Saturday, May 8, 2021

Two Wrongs and What’s Right


Gifts are always fun to receive, but one should never expect them. – “Etiquette” is a matter of common sense. When friends call on a couple in their new home for the first time, it’s customary to bring a gift. However, if you gave the party only to harvest the gifts, the crop failure was just.


Hostess’s Misguided Ignorance 

vs 

Rude, Know-it-All’s Meddling 


DEAR ABBY: Last week my husband and I gave a house-warming party in our first new home. We sent out invitations to 16 couples saying it was a housewarming. Everyone came, but only one couple brought a gift. I was so hurt and embarrassed I didn't know what to think. Yesterday one of my friends told me she would have brought a gift, but one of the other invited guests took it upon herself to call up everybody and spread the word that it’s not etiquette for people to give a housewarming party for themselves, and therefore it wasn’t proper to bring a gift. She said a “real” house-warming party, where a gift is in order, is one that is given by friends for the new home owners. Abby, if we had known this we never would have given that party. We went to a lot of expense entertaining those people with drinks and food. That girl sure had her nerve, but was she right? - NOT UP ON ETIQUETTE

DEAR NOT UP: “Etiquette” is a matter of common sense. When friends call on a couple in their new home for the first time, it’s customary to bring a gift. Your friend, the self-appointed authority on etiquette, could use some pointers on what’s proper. However, if you gave the party only to harvest the gifts, the crop failure was just. –Abigail Van Buren, 1965


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

Etiquette and Making Ends Meet

 

Before the coming of the napkin, which appeared about the middle of the fifteenth century, the table cloth took its place, and was drawn over the knees of the guests as they took their seats.



It is said that the proverb about the trouble of making ends meet originated when it was still the fashion to put the table napkin around the neck and tie it behind. At that time, ruffs were so high and voluminous, that it was next to impossible to follow this point of etiquette. Before the coming of the napkin, which appeared about the middle of the fifteenth century, the table cloth took its place, and was drawn over the knees of the guests as they took their seats. – The Morning Press, 1892


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

Friday, May 7, 2021

Dining Etiquette with Physical Challenges

 

(Above) A pie, pickle or even a “Nelson fork” — Some fork designs were sold for different purposes in different regions of the U.S. and in Europe. Other utensils were modified a bit to suit new foods, as foods that were considered delicacies, fell into and out of, fashion. A “Nelson fork” was a fork adapted for eating with one hand, after British Vice Admiral Horatio Nelson lost his arm while fighting Napoleon at Tenerife.


Two metal hooks where his hands should be was the distinctive feature of the man who sat opposite me at dinner last night. He was a strong, husky chap between 25 and 30, well groomed, but coatless and he walked into the French restaurant, was shown to a table, pulled his chair out and sat down without a motion that would single him out from the rest of the diners. Fortunately he sat apposite me, offering me opportunity not to stare at a man who fed himself with two iron hooks, but to look with admiration on a person, who has successfully made one of life’s most difficult adjustments. 

Of course, I didn’t and don’t now know his story. I didn’t have to him tell me that to know that there was a day, either in his boyhood or young manhood, when he awoke to the realization that his hands were gone, in a case like that one can entirely set aside any attendant physical suffering, and dwell upon the mental and nervous shock and the necessary adjustment that only the Individual himself can make. Life is going to go right on for a person in a fix of that kind, and he himself must decide it he is going to go right along with it.

 DECISION COMES FIRST 

This decision must come first. And after the decision is made there is the nerve-racking process of developing a new way of living that will approximate the normal course of things. There were no awkward moves as this fellow-diner of mine deftly adjusted the hook on his right arm with the one on the left. He picked up his napkin, unfolded it and placed it on his lap. When the soup was served he picked up a spoon and ate without spilling a drop. He broke French bread, which he seemed to enjoy, and now and then wiped his lips with his napkin and sipped water from the glass at his place. 

DEFIANT LOOK IN EYE 

He served himself salad and ate it, also the crisp potatoes and peas, and he was just as American in eating fried chicken with his “fingers” as you and I. But he didn’t stare at anyone else for everyone was staring at him. However, he wasn't embarrassed, in fact, I caught a defiant look in his eye and sensed an attitude of the satisfied victor. I wanted to shake his right hook, but I don’t believe he would want commendation any more than sympathy. A person who makes a difficult life adjustment as successfully as he has, doesn’t need either. – Estelle Lawton Lindsey, 1936



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


Thursday, May 6, 2021

Wine Etiquette for Hosts/Hostesses

 

The guests’ glasses should be poured counter clockwise  around the table, to the right of the host, who is served last.

