Monday, February 6, 2023

Streetcar Manners in France

The majority concluded that the temper of the age would not permit any such social revolution. The episode has excited considerable attention in Paris, where there is general mourning over the decadence of French manners.—1889 Steam Powered French Tram — Public Domain Image
The hog claims even the historically polite France for his own. At a discussion by the town council of Havre upon the regulations for city car lines one member, complained that in these days men sitting in a car never thought of giving their places to women, even though the latter might have to stand outside on the platforms in the rain. 
He moved the adoption of a bylaw empowering conductors to compel men seated in the interior to surrender their places to women outside. Several other councillors gallantly supported the motion, but the majority concluded that the temper of the age would not permit any such social revolution. The episode has excited considerable attention in Paris, where there is general mourning over the decadence of French manners. — Exchange, 1890


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

Sunday, February 5, 2023

Table Manners of Old France

First Gentleman of his realm... Louis XIV was also known as Louis the Great (Louis le Grand) or the Sun King (le Roi-Soleil). He was a Monarch of the House of Bourbon who ruled as King of France from 1643 until his death in 1715. His reign of 72 years and 110 days is the longest of any Monarch of a major country in Europe's history.
Could we restore for half an hour the dinner table of old France and obtain half a dozen instantaneous photographs of a Royal banquet at any era between the reigns of Francis I and Louis Quatorze such a “cataract of laughter” would be heard as might disturb the serenity of Louis in paradise. The Duchess, her napkin tied securely round her neck, would be seen mumbling a bone, the noble Marquis surreptitiously scratching himself, the belle Marquise, withdrawing her spoon from her lips to help a neighbor to sauce with it, another fair creature scouring her plate with her bread, a gallant courtier using his doublet or the tablecloth as a towel for his fingers and two footmen holding a yard of damask under a lady’s chin while she emptied her goblet at a draft. During a feast of inordinate length it was sometimes necessary to substitute a clean cloth for the one which the carelessness or bad manners of the guests had reduced to a deplorable condition. —In the Amador Ledger, “An Idler In Old France,” 1908

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

Friday, February 3, 2023

Funeral Etiquette in Japan


Parting ways

Today, over 90 percent of funeral services in Japan are Buddhist. A traditional Buddhist funeral is a chance for loved ones and friends to come together, mourn, and seek closure. At times, it’s a solemn affair, so the idea of unintentionally causing offense is stressful, to say the least. When the time comes, it’s a good idea to prepare beforehand so you can focus on saying your goodbyes, not your apologies.

The dress code


While shades of blue and grey are acceptable at the wake, it’s expected that funeral attire is black from top to bottom. For men, that means a formal black suit and tie—no bow ties, no patterns, and no shiny fabrics or silks. The only color should be the white dress shirt worn under the jacket (which you should never take off, no matter how hot it gets). Most women wear dresses purchased for just such occasions, although dress pants are perfectly acceptable as well. It’s important not to show your legs, so black stockings or tights are essential.

Things to bring


The cost is not important but 数珠 (Juzu, Buddhist prayer beads) are a must. Choose a set that speaks to you and be sure to bring it along. If you have a little black bag or clutch in a plain, matte fabric feel free to make use of it now. For those of you with larger carry-all bags, there will be space to leave it in the hall so you won’t have to be carrying it throughout the entire service.

Finally, don’t forget your 香典 (koden, condolence money). The basic rule is, the closer your relationship to the deceased, the more you should give. A friend can bring along a minimum of ¥5,000, a relative should give ¥10,000, and immediate family even more. It’s customary to put the money in an envelope and carry it in a fabric wallet known as a 香典袋 (koden bukuro.) — By Alicia Hamasaki, in Japan Today, 2019



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

Thursday, February 2, 2023

Social Equality and Civilization

Early 20th C. British class system snobbery on display was just one of the many reasons for the popularity of the television hit series, “Downton Abbey”
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On the one hand, the aristocratic class, with all its power of social life and manners, is invariably materialized, while for the class of newly enriched people it sets the example of a materialistic ideal, which is accepted just because it is the ideal they can easiest comprehend. On the other, the people of the lower class, with the life of the middle class and its unlovely types of religion, thought, beauty and manners having no great attractions for them, fall back upon themselves— upon what Mr. Goldwin Smith calls “their, beer, their gin and their fun.” — Image source, Twitter


Matthew Arnold in his new book, “Mixed Essays,” maintains that with such inequality as now exists in England “a perfect civilization is impossible.” On the one hand, the aristocratic class, with all its power of social life and manners, is invariably materialized, while for the class of newly enriched people it sets the example of a materialistic ideal, which is accepted just because it is the ideal they can easiest comprehend. On the other, the people of the lower class, with the life of the middle class and its unlovely types of religion, thought, beauty and manners having no great attractions for them, fall back upon themselves— upon what Mr. Goldwin Smith calls “their, beer, their gin and their fun.” All this tends to failure in civilization. There are many qualities which go to complete a full humanization which means a true civilization.

