Etiquette Can Save Us

detail from book cover

My Fellow Zeitgeisters,

World. Handbasket. Hell. You know where we’re headed.

However, maybe we can arrest out civilization’s decline with some good old fashioned mannerly conduct, courtesy and a code of behaviour that will give the queue-jumpers, lane-cutters and talkers-during-the-movie some kind of clue as to their appalling lack of couth.

Wind the Swatch back to 1954. Before you is an American tome that will become your guide to business, sport and social conduct. It’s Esquire Etiquette (cover detail above), published by Esquire Magazine. There are many gems of advice in its 350 plus pages, so let’s go digging and see what we turn up.

Page 185 in the Social Ettiquette section and has much to to tell us about our hands (all italics are theirs).

Shake hands
for all introductions and all goodbyes to men – but don’t even offer your hand to a woman unless she extends hers first. When she holds out her hand, you’re supposed to do the shaking: two or three short up and down movements will do it – no pump, no crush and no lingering. Try to remember that she probably has rings on her finger – even your junior bear-trap grip can turn her smile into a wince…Don’t, of course, kiss a woman’s hand unless you are a Continental…besides you might get it wrong and kiss a single-girl’s hand when the treatment is supposed to be for married women only.

Can you feel the decline slowing a little even as you read this?

Elevate the Insignificant,

Mr Trivia

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