... a few simple principles

Drinking and serving fine Sonoma County wines will be more pleasurable if you master a few simple principles. Here are some. 
  • The first ounce or two of California wine should be poured into the host’s glass. This enables the host to taste the wine first and also to inspect for possible cork debris. 
  • The guests’ glasses should be poured counter clockwise  around the table, to the right of the host, who is served last.
  • Fill the dinner wine glass about two-thirds full. This reduces chances of spillage and allows the aroma or bouquet to he better appreciated. 
  • In pouring Sherry or Port, the glass should be filled to within one-half inch of the top. 
  • When finished pouring into a glass, twist the bottle slightly before raising its mouth from the pouring position this catches the last few drops on the lip of the bottle preventing dripping. 
  • Drawing the cork is easy if a good corkscrew is used. 
  • Cut the foil or cellulose band with a sharp knife about l/4th of an inch beneath the lip of the bottle. 
  • The foil or cellulose band should not be torn or ripped off. A neat cut makes it easier to pour the wine. 
  • In the case of a metal band, it eliminates the possibility of a metallic taste.
  • The mouth of the bottle should be wiped clean with a napkin before inserting the corkscrew. Screw the worm through the center of the cork as far as possible. Give an extra part turn. Then pull firmly and slowly so that the cork is removed whole. 
  • If the cork is brittle or crumbly, a carbon pressure de-corker, is best.– Healdsburg Tribune, Enterprise and Scimitar, 1971




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

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Table Napkin Etiquette and History

   

“That article now considered almost indispensable, the table napkin, was first used only by children but was only adopted by elder members of the family about the middle of the Fifteenth century.”– ¥ouch’s Companion, 1893



Curiously enough, that article now considered almost indispensable, the table napkin, was first used only by children but was only adopted by elder members of the family about the middle of the Fifteenth century. In etiquette books of an earlier date than this, among other sage pieces of advice for children are instructions about wiping their fingers and lips with their napkins. It seems that the tablecloth was long enough to reach the floor and served the grown people in place of napkins. When they did begin to use napkins, they placed them first on the shoulder, then on the left arm, and finally tied them about the neck. —Youth's Companion, 1893


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



Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Manners Nudging a 1980’s Comeback

The 1980’s was a decade of contradictions in etiquette and manners... Most saw etiquette and manners in the United Staes to still in be in a free fall of decline, following the pattens set in the 1960s and 1970s. That did not stop people, however, from writing and buying books in large numbers on etiquette and manners. This phenomenon became a lead up to “the 1990’s Etiquette Era.”
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“Although Clare Boothe Luce has no plans to write an etiquette book, she has observed social mores from the time when, she says, life was ‘much more ceremonial.’ Manners today except for official life in Washington have, she believes, ‘virtually disappeared,’ and she sees ‘no signs of a renaissance.’ For Luce, ‘good manners is treating others with a certain distance and formality until a friendship is formed.’ As for the current American interest in manners and etiquette, ‘I do hope,’ Luce says, ‘they buy all the books they can.’ – Helping a young lady into her chair at the table, from Marjabelle Stewart’s book, “Stand Up, Shake Hands, Say ‘How Do You Do’”

NEW YORK - America, if the social soothsayers are accurate in their predictions, is about to become a land of kindness and courtesy. This is not merely because “Tiffany's Table Manners for Teen-Agers,” the paperback by Walter Hoving first published 21 years ago, is, according to Tiffany, “suddenly selling like croissants.” Rather, it is largely because of the burst of books on manners and etiquette – subjects that in the past inspired works from such concerned citizens as George Washington and Eleanor Roosevelt – which have recently been, or are about to be published. There are courses and lectures on the same subject for which people are lining up as if they were waiting to see “Conan the Barbarian.” Americans, these authors and teachers are saying, are currently craving tradition and hungering for the rules of proper behavior in social situations. 

Mary Susan Miller, who is working with Elizabeth L. Post, the granddaughter of Emily Post, on updating “The New Emily Post’s Etiquette,” said, “People have become so horrified, hurt and disgusted by rudeness” that a resurgence of manners was inevitable. Manners, says Miller, “are not a set of rules that someone out there arbitrarily says follow. Manners are to make other people, as well as yourself, comfortable.” She is currently teaching corporate executives, among others, to be comfortable. 

