Thursday, July 6, 2017

Throwback Thursday: Etiquette

Is etiquette a thing of the past? Am I the only one left who cares about it? Exactly what do I mean when I say the word etiquette?

The dictionary definition is a little unsatisfying, and many aspects of etiquette deserve exploration. I think of etiquette as a practice, for which the foundation is a good upbringing. Still, I maintain a small library of reference books about etiquette and gentleman's grooming.

"A gentleman takes the greatest care when using cologne. If an acquaintance tells him, “That’s awfully nice cologne you’re wearing,” he can rest assured that he is wearing too much." 
- John Bridges

John Bridges, author of a series of books such as "How to be a Gentleman" is my favorite source for advice geared toward men. He's like the Emily Post for guys, and his books are available at Brooks Brothers and online. Men are predisposed to saying or doing the wrong thing, and Bridges' books help men navigate the world with grace and success.

"A gentleman always opens the door for a woman, unless he happens to be the one with his arms full of packages." -John Bridges

Bridges' advice may seem cheeky or old fashioned at first, but it would be hard to disagree with it.

"A gentleman never assumes somebody else will bring the condoms." -John Bridges

Is there a lack of appreciation for good etiquette among people in the 21st century? And if so, does it have anything to do with how communication is evolving -- or devolving -- in the information age? Possibly, but etiquette should not be a thing of the past. We need it now more than ever.

Etiquette in the information age is a new topic, but the old rules still apply. I generally avoid telephoning people before 9am and after 8 or 9pm unless it's an emergency, for example. Today, I try to do the same thing with text messaging.

America needs to revisit the practice of etiquette. We talk way too much about politics, for example. Isn't that topic covered by etiquette and designated as something to avoid? Why then do we use it so often to smack each other down? (Myself included!) If you've read about etiquette, you may have reached similar conclusions. Americans need etiquette, lest our minor disagreements continue to escalate in to unhinged outrage. I wish etiquette wasn't a "throwback" topic. Maybe one day it will be in the forefront again.


  1. Can't stress "agree" enough! I agree.

  2. I wholeheartedly agree that etiquette is essential if we are all to get along on this planet. Perhaps because I am from New England we still carry on old traditions which include how to behave like a gentleman (or lady). We have tried very hard to pass this on to the next generation. My daughter still sends thank you notes in the "mail"!

  3. How true! Maybe some people have a problem with the word 'etiquette'. Consideration and courtesy work too but they are also in short supply. RSVP's seem to be ignored these days and I don't even want to think about the subject of thank you notes for wedding gifts. How the world has changed!

  4. My favorite quote (from Emily Post, I believe) "While the level of formality may alter, the level of courtesy always remains the same.