Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Etiquette - A Personal Rant

Emily Post, c. 1900, photo courtesy of The Emily Post Institute

"Etiquette must, if it is to be of more than trifling use, include ethics as well as manners. Certainly what one is, is of far greater importance than what one appears to be. A knowledge of etiquette is of course essential to one’s decent behavior, just as clothing is essential to one’s decent appearance; and precisely as one wears the latter without being self-conscious of having on shoes and perhaps gloves, one who has good manners is equally unself-conscious in the observance of etiquette, the precepts of which must be so thoroughly absorbed as to make their observance a matter of instinct rather than of conscious obedience." Emily Post, 1922

I often say I'm not surprised by anything anymore. Until it comes to a person's manners. I have seen dreadful manners and behavior by too many - particularly having worked in the restaurant industry for 20 years you can imagine what I have seen and been the recipient of!

Unfortunately, when someone is actually nice today, it is surprising. We look upon that person perhaps as being 'odd' - even wondering if they have an 'alterior motive'. I believe it comes down to a matter of trust, which is lacking in many of us - an unfortunate sign of the times.

I thought I would do a series of etiquette posts based on Emily Post and her famous publication of 1922, Etiquette in Society, in Business, in Politics, and at Home. This book was a best seller then, and continues to be revised and updated clearly showing an interest in good behavior. So why haven't more of us caught on?

Emily Post on her radio program, c. 1942 photo courtesy of The Emily Post Institute

I have never read her book, but as I do in the coming week or two, particularly the sections on dress, I will summarize and comment on Emily's ideas of etiquette. I'm sure we will all learn a thing or two!


FrivolousFlapper said...

great idea!

Keith said...

I've always wanted to read her book. I think that etiquette in both men and women is sorely lacking these days.

Jessica Cangiano said...

Fantastic idea for an ongoing series of post. I too greatly wish society as a whole would revert to the day of greater civility and common courtesy, and am really looking forward to these posts.

Wishing you a splendid weekend, my friend,
♥ Jessica