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Wednesday, October 5, 2022

A man’s guide to proper etiquette

Barry Evans
Barry Evans

The other evening, I was sitting at a table where everyone had a name badge on. As I looked around it was startling obvious that I was the only one who was wearing his badge correctly. That is, I had mine on the right side of my shirt and all the others had theirs on the left. In the old days it would have been easy to pull out my pocket book of Eddie Post’s famous etiquette directives.  His book was, of course, much smaller than his sister Emily’s.  The latter was so huge that unless you happened to be eating in a library, there was no chance to check it out. We had one of hers for a goodly number of years.  We had to put it on the bottom book case shelf as it might have broken through from a higher shelf. I mean Emily had rules for everything.

Her directives were so extensive that she even made them for men. That is one reason we no longer have the book as men would not abide by so many rules anymore – not that they did that much anyhow – unless the wife gave the “look”!  For example, if men were eating dinner at the level of Olive Garden or better, then Emily said that they should have a gold button sport coat and tie. The coat should also have a white laced handkerchief in the breast pocket. Now how many men have a white lace handkerchief anymore – or at least admit it?  Most don’t have any ties or a sport jacket either. There are copious examples why nobody quotes poor Emily anymore.  Most young folks have never even heard of her. If they had to hazard a guess, they would most likely speculate that she was the spouse of an ex-baseball player.

We have a granddaughter who is going to be married in November with a black-tie ceremony involved.  She has invited a goodly number of people to attend. Many of them are men – most of whom have never heard of Emily Post.

I have, as I have admitted that we had her book on our shelves for many years.

That does not mean I ever looked at it.  Luckily, The Blonde in the House did.  She is coaching me.  For example, it seems the black tie has to be a bow tie.  A long tie would not work.  See what I mean about rules!  It gets worse, as I found on the bottom of my sock drawer a black bow tie that I had for years.  It had photos of Ronald Regan on each side.  Really neat, but unfortunately, I can’t wear it. It seems that our granddaughter wants us to walk down the aisle with the rest of the wedding party – and all her rules must be obeyed! These rules carry much more weight than Emily’s ever did.

In the first paragraph, I mentioned Eddie Post’s Etiquette Book.  Actually, the book was entitled “Look Guys, this is All you really Need to Do.” It was a very easy read and simple in content.  For example, he noted that it was not polite to yank a handkerchief out of a pocket and blow your nose in a noisy fashion while eating. The proper action was to say, “Please excuse me,” before blowing your nose. Good manners were simple under his rules and understood by most men.  An example of another clear concise rule applied to the matter of badges that I mentioned above.  A name badge should always be worn on the right side.  The reason for this as when you shake hands, which most people do with their right hand, then your right side goes forward making it easier to read the name on the badge.  This is especially helpful for nearsighted folks which again shows why Eddie’s book was the superior etiquette book.

I might mention that I know how to get a copy of Eddie’s book if anyone has a real need for one.  I have another copy already packaged up for our granddaughter’s husband to be! It will be a gift that he will long remember!

Barry Evans is a columnist for Villages-News.com.

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