Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Etiquette for Beginnings of Endings

In May of 1938, Bette Davis starred in the newly released “Jezebel,” for which she later won the Academy Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role. By December of 1938 however, The New York Times reported on the dissolution of Bette Davis’ marriage with Harmon “Oscar” Nelson. The stated reason for divorce? The actress read too much. The news report went on to say her husband “usually just sat there while his wife read to an unnecessary degree.”
 Rules Made to Cover Divorce Decree

When the masses simply can’t understand a thing, it seems rather a pity to continue it in force. The interlocutory divorce decree, for example. It was placed on the statute books with the best possible intentions; but it seems virtually impossible to get it over to people that an interlocutory decree, the paper which so many call “my first papers,” is not a divorce at all. Because of this “blind spot” in the average understanding, we come across all kinds of complications and heartaches. The questions below show what we mean: 

“I am writing you about the ‘etiquette’ following an interlocutory decree. What is the change, if any, in the way I will be using my name. What about my wedding ring? Do I continue to wear! it?” Yes, my dear, you “continue to wear it” for you are still married and that will be your status until your final decree is signed by the judge AND, this is most important, until the decree is entered on the court records. 

Your cards, of course, are engraved as they always have been. Even following the final decree, you may if you so desire, continue to have your visiting cards engraved with your husband’s full name. If, however, he has divorced you, the matter is different. You must engrave your cards so: If, say, you were Mable Long and married John Dolittle, your new cards will be engraved Mrs. Long-Dolittle. 

As to the wedding ring: If you detest a man enough to divorce him, you will probably not wish to continue to wear his ring. But until I got the final, decree, were I in your shoes, I’d wear that ring. Personally, believing that honest ways are best, I’d wear the ring even if I were divorced. It removes from you the stigma of trying to hide your marital status. It will be time enough to remove it once you have arranged to marry another man. – By Estelle Lawton Lindsey, 1938

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

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