Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Good Manners Vs. Proper Etiquette!

There seems to be a common misconception that rich people are blessed with both good manners and proper etiquette that have propelled them to the top of high society. We put them on a pedestal, sometimes trying to emulate their behaviors, like role models in our own struggles toward financial gain and social acceptance.

However, and not to burst bubbles in any way, but nothing could be farther from the truth. Especially in this current climate of the new rich popping up by the thousands all over the globe, most of whom barely know their butts from a hole in the ground! And having politely said that, before going further it's best to look at definitions:

Proper etiquette is simply a set of rules and recommendations to guide us through social situations - things like setting a proper table, sending out invitations and thank-you notes, international protocol on how to greet royalty, other dignitaries, and how to organize them in a reception line. Plus endless rules about personal comportment -  like how to walk, how to sit, how to eat, and what conversation is allowed at the dinner table. This is not innate information that any of us are born with. It's a thing that has to be learned along the way from parental guidance, from etiquette schools, or simply self-taught from observations of how others do things. What's more (and disturbingly so) is that etiquette varies from country to country all over the world. In America at least we have voluminous books to rely upon, like Emily Post and Amy Vanderbilt - who mostly base their principles on proper British etiquette.

Having good manners on the other hand is something that stems from the soul. It has to do with empathy, being aware of other people around you, being courteous and respectful, putting others before yourself - politeness based on the Golden Rule "Do Unto Others". There's a few specific guidelines we're all familiar with, like not slamming a door in someone's face, helping old ladies cross the street, or giving your seat to elders on the bus. But if you don't already have this compassionate attitude toward others in your soul, then good luck with learning it from a book.

There's an urban myth variously attributed to Queen Victoria, Queen Elizabeth and several others, wherein a guest at a formal dinner sipped water from her finger bowl. The hostess, whoever it might have been, immediately picked up and sipped from her own finger bowl so her guest wouldn't be embarrassed. The take away from this charming legend, of course, is simply that good manners should triumph over proper etiquette.

Most certainly it's nice to be possessed with both manners and proper etiquette at the same time. But having to choose, good manners are decidedly priority. The specific rules of etiquette can and will fall into place along the way, if and when needed.

For the past year I've been following The Royal Butler's blog. Grant Harrold, formerly in service to British royals and now a well know commentator and instructor, gives us points on both manners and etiquette in a most delightful and humorous sort of way. (He's also on Twitter @TheRoyalButler)  So if you need to brush up, or have recently become rich, this would be a good starting point to pull it all together.

As always, thanks for dropping in this evening. I hope your summer is going along nicely.


Thursday, June 2, 2016

Trollop Tales: Part 3

Actually, I didn't start out to write a trilogy about trollops. However some things have developed that I think you should know about. First, and to set the stage, I want to tell you something rather amusing that happened today.

When I got back from the gym in the late afternoon there was a Chevrolet parked right up close to the front door. Of course I've seen Fords and Chevy's in the employee and contractors' parking area, but never at the main entrance to the residence! Naturally my first thought was that the house was being robbed! So from the glove box I grabbed my pistol and rushed inside.

Hearing laughter from the reception hall I discovered the Trollop standing behind the bar, serving beer to two of her buddies. And when her girlfriends saw me they let out little yelps - I suppose at my appalling appearance in sweaty gym clothes, or do you think the hand gun had something to do with it? In any case I politely excused myself; "Good evening ladies," and quickly withdrew from the scene.

The fact that the Trollop feels so comfortable to come to the house when the Mister isn't here, let alone bring her friends, is something new and abysmal to me. I immediately called my spy confidant at the corporation to blow off steam. But she advised me to tread lightly (and here's the big news of the day) that the Trollop has been issued a credit card - a Visa with a $10,000 max - which is double what the last few girlfriends have been given.

While the card was issued ten days ago, my confidant also told me the only charges she's made to date are for a few items from Victoria Secret lingerie - if that paints a picture. But it's been my experience that her card will be maxed out in no time, and we can't wait to see her list of purchases.

Now the other big thing tonight, this new woman is apparently the only one the Mister is seeing these days, so at least we don't have to play musical sheets and air out the rooms in between tell-tale perfumes.

It's up to me now to readjust my attitude I guess. Ester, the upstairs maid, has already started calling her The Woman, instead of The Trollop. I've been tossing it around. The New Girlfriend is way too confusing after so many. The Latest Girlfriend could work. But I think in future I'll refer to the Trollop as the Current Girlfriend. That way none of us will be confused.

The sad news is that I doubt there's going to be any elegant high society sit-down dinners in the near future, which has always been fun around here despite the work involved. Chef is already gearing up for grilled hamburgers, Sloppy Joe's, or chili and chips. Gone are the days when we had to order caviar or lobster by overnight air!

Thanks for stopping by tonight!