginning, the beach is naturally a more informal place, where people tend to go mainly when it's hot, which means less clothes and shorter and smaller outfits. Valuing the well-being of everyone, try to be careful with what you are wearing.

There are beaches where nudism is allowed, but there are family beaches where people can feel invaded by your lack of clothing. If visiting a nude beach, check the guidelines first. It may be allowed, for example, not to wear clothes on the beach, but in other places such as bathrooms, it is mandatory to wear them. 

Also avoid facing people. Sometimes we automatically notice someone, but since it is a nude beach, this attitude should be avoided so as not to cause misinterpretations or embarrassment.

The way we dress conveys a message to others, so it's important to be careful about showing respect through our clothes as well.

Photos and Videos

When out in public, and especially at the beach, we should avoid taking videos or photos of other people and posting them to social media, without their knowledge. Think twice, three, or even four times before recording a scene, no matter how funny or different it seems to you. Let's use empathy more. Would you like to be photographed in that situation? 

Don't justify yourself thinking that you would never do something like that, or that that person will never see or know about the video or photo. Images spread quickly on social media. And you can go through a similar or embarrassing situation anywhere and be photographed. Let’s be more gentle and cautious.

The good old golden rule, which we learned in childhood, remains valuable: “Do unto others as you would have done to you.”

Dating on the Beach

We know that the beach combines with lightness, vacations, adventures and love. Loving is good, but it is important to avoid excessive displays of affection, especially when there are more people on the beach. The couple may be in love and not mind the prying eyes of those close to them. But those who are close are not obliged to see explicit demonstrations of other people's passion. Like loud music or no clothes, it's an invasive situation, an overexposure that can embarrass everyone.

Makeup, Beauty and Sunscreen

When it comes to makeup and the beach, less is more. Just as we need to adapt our clothes to each situation or event, makeup must also match the environment we are in. It's possible to look pretty on the beach, invest in some accessories and even light makeup. However, it is unnecessary to overdo the makeup. As for the sunscreen, you can overdo it at will.

Food and Drinks on the Beach

Regardless of whether you brought some food from home or bought it at the beach, try not to make too much of a mess. Clean or collect what you have used, and remember to collect the garbage.

In relation to alcoholic drinks, it is important to know yourself and control yourself, in order not to exceed the limits. In addition to running the risk of annoying others with unpleasant jokes or comments, you can also put yourself at risk if you combine drinks with swimming in the sea, for example. Alcohol also makes it easier to get involved in unnecessary conflicts. If you're taking care of children, there's one more reason not to go overboard, as the beach offers a lot of risks for the little ones.

Trash on the Beach

If each one takes care of the garbage they produced on the beach, it will always be kept clean. When leaving, don't leave trash behind. If there are dumpsters nearby, use them. Otherwise, take your trash with you until you find one, or even to your house or hotel. 

A simple and easy idea to put into practice is to get into the habit of always carrying an empty bag to the beach, which will serve as a trash bin. This makes it easier to put it in a real dumpster later, or take it away with you. I know, nobody likes to be carrying garbage. But neither the others – nor nature – is responsible for the garbage you produced and left on the beach.

I really like the phrase that says: civility is the end of the blame game. That is, it doesn't matter if other people are doing the right thing or not. We make a choice to opt for civility and do the right thing regardless of what others are doing. This is called self-responsibility.

When leaving, in addition to collecting your garbage and personal belongings, be careful when shaking the towels or removing the sand from other objects.

It may sound like a lot, but it's not. All it takes is a little empathy, consideration and goodwill. With children, the sooner you start teaching and practicing these beach etiquette guidelines, the sooner they will assimilate these behaviors and display them naturally. —
 By Gabriela Vassimon

Our newest contributor, Gabriela Vassimon has been working as an etiquette consultant for nearly a decade. As Civility Expert’s Brazilian exclusive affiliate, Gabriela majored in Psychology, and has over 10 years of experience working with children, teenagers and adults in different sectors (clinic, school, orphanage, companies). Gabriela wears several hats as a psychologist, etiquette consultant and entrepreneur. She is a certified Children’s Character, Confidence and Courtesy Coach as well as Master Civility Trainer, member of ICTC (International Civility Trainer’s Consortium) and World Citizen Alliance, holds an MBA in people management, Gabriela is a continuous learner and eternal observer of human behavior. Recognizing that her passion is helping others to find the best versions of themselves, and aiming to build a kinder and more considerate world, Gabriela has launched Escola de Gentileza – civilidade e etiqueta (School of Kindness – civility and etiquette). The school offers training and classes in grooming, decorum, social graces, etiquette, and civility for all ages.

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

Thursday, October 21, 2021

A Checklist of Introduction Etiquette

Always stand up to be introduced, or to make introductions.

Check-list on Introductions

1. Always introduce a man to a woman.

2. When introducing two men or two women, always introduce the younger to the older.

3. Say “May I present?” Or “I should like you to know.”

4. Always use proper titles such as Miss, Mr., Mrs., Captain, Doctor, Judge.

5. Shake hands like a man with a man. With a woman, only if she first offers her hand.

6. Always stand up to be introduced, or to make introductions.

7. Look squarely at the person you are meeting. Let your glance be firm but friendly.

8. Say “How do you do” after being introduced. Never say “Pleased to meetcha.”

9. Speak names clearly. Drop a hint if you want people to talk.

10. Catch the name if you can. Ask for it if you didn't. — From “Manners for Moderns”, 1938

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

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Trendy Tables Trashed in ‘29

Stick with what is “tried and true” instead of trying something new. The old rules are old, because the my have worked well for so long! … Above, suggested service plates, along with plates for fish, salad and dessert.— From the book, “Table Etiquette, Menus and Much Besides” by The Boston Cooking School

Table Etiquette— Within the last decade there has been a revolution in table (and other) etiquette. So many have been the changes and new departures, and often so unwarranted by good taste, that it became increasingly difficult to distinguish between the wheat of right usage and the tares of bad manners. In this book the changes are dealt with as follows:

1. The large number of new rules, which because of their reasonableness and good sense are here to stay, are set forth in contrast with those that are older and less excellent.

