Etiquette

Anyone who has known me personally for any length of time has likely realized that I’m not exactly a maven of the finer points of etiquette. Yes, I do know better than to chew with my mouth open, and I’ve only put my elbows on the table a couple of times in my 62+ years, but there are so many basic rules of etiquette with which I’m unfamiliar. Emily Post likely cannot rest in peace knowing the extent of my many faux pas.

I can’t blame Mama for my lack of social graces. She did her best to educate me, but the world we inhabited when I was young didn’t require much more than knowing how to answer a phone properly and the correct form for a thank you note, along with the aforementioned table etiquette. I was, and continue to be, a manners mess.

But maybe I’m not too old to learn. I purchased this little book at an estate sale this weekend.

One literally could not judge this book by its cover, but I knew it was old, and that made it intriguing.

The lettering on the spine was faint,

but inside the cover I discovered what might be the missing link in my social education:

While not a first edition, it’s still of a venerable age, and will be a welcome addition to my little library. Oh, and the priceless information within will most likely make me a highly sought after companion among the “Ladies Who Lunch.”

For example, if I decide to host a bridge party I now know how to write the invitation, including which scripts are acceptable for the engraving.

Appropriate apparel for every minute of one’s day is covered in the book. I read this section carefully, and nowhere did capris pants, a t-shirt, and flip flops get a mention. Huh.

Notice of the first four pages, only a portion of the fourth page addresses what a man should wear. And note, these pages only cover the morning hours. There are additional dress rules for afternoon and after six p.m., as well as ones for sporting events, funerals, weddings, business, and travel.

There is even a section on vacation customs. The first paragraph gave me the giggles.

I can well imagine the shoulder shrugs and exchanges of amused glances when I roll up to the resort in my Mickey Mouse t-shirt and shorts. Good times!

The author, Anna Steese Richardson, seems to have been a contemporary of the better known grande dame of etiquette, Emily Post. I wonder if the two had an ongoing ladylike feud regarding which type of calling card best conveyed the appropriate solemnity. I can just picture them politely snubbing one another at a wedding or requesting to be reseated at a dinner party to avoid being in one another’s presence.

Thank goodness many of the formalities the two women adhered to have been relaxed over time. The whole thing sounds exhausting.

Now, pardon me while I change out of my morning t-shirt into an afternoon t-shirt. I think I’ll pair it with my blue flip flops and dark wash jeans. I’ll be available to receive callers at my summer residence (see also, winter, spring, and fall accommodations) between 3:30 and 5 this afternoon. Be sure and leave your properly engraved card on the table in the foyer.

Peace, and Propriety, People.

Author: nananoyz

I'm a semi-retired crazy person with one husband and two cats.

35 thoughts on “Etiquette”

  1. OMG. Well firstly my reader spun too fast and I did not get the top of the post to start with but I thought..bet this you. And it was. it was the stuff re etiquette not being your strong point. And I laughed when I saw it was and thought about how my mum was always going on at me, ‘don’t you do or that, and have people thinking you were not a well brought up girl,’ when we lived in a area where the streets had all been renamed cos no-one would live on them. Anyway this is beyond priceless. Now I hope you are busily organizing your bridge afternoon…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What an amazing find!!

    God it must have been exhausting to deal with all these rules. And nowhere does anyone ever mention how it all goes down the toilet if you’re, oh, say pms-ing or menstruating or lactating or menopausing or…

    Lol

    Liked by 2 people

  3. And remember Les, when having spousal relations do not take the Lord’s name in vain by yelling out ” OH God !”…….unless you yell out ” Thank you Jesus “…..that is in ch. nine

    Liked by 1 person

  4. The one item that surprised me in that it was even mentioned in this book, is attire for the “business” woman. Just the fact that in 1930 it was even acknowledged that some women either needed, or god forbid, wanted to earn a living cannot be ignored as progressive!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I love reading things like this, especially when I can read passage out to Hubby so we can both laugh at how very not like this I am. Though, I would love to have the different outfits for different times of day just for the excuse to wear some really awesome clothes, but someone else is going to have to pay the tab for the clothes and for someone to do that laundry.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I’ve always loved certain elements of past eras, most of those being fashion and certain ways of living. It took me well into adulthood before it dawned on me that most of what I saw and admired really only applied to the extremely wealthy. Killed SO many fun fantasies when I realized that! lol!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Think I could have gotten away with being an eccentric artist with wealthy patrons even if I never really did any art? Wait… there aren’t many (any?) female artists. I would have had to also pretend to be a man and I don’t think my acting skills would have been up to that task.

        Liked by 1 person

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