Years ago you were an anathema to society if you had poor manners. Mothers taught manners from the time a child could speak. What’s going on now? And we wonder why the world basically “sucks” …to put it in modern day terminology. How many grandmothers have I seen almost knocked down by out of control grandchildren? How many physically disabled people have I seen knocked off crutches and wheelchairs bumped by thugs, both young and old, in the grocery and retail stores? How many young people AND adults are on social media…texting, talking or listening to music so they are socially mute, uninteresting drones? The list could go on and on, the answer is; a Lot!
My personal vendetta has begun with my speech and home ec class of mountain men and women. Some may not like having to give speeches on how to have a proper conversation, how to set proper placement of tableware for a formal dinner, how to answer a phone like a human with a personality, how to address and respect elders. How to address the Queen of England in a reception line.
I’ve gone Old School. I’ve pulled my Emily Post book of etiquette to begin. Over the next semester, I will be posting excerpts for anyone who had friends and family that may need a booster shot of proper manners. They can hate us later…LOL! Let the lessons begin!!!!!
Namaste, The Queen Cronista….
Emily Post on Conversation:
The Gift Of Humor
The joy of joys is the person of light but unmalicious humor. If you know any one who is gay, beguiling and amusing, you will, if you are wise, do everything you can to make him prefer your house and your table to any other; for where he is, the successful party is also. What he says is of no matter, it is the twist he gives to it, the intonation, the personality he puts into his quip or retort or observation that delights his hearers, and in his case the ordinary rules do not apply.
Eugene Field could tell a group of people that it had rained to-day and would probably rain to-morrow, and make everyone burst into laughter—or tears if he chose—according to the way it was said. But the ordinary rest of us must, if we would be thought sympathetic, intelligent or agreeable, “go fishing.”
Going Fishing For Topics
The charming talker is neither more nor less than a fisherman. (Fisher woman rather, since in America women make more effort to be agreeable than men do.) Sitting next to a stranger she wonders which “fly” she had better choose to interest him. She offers one topic; not much of a nibble. So she tries another or perhaps a third before he “rises” to the bait.
The Door Slammers
There are people whose idea of conversation is contradiction and flat statement. Finding yourself next to one of these, you venture:
“Have you seen any good plays lately?”
“No, hate the theater.”
“Which team are you for in the series?”
“Neither. Only an idiot could be interested in baseball.”
“Country must have a good many idiots!” mockingly.
“Obviously it has.” Full stop. In desperation you veer to the personal.
“I’ve never seen Mrs. Bobo Gilding as beautiful as she is to-night.”
“Nothing beautiful about her. As for the name ‘Bobo,’ it’s asinine.”
“Oh, it’s just one of those children’s names that stick sometimes for life.”
“Perfect rot. Ought to be called by his name,” etc.
Another, not very different in type though different in method, is the self-appointed instructor whose proper place is on the lecture platform, not at a dinner table.
“The earliest coins struck in the Peloponnesus were stamped on one side only; their alloy——” etc.
Another is the expounder of the obvious: “Have you ever noticed,” says he, deeply thinking, “how people’s tastes differ?”
Then there is the vulgarian of fulsome compliment: “Why are you so beautiful? It is not fair to the others——” and so on.
Tactless people are also legion. The means-to-be-agreeable elderly man says to a passée acquaintance, “Twenty years ago you were the prettiest woman in town”; or in the pleasantest tone of voice to one whose only son has married. “Why is it, do you suppose, that young wives always dislike their mothers-in-law?”
If you have any ambition to be sought after in society you must not talk about the unattractiveness of old age to the elderly, about the joys of dancing and skating to the lame, or about the advantages of ancestry to the self-made. It is also dangerous, as well as needlessly unkind, to ridicule or criticize others, especially for what they can’t help. If a young woman’s familiar or otherwise lax behavior deserves censure, a casual unflattering remark may not add to your own popularity if your listener is a relative, but you can at least, without being shamefaced, stand by your guns. On the other hand to say needlessly “What an ugly girl!” or “What a half-wit that boy is!” can be of no value except in drawing attention to your own tactlessness.
The young girl who admired her own facile adjectives said to a casual acquaintance: “How can you go about with that moth-eaten, squint-eyed, bag of a girl!” “Because,” answered the youth whom she had intended to dazzle, “the lady of your flattering epithets happens to be my sister.”
It is scarcely necessary to say that one whose tactless remarks ride rough-shod over the feelings of others, is not welcomed by many.
A bore is said to be “one who talks about himself when you want to talk about yourself!” which is superficially true enough, but a bore might more accurately be described as one who is interested in what does not interest you, and insists that you share his enthusiasm, in spite of your disinclination. To the bore life holds no dullness; every subject is of unending delight. A story told for the thousandth time has not lost its thrill; every tiresome detail is held up and turned about as a morsel of delectableness; to him each pea in a pod differs from another with the entrancing variety that artists find in tropical sunsets.
On the other hand, to be bored is a bad habit, and one only too easy to fall into. As a matter of fact, it is impossible, almost, to meet anyone who has not something of interest to tell you if you are but clever enough yourself to find out what it is. There are certain always delightful people who refuse to be bored. Their attitude is that no subject need ever be utterly uninteresting, so long as it is discussed for the first time. Repetition alone is deadly dull. Besides, what is the matter with trying to be agreeable yourself? Not too agreeable. Alas! it is true: “Be polite to bores and so shall you have bores always round about you.” Furthermore, there is no reason why you should be bored when you can be otherwise. But if you find yourself sitting in the hedgerow with nothing but weeds, there is no reason for shutting your eyes and seeing nothing, instead of finding what beauty you may in the weeds. To put it cynically, life is too short to waste it in drawing blanks. Therefore, it is up to you to find as many pictures to put on your blank pages as possible.
A Few Important Details Of Speech In Conversation
Unless you wish to stamp yourself a person who has never been out of “provincial” society, never speak of your husband as “Mr.” except to an inferior. Mrs. Worldly for instance in talking with a stranger would say “my husband,” and to a friend, meaning one not only whom she calls by her first name, but anyone on her “dinner list,” she says, “Dick thought the play amusing” or “Dick said——”. This does not give her listener the privilege of calling him “Dick.” The listener in return speaks of her own husband as “Tom” even if he is seventy—unless her hearer is a very young person (either man or woman), when she would say “my husband.” Never “Mr. Older.” To call your husband Mr. means that you consider the person you are talking to, beneath you in station. Mr. Worldly in the same way speaks of Mrs. Worldly as “my wife” to a gentleman, or “Edith” in speaking to a lady. Always.
In speaking about other people, one says “Mrs.,” “Miss” or “Mr.” as the case may be. It is bad form to go about saying “Edith Worldly” or “Ethel Norman” to those who do not call them Edith or Ethel, and to speak thus familiarly of one whom you do not call by her first name, is unforgivable. It is also effrontery for a younger person to call an older by her or his first name, without being asked to do so. Only a very underbred, thick-skinned person would attempt it.