Elbows off the table. Man overboard*. Napkin on your lap.
Sit up straight. Knife and fork rest on the plate together, side-by-side.
Stand when a lady approaches the table. Hold the door open for another. Remember the ‘Magic Words: please and thank you.
All of the above were ‘manners messages’ that many of us grew up hearing. The run- away best seller of 1922, ‘Etiquette’ by Emily Post, was deemed the definitive book on good manners for decades.
*That was code for removing a soup spoon from the bowl and placing it on the plate.
Thank you notes passé?
There was a time when all men wore hats and walked nearest to the curb to protect the lady, in her full voluminous skirts, from the possible puddle splash of a passing carriage. Hats are gone. Are good manners next?
A quick exit poll at a local 24-Hour Fitness spoke volumes about the practice of writing thank you notes. Asked the last time they wrote a thank you note, nine (30-somethings) responded, sheepishly…”In college or high school.” Five responded, “Frequently” and five asked, “What’s a thank you note?”
Entitlement or lousy manners?
You be the judge. Some say you have the responsibility to teach your children, nieces, nephews and grandchildren the value of good manners and saying thanks. Emily Post waxes rhapsodic about the proper ink, handwriting, verbiage, and length of a note. Nowadays, short and sweet gets the job done elegantly.
Fact: saying thank you is not old-fashioned. It is savvy, smart, and displays intelligence and good taste. The holidays are upon us. This means a flood of opportunities to get and receive gifts and invitations. What do you say? Thank you for taking the time to read this. May I please be excused?
“If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is ‘thank you’, it will be enough.”