England, it is true, has a strong sense of the power of conduct which Mr. Arnold regards as the chief power in the life and progress of man. But in the power of knowledge, of beauty and of social life, she is inferior to other nations. Certain races are on certain lines preeminent and representative. The Hebrew nation was pre-eminent on one great line— its statutes and righteous judgments; the Hellenic race on another— its philosophy and its eloquence. The power of beauty has been so great among Italians that it was they who revived the almost lost idea of beauty and the serious and successful pursuit of it. To the Germans belong the power of knowledge, which in the same way is eminently an influence with them. Last of these elements of civilization, and one of the greatest, is the power of social life and manners which the French possess above all other modern people. Without this a nation is incomplete.

Men are made equal by the humanity of their manners. Hence it was not the spirit of philanthropy which mainly impelled the French to the great revolution, nor was it the spirit of envy or a love of abstract ideas, though all these did something toward it; what did most was the spirit of society. Thus it was equality which has given to France so much of the goodness and agreeableness of life, and brought her to a really admirable and enviable pitch of humanization in one important line; so much so that some writers have been inclined to call France the most civilized of nations. To remedy the inequality that exists in England there must be a change in the law of bequest, as there has been in France, The code Napoleon, the actual law of France, forbids entails altogether.— N. Y. Home Journal, 1879



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

Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Etiquette and Table Top Concerns

Party favors wrapped in “Tiffany blue” paper wait upon the seats to be placed at each of these bridal shower settings. Wait to unwrap such a favor until invited to do so by your host or hostess.

Individual Party Favors

Instead of place cards, sometimes small, festively wrapped party favors with a guest’s name on them are placed at each setting. Wait until the host or hostess encourages you to open yours though, as they are usually a special part of a well planned event.


Table Favors

Much like individual party favors, their larger counterparts, table favors, are meant for the entire table to enjoy. Sometimes these table favors are incorporated in to whimsically created centerpieces. It is incredibly rude to disassemble these types of table favors before one’s host or hostess invites or encourages everyone at the table to do so. 

After mingling briefly at a wedding’s pre-reception cocktail hour, my husband and I arrived at our assigned seats only to discover the table’s centerpiece had been thoroughly taken apart and eaten by four drunken guests also seated at my our table. I had to look around at the 30 or so other tables to enjoy all of the time and creativity which had been put into the still intact centerpieces. 

Table Crumbers

After the main course has been served, prior to dessert or fruit, the table may be “crumbed.” If the waiter or server is attempting to clean the table of crumbs, be your most polite and lean back a bit in from the table to allow him/her to do the job. 

It should only take a matter of seconds at each place setting and should not interfere with conversation at the table when allowed to be done in a smooth fashion. Table crumbers come in many types; miniature brooms or brushes with small “dust pans,” long handled and lidded rectangular dishes, and flat “scrapers” with pans or dishes to push the crumbs onto, etc....

Knife Rests

Another addition to some very formal tables are individual knife rests at each place setting. These are placed on the table above the tip of the knife for the diner to rest the tip on so as not to soil the linens or tablecloth. — From The Rsvp Institute of Etiquette “Social Graces Handbook,” 1990


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

Monday, January 30, 2023

Etiquette: Tent-Style Place Cards vs Flat

 

Place cards are used for seating arrangements and should never be tampered with if you want to be invited back. Hosts/Hostesses go to a lot of trouble and time to make sure the seating arrangements are proper and that everyone's tastes and feelings are accommodated. Sit where a place card has been set for you (the one with your name on it) and mingle with others you didn't sit with afterward.

Dear Maura:
What is the proper way to include a placecard at a formal table? Where is it placed? Is the name only written on one side of a “tent- style” card, or both sides? — K.E., Ontario

Dear K.E.:

The correct usage of place cards deals solely with the intent of the usage. If you are hosting an affair with people who do not know one another, tent-style cards are a wonderful way of letting one know which place at the table is his. Tent-style cards with a name written on both sides allows others at the table to not have to fumble to remember the names of those sitting nearby them.

Both sides of the card should have the name on them and the card should be placed above the place setting in clear view of other diners.

If your meal is a get-together of friends or family who all know one another, flat place cards can be placed at each setting, on the charger, service plate or place plate to signify where one is to sit. Tent cards can also be used.

And by no means should place-cards ever be removed or rearranged by guests. Protocol and etiquette dictate that certain people be seated at certain places. Hosts and hostesses going to the trouble of following the rules in those situations are to be commended. A guest should never take it upon himself to “improve” the seating arrangement. — By Maura Graber for Inland Empire Magazine, 1993


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

Sunday, January 29, 2023

Etiquette When Madam is “Not at Home”

Visiting cards were extremely versatile and could be used to communicate everything from a brief visit to casual invitations and more formal invitations as well.