When Marjabelle Stewart was at the Waldorf Astoria recently to conduct a class on dining for children from the United Nations International School, it was yet one more stop in her constant etiquette campaign. Stewart, who has made manners her cottage industry, has written several books on the subject (“Marjabelle Stewart's, Book of Modern Table Manners,” the most recent, was published last year). Her children's etiquette classes (seven weeks, $65, graduation ceremony and tea party included) are franchised in 476 cities throughout the country. “Everyone wants to be upper crust today,” says Stewart, who also conducts courses (“Eating Your Way to the Top”) for both executives and college students. 

Ann Buchwald, a Washingtonian who is married to Art Buchwald and was Stewart’s co-author on such books as “White Gloves and Party Manners” and “Stand Up, Shake Hands, Say ‘How Do You Do,’” finds further evidence that manners are staging a comeback. “Women are wearing gloves for the first time in years, and there's a return to dresses,” she said. “How people look has a lot to do with the way they behave.” It was President and Mrs. Reagan, Buchwald adds, who “put the cap on the bottle.” Many of the parents who are most concerned about teaching their children good manners, Buchwald has found, were students who demonstrated in the 60's and 70's. “When they locked up the dean, they didn't much care about where glasses go on the dinner table,” she said, “but they now want their children to care.” 

For those who, like him, grew up in the 60s and 70s, P. J. O'Rourke is writing “Modern Manners: Etiquette for Extremely Rude People.” “We never learned how to dress properly or give cocktail parties,” O'Rourke says. “It was an era, when people erased the tapes on how to behave.” It is the family that is or should be the unit that teaches manners to youngsters, according to Letitia Baldrige, who revised and expanded the most recent edition of “The Amy Vanderbilt Complete Book of Etiquette.” “The many young people who grew up having dinner in front of the television set instead of the dining, table never did learn table manners,” Baldrige says. “Besides that, their parents were divorced and were never home to advise them.”

Another title, scheduled for publication later this year, is George Mazzei's “The New Office Etiquette,” which he says he wrote because “there's been a breakdown in business manners, and people are realizing they can no longer deal with the constant rudeness which became a part of the business world when crude young people became superstars.” Mazzei's book deals with “the new etiquette toward women in business" and sets guidelines for such business behavior as who should go through a revolving door first (the woman still does) and the correct way to deal with your boss's in-office lover (smile, nod, and don't talk about the affair). The book is scheduled for publication later this year. 

One can learn “How to Eat an Artichoke and Other Trying, Troublesome, Hard-to-Get-At Foods” in Rochelle Udell's just-published book. Udell wrote it, she says, “because food is so often a barrier to socializing across the dinner table.” She got the idea for her book, she says, while observing “someone's cherry tomato squirt across a dining room.” Although Clare Boothe Luce has no plans to write an etiquette book, she has observed social mores from the time when, she says, life was “much more ceremonial.” Manners today except for official life in Washington have, she believes, “virtually disappeared,” and she sees “no signs of a renaissance.” For Luce, “good manners is treating others with a certain distance and formality until a friendship is formed.” As for the current American interest in manners and etiquette, “I do hope,” Luce says, “they buy all the books they can.” – NYT News Service, 1982



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

Monday, May 3, 2021

Etiquette: “No Phony Titles, Please”

 

The first sentence is: “Prefixes indicating marital status should be avoided.” Why? What about the woman who is proud to be Mrs. John Doe, along with any other accomplishments? What about the still unchanged etiquette rule that a married woman is Mrs. John Doe from the moment of marriage until death, unless she divorces or remarries? – Polyester Pantsuits for Women... Hallmarks of the 1960’s and 1970’s Women’s Liberation Movement



I object! At the risk of having to burrow deeper and longer than the traditional groundhog, I will stand by my convictions and object to the “Guidelines for Newswriling about Women,” compiled by Stanford University Women’s News Service and being circulated by the League of Women Voters, Palm Springs Area. The first sentence is: “Prefixes indicating marital status should be avoided.” Why? What about the woman who is proud to be Mrs. John Doe, along with any other accomplishments? What about the still unchanged etiquette rule that a married woman is Mrs. John Doe from the moment of marriage until death, unless she divorces or remarries? It goes on: “A later reference should include last name only.” What about a newspaper’s individual style? A newspaper, like a smoker, has a few rights left, too. It is not The Desert Sun’s style to refer to a woman, a lady, or a girl as just “Doe.” I pray we never do.

