Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Tuesday Ten--Funny Etiquette Rules

Ever wake up in the morning, growl at the sun, snarl at your cup of coffee and then suddenly remember you've got Tuesday Ten looming over your head too? Okay, probably not unless you are Christine or Nic or me.

I had a good plan for Tuesday Ten. I live in New England and there are some really pretty, pretty Victorian homes in the area. I was going to take my digital camera around and photograph ten of them and put them on the blog. How great would that be? Trust me it would be really great. Make-it-your-computer-background great. Okay, maybe not quite that great.

Anyway, I never did do that whole photography thing. I do have one Victorian home photo from a year or two ago in Newport. I had more but the computer died, and now I've only got the one. It's Tuesday Ten, not Tuesday one--there isn't even a day of the week that alliterates with "one" (yes, I know alliterates is not a word. Call it poetic license, even though I'm not a poet and this is not a poem). I'm dragging my ten out of The Essential Handbook of Victorian Etiquette, originally published by Professor Thomas E Hill between 1873 and 1890. There is no rule, by the way, for murdering your beagle for chewing on your pen while you're trying to work. Just thought I'd throw that in, in case you were wondering.

So after that rambling pre-amble, here is it, the 10 funniest rules I found in this book:

1.)Never wantonly frighten others

2.)Never read letters which you may find addressed to others.

3.) When speaking to a boy under fifteen years of age, outside ot the circle of relatives, among comparative strangers call him by his Christian name.

If you don't know his age, do you ask him first? If you don't know his name do you just refer to him as "boy"?

4.) Do not always commence a conversation by an allusion to weather.

5.) Do not make a pretense of gentility, nor parade the face that you are a descendant of any notable family. Wear a sign instead. Okay, I added the last.

What should be avoided when calling.

6.) Do not take a dog or small child. Take the silverware.

7.) Do not continue the call longer when conversation begins to lag. I suspect if you broke rule number 4, this will happen very quickly.

Behavior to be avoided at the table.

8.) Never make noises with the mouth or throat. But you may pound on the table with your fist, or your utensils. Oh shoot, it says too, "Never permit yourself to use gestures, nor illustrations made with a knife or fork on the tablecloth". All right, scratch the utensils--just go for the fist.

Other stuff:

9.) Ladies should avoid walking rapidly upon the street, as it is ungraceful and unbecoming. running across he street in front of carriages is dangerous, and shows want of dignity. Can't believe how he buried the whole "dangerous" thing in the middle of that sentence.

10.) Swinging the arms when walking, eating upon the street, sucking the parasol handles. . . .are all evidences of illbreeding in ladies. Excuse me? Sucking the parasol handles? I think that's more than illbreeding. . . .

So there's my laugh for the day, with my twisted and often not funny sense of humor. By all means, if you know some funny rules, feel free to share! Oh and the spell check on Blogger doesn't work for me, so you can feel free to correct my spelling too!


Anonymous said...

1.)Never wantonly frighten others

How about unwantonly? With purpose and motivation? Would that work? Hehe, as always, Dee, I love your list.

Nicole McCaffrey said...

LOL. Great blog, Dee. It really cracked me up.

As to not beginning conversations with comments about the weather, well heck, that'd shut most of us Northeasterners up during the month of February! We'd all just be staring at each other and THINKING "cold enough for ya?" or "they're calling for 6-10 inches tonight."

Downright unsocial! *G*

Susan Macatee said...

Funny, Dee!

Sucking on parasol handles really cracked me up. Never heard that one before.

And I know what you mean about the spell checker. It doesn't work for me anymore either and I depend on that thing.

Jennifer Linforth said...

Sucking parasol handles? Is that Victorian porn?