Dear Maura: I was always taught that it was impolite to drop by someone's home unannounced, and have stuck to that rule all my life. Lately it seems that the rules have relaxed to the point of total disregard for any rules in this area.

People have been showing up at all hours of the day and night and I let them in, but the whole time they are in my home I am uncomfortably apologizing for the condition of the place, and want to ask them to please call ahead of time before they show up so I can prepare for visitors. Would I be out of line in doing so?– P.B., Riverside

Dear P.B.: It depends on how you phrase it. If you casually mention to them on their way out of your home something like, “It was great seeing you. Next time, let's get together on a Wednesday afternoon. My cleaning woman will have been here in the morning and I'll be able to relax more. Give me a call the day before, though, to make sure I'm going to be home. My schedule is really hectic.” and say it with a genuine smile and sincere feelings behind it, this request shouldn't offend anyone. In fact, this was the acceptable way to let others know when you would be available for visits in the not-too-distant past.
Calling cards (similar to business cards) were used for just such purposes. They conveyed the message without one having to say anything. On your engraved card, you would write “At home on Mondays” or whichever day you chose, and people were to respect that choice. And if you did not wish to see someone who did stop by, a servant would say you were “not at home,” and it went unquestioned. “Not at home” could mean you were there and not feeling up to visitors or you really were out. Only the truly tacky would dare ask. And a servant would never venture to tell!
As for telephone calls, those have been made simple to refuse with the invention of answering machines. Screening your calls with an answering machine should not be looked upon as a way of talking to only those privileged few who you care to speak with, but as a way of finishing anything you are in the middle of before returning the phone call in an effort to give all your attention to the person who called.

I don't think we can ever expect to go back to Victorian or Gilded Age ways of calling upon others with cards in hand. However, I still try to let others know when it's a “good time to catch me at home” in an effort to make our visits and phone calls as relaxed and pleasant as possible. – By Maura J. Graber, for Inland Empire Magazine, 1993


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

Saturday, January 28, 2023

Profanity and Job Etiquette

According to a 2012 survey by Careerfinder, foul words may not only affect your reputation, they may also affect your chance for promotion.


Modern etiquette: Curse words could affect your career


WASHINGTON “Do you eat with that mouth?”


It's a question you may have asked when coming into contact with a profanity-prone colleague or office mate. But when it comes to swearing in the business environment, what is in poor taste and how does it affect your professional image?

According to a 2012 survey by Careerfinder, foul words may not only affect your reputation, they may also affect your chance for promotion.

After surveying more than 2,000 hiring managers and 3,800 workers across industries and company sizes, 64% of employers said that they'd think less of an employee who repeatedly used curse words, and 57% said they'd be less likely to promote someone who swears in the office.

So who's using all that blue language? According to the survey, half of the respondents reported swearing in the office and the majority of those (95%) reported that they curse in front of their co-workers.

Another 51% admitted to cursing in front of their boss or supervisors. And if you think that only men are using foul language, the survey indicates that women are catching up with their male counterparts with 47% of women admitting to cursing while on the company clock.

As the day-to-day demands on today's workers continue to increase, swearing can be a way to let off some steam.

However, that doesn't mean that your office should sound like a drunken wrestling match or a scene out of Martin Scorsese's "The Wolf of Wall Street" (Guinness World Records title-holder for most swearing in one film!).

Even polished professionals lose their cool on occasion, but the next time you feel a blue streak coming on, consider these tips on the long-term effects of swearing.

Lingering impressions: You are as good as your word - according to the saying - and if your words are off color, they will reflect poorly on your overall professional presence. Also, keep in mind that offices are collaborative places and we are constantly in the company of people who share different values and beliefs. If you offend someone with your language, you may harm valuable relationships with your colleagues and jeopardize the overall team dynamic. By keeping it clean, you can maintain your image as cool, collected and in charge.

Your permanent record: In many cases, swear words or off- color language can be interpreted as harassment, especially if the wording has a sexist slant to it. If you are in a management position, you have an even larger role in maintaining an environment that ensures safety and security — both physically and mentally — and cursing can create an atmosphere of disrespect and chaos. Do yourself a favor and avoid violating any human resources policy and save the swearing for the ride home.

Keeping it classy: One of the most notable aspects about cursing is that it's so common. The words and phrases are not only objectionable - they are also cliché. If you must curse, ensure your expletives are not only socially acceptable but also creative.

Off color/off brand: Again, we know there are instances where a curse word may certainly come to the surface, like when the office copier is out of toner and that "done deal" all of a sudden becomes undone. So if you are prone to cursing during stress or strike, make sure you never do so in front of a client or customer. Remember you are a brand ambassador for your company at all times and you need to protect your company's reputation along with your own. Copyright Thompson Reuters, 2015

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