2. The old rules that have not been modified are presented as still obligatory, and likely, because of their propriety, to remain so.

3. New freedoms that are excessive and in bad taste, are named with the counsel to “play safe” by avoiding them.

4. Where a new custom is in flat contradiction to an old, good one, the new is often shown to be permissive, rather than prescribed. — By Mary D. Chambers, The Boston Cooking School, 1929

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

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Etiquette for Coats of Arms

In June of 2019, I was truly surprised and honored to learn that I had been elevated to the rank of Baroness in the Principality of Lorenzburg. This proclamation was sent to me by His Royal Highness, Prince Freï, along with a Coat of Arms and Heraldic Shield. It was all done to honor my commitment to the world of etiquette and my work in developing and maintaining the Etiquipedia Etiquette Encyclopedia.

The commonest use of the coat of arms is on an ex libris, or bookplate, as a marking for silver, or on fine china, on wedding invitations and announcements, on place cards and menu cards for formal entertaining, and, of course, the device may be painted and framed for wall decoration. 

My heraldic shield

The full coat of arms shield with crest and motto or what is known as a “gentleman's heraldic bearings” is never properly used on personal belongings by a woman. Women in medieval days did not normally go forth in battle and therefore did not carry shields.

It is proper form in England, to which we must look for precedent as we have nothing resembling heraldic authority in our own governmental setup, for a woman to use a crest on her stationery, on personal linens, etc., but never a coat of arms on a shield. The lozenge, however, is approved, and if a British woman is titled she uses the coronet of her rank above it.

But a woman of an armigerous family, especially is she is unmarried or a widow, may use just the crest or the coat of arms itself but only if blazoned on a lozenge.
My Coat of Arms
A woman whose father has a coat of arms, but whose husband has not, shows better taste, actually, in saying good-by to it and its feminine modifications once it has been used on her wedding invitations and announcements and, if she wishes, on silver her family has given her.

A painted coat may be displayed on bedroom or library walls, not too conspicuously, but the device may not be adopted either by her husband or children. No woman ever uses a heraldic motto, for these were invariably aggressively masculine and unsuited to feminine social use. — Amy Vanderbilt, 1952

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

Monday, October 18, 2021

Improving Soviet Etiquette and More

In 1969, publishers Funk and Wagnalls came out with a replica edition of Emily Post’s 1922 book, “Etiquette” for $10.00– for $6.95, they also came out with Elizabeth Post’s revised 12th edition of the same book. A writer compared the two books. – Photo above, Elizabeth Post, circa 1969

In a Manner of Speaking, Etiquette in Soviet Is Improving

SOCIAL behavior in at least one Socialist state is undergoing an unmistakable refinement, according to the woman who has updated Emily Post's “Etiquette.” Elizabeth Post, whose husband is a grandson of Emily Post, made the observation following a recent European tour.

“A realization that tourists are being alienated has prompted campaigns in the Soviet Union to improve the service of waiters, taxi drivers and bellboys,” said Mrs. Post. But, she added, the over-all attitude remained “just plain unhelpful.” Mrs. Post also said that attempts were being made to glamorize the assembly-line approach to weddings and that the Soviet Government was encouraging engagements – complete with formal announcements – something previously considered unnecessary and bourgeois.

In Germany, the second stop on her tour, she found that United States servicemen and their wives could upset the local population by seemingly small matters – by having cookouts or washing cars on Sunday (the Germans observe the Sabbath strictly) or by leaving clothes lines up with no clothes on them. In England, her last stop, she found things had changed vastly since Emily Post used the British as the models of formal behavior. She found them as relaxed as Americans, and more interested in discussing the miniskirt than manners.

Mrs. Post plans to write a book about “individual differences in etiquette abroad” for the benefit of travelers. She feels it is important because “if we have better manners on a big scale, we will have less war and more understanding.” Her updating of Emily Post's “Etiquette” is published by Funk and Wagnall. Pocket Books will publish a condensed version next month.

When Emily Post was asked to write the original book, which was published in 1922, she is reported to have sniffed and said: “It’s the most ridiculous thing I ever heard of.” It was only when she was shown some manuscripts and found them to be unduly concerned with salad forks and impressing the neighbors that she capitulated. “I got involved somewhat by mistake – just as Emily did,” Mrs. Post said recently, from behind her desk at the Emily Post Institute in the Pan Am Building. 

“The Institute decided, not long after Emily's death in 1960, that the book should be updated. Several writers were tried but they either wrote well and knew nothing about etiquette or vice versa. One night my husband brought home one of the manuscripts to look at,” she continued. “He showed it to me and, without thinking, I said I could do it better myself.”

Now that her four children are grown, Mrs. Post can devote time to answering the many letters received on etiquette questions at the Institute – most of which are from women. Meanwhile, Mr. Post is more concerned with equipping heavy-duty trucks. He is president of Hobbs Equipment in Norwalk, Conn. “Etiquette isn't going out of style, judging by the tremendous amount of interest people show in it,” Mrs. Post said. “It's just that the emphasis has changed – and should have changed. It used to be rather a rigid business. I think the basis now is consideration.”– 
By Nan Ickeringill, NYT, 1967

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