In another section is the request (or is it an order?) that: ‘‘If you would not say, ‘The gray-haired grandfather of 3 won the Nobel Prize,' do not say, ‘The grayhaired grandmother of 3 won the Nobel Prize.’ ” Now, listen here. I am a gray-haired grandmother of two (newspapers use letters up to 10), the mother of two, the wife of one, and if I ever win the Nobel Prize (after this piece it won’t be for peace) I want all the data there. Along with the facts that I have been a news reporter and editor (Oh, God, don’t make me say “editress”) for 30 years, a homemaker, seamstress, cook, cleaning lady and loving wife for nearly 40 years. In addition, while handling a full time job I was a Boy Scout den mother and a Camp Fire leader. If I win any prize I want the public to know, that regardless of what it says, I won it for juggling. 

I object again to the mandate: “ ‘Man,’ used alone and in words like ‘chairman,’ is a sexually exclusive term and should be avoided when at all possible.’’ What about mankind? Are we going to change that to “person-kind?” Thank God, Neil Armstrong walked on the moon when he did. I’d have died if he had said, “ . . , one giant leap for person-kind.” Are we going to “person the pumps?” Call manikins “personikins?” Commit “person-slaughter?” Don’t you ever call my manx cat a “personx.” And let’s not forget man-eating sharks. Science has never found them to be discriminating. To lessen the fears of sons, and husbands they should definitely become “person-eating sharks,” the same for tigers. 

What about women with the last name of Mann? Should they petition to change it to Person? That means changing Hoffman to Hoffperson and can you imagine Milt and Evelanne Heyperson? According to the “Guidelines,” the U.S. Bureau of the Census has begun officially changing its occupation titles to eliminate sexism. Salesmen are now sales workers or sales agents, newsboys are newspaper carriers and airline stewardesses are now flight attendants. Well, what else can you expect in this day of Federalese and gobbledegook where a garbage collector is a sanitation engineer and being “affiliated with a chemical company” in truth means a fertilizer salesman, excuse me, fertilizer sales agent. 

After years in the working world, I believe in equal pay for equal work, community property, joint tenancy and other sensible strides, but I don’t want to be called, as the “Guideline” states: “ ‘Feminist’ is the correct term for a woman committed to equal rights for women” and that “ ‘Women's libber’ is unacceptable,” I don’t want to be called either of these. I’m a woman, proud of it; just call Mrs. Charles A. Turner or Lisa Turner. No stupid titles, please. – By Lisa Larson Turner, Desert Living Editor, Desert Sun, 1978


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

Sunday, May 2, 2021

Society Girls’ Study of Grace

Grace is such on indescribable thing that negatives aid in the definition. It is not graceful to walk on the heels, to take long strides or to raise the foot from the ground more than two inches; it is not graceful to stump or to lay the foot down with a defiant or resounding noise; it is not graceful to square the shoulders soldier fashion or to set the elbows akimbo, as in driving; it is not graceful to hurry, hustle or fuss, for speed is not conducive to grace of motion, save among thoroughbreds.


Society girls have taken up the study of grace, which consists in being gently serpentine. To attain this undulating walk, the head must remain firm, the shoulders droop and the movements come from the hips. In this way there will be no tossing or shaking of the skirts, and the willowy, swaying motion at the waist will emphasize the snake effect sought. For the cultivation of this indefinable charm, walking, next to dancing, is the best exercise, as it brings the muscles into fairly uniform action. The undulations made by the head, chest and torso in a vertical plane are not only productive of Hogarth’s line of beauty but tend to perfect physical health. 

Grace is such on indescribable thing that negatives aid in the definition. It is not graceful to walk on the heels, to take long strides or to raise the foot from the ground more than two inches; it is not graceful to stump or to lay the foot down with a defiant or resounding noise; it is not graceful to square the shoulders soldier fashion or to set the elbows akimbo, as in driving; it is not graceful to hurry, hustle or fuss, for speed is not conducive to grace of motion, save among thoroughbreds. Another foe of grace is self consciousness. The really pleasing, graceful, gracious woman rises above her raiments, and once her toilet is complete she gives no more thought to it.— New York World, 1892


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