I found a book on etiquette once that belonged to my mother when she was in school. They had actual classes on it! Can you believe that? Most of the material in the book was out-dated and somewhat pretentious- one of my favourite parts referred to playing with your hair in public as “unsightly” and “an indication of inferior intelligence”. Guilty!
I know some people think of etiquette rules as uptight and constricting, but I’ve always felt the opposite: In most social situations, particularly ones that make me nervous, there is a comfort and even a sense of power to be gained from knowing the absolute right way of doing something. I’m fascinated with etiquette guides and read them with the aspiration of knowing the appropriate action for every situation that might present itself.
Needless to say, I was excited to come across this site: The Mistress of Manners: periodic tips for modern manners. This is as close as I’ll get to life’s instruction manual!
Also, kudos to The Urban Etiquette Project, yet another initiative attempting to restore politeness in our modern world.
“Table Manners” illustration by Gemma Correll for Cup of Jo