Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Etiquette and Things to Retrain From

Here at Etiquipedia, we are big fans of the common sense manners which Amy Vanderbilt espoused and encouraged, through her numerous books and syndicated columns.

Rules of Etiquette That Don’t Change
By Amy Vanderbilt

As my readers know, I have a large collection of very old etiquette books and keep adding to it during the course of my travels in this country and abroad. Just recently in Ireland I was given a copy of an English etiquette book that, although undated, seems to have been published about 1902. It is called “Etiquette for Women.” One section lists “Things to Retrain From.” I was interested to see how well most of these rules stand up and are today good American manners, too. 

Here they are, just as they appeared in that old book I brought back from Dublin: 
  • “Don’t talk of your pedigree, save in the bosom of your own family, and then only indulge yourself once in a lifetime.”
  • “Don’t, whatever the fashion may be, wear a lot of jewelry.” 
  • “Don’t wear a number of diamonds 0r other precious stones by day. It is not in good taste.” 
  • “Don’t speak to attendants in shops as your servants, or anyone in an inferior position in life to yourself, as though they were dogs; neither gush at them, nor be familiar.”
  • “Maintain a genial dignity, and a gracious kindness and consideration, which will win esteem and respect.”
  • “Don’t mention names when talking in public about persons you know; a near friend 0r relative of those you are chattering about, may be overhearing the conversation. ”
  • “Don’t eat in the street.”
  • “Don't ever have dirty nails, soiled handkerchiefs, or soiled linen.” 
  • “Don’t use quantities of perfume.”
  • “Don’t behave in the street in a way to attract attention by railing about; attitudinizing, or shrieking with laughter.” 
  • “Don’t be profuse with terms of endearment and kisses in public.” 
  • “Don't if a friend mispronounces a word, immediately pronounce it in the correct way; it will probably hurt his or her feelings very much.” 
  • “Don't push your plate away when you have finished eating.”
  • ‘‘Don’t use a knife when eating an entree or hors d’œuvre if a fork will do.”
  • “Don’t use a knife when eating rissoles of any kind, or minced meats; or curry.”
  • “Don’t when you are served, wait until everyone else is served also before beginning to eat; neither must you attack the meat on your plate until you have the accompanying vegetables and sauces.”
  • “Don’t mistake a haughty, overbearing manner for an air of good breeding, either in yourself or your fellow creatures.”

My friend and fellow columnist, Mrs. Walter Ferguson, wrote recently that this is an age of vulgarity. Many of these old, sound rules of good manners are as important today as they have ever been. Are we properly teaching them to our children? Are we occasionally breaching them ourselves? — Amy Vanderbilt, 1959

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

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