Tuesday, June 10, 2008

A Gentleman's Response

The etiquette books of yesteryear, but for whimsy and interest, are of scarce use to the gentleman of today.

The modern gent, for one, seems unlikely to be at table having to choose from variously sized forks for the salad course. Should he be, as best man, called upon to make a toast, inasmuch a he is relatively sober or only mildly offensive, he will have risen above the common standard.

He has little use for a dinner suit, will never tie a bow tie, and if he rises when a lady does, she is likely to misunderstand and may try to race him to the toilet.

So much for standards.

But though standards fall, decorous conduct will always serve a man. Thus, I propose to provide practical instruction in the graceful handling of the predicaments of modern life.

Posts on such will follow. Reader inquiries are most welcome either by comments left or messages to jdcarriere@gmail.com


N. Wansbutter said...

Which begs the question, why should we abandon such decorum in dress as well as comportment just because the barbarians around us have? Why should we lower our standards just because those around us have?

Anonymous said...

EX-actly. I raised my children to understand that "average" was just a nice way of saying "mediocre" and urged them never to settle for keeping to the standards of others when they knew better. It's time (past time) to teach the better.

J D Carriere said...

Yes, well, you're both wrong. I will answer better in a post.

Wansbutter, "to beg the question" does not mean "to make somebody want to ask the question". It's a logical fallacy. Just look it up.

In this, beg does not mean quite beg just as in legal matters to "plead" guilty does not mean to say "oh please oh please I'm guilty oh please".

Seriously, look it up. You'll enjoy knowing another thing that most people get wrong.

J D Carriere said...

So, I was going to post my response as a post rather than a comment, but it wasn't worth it and it wasn't funny, so I'll say what I have to say here.

Of course a man must maintain a standard. That was the point of the post in the first place.

But some standards derive from truths, like holding doors for women and showing deference to elders. These are timeless and to be maintained.

A degree of formality, too, is useful and should be held to.

Others, like how to fold napkins or which spoon to use at a simple tea rather than a formal one, are of no purpose now that they have fallen from usage.

In fact, the only remaining uses for these conventions that I can think of is to make oneself feel big or to make others feel small.

This attacks the heart of etiquette which has as it's primary purpose the comfort of all parties in any situation.

Thus, should you find yourself at some event where the other guests are burping and farting loudly, with gusto and abandon, you do better to join in than to sit there aloof and disproving.

It is not good etiquette but rather quite rude to stick to standards with no practical accomplishment but to make others uncomfortable or confused.

N. Wansbutter said...

Sir, my rebuttal is posted here: