I’m not sure when exactly I got obsessed with reading etiquette guides. I think it was during my semester off when I was reading voraciously, and found a deeply disposable British Chick Lit series about an etiquette expert who becomes a kind of sort of escort? (It was so disposable I don’t even remember what it was called. But I recall enjoying it. Also, this is why I now love Goodreads…) Around that same time I also read Tim Gunn’s Golden Rules, which is Mr. Gunn’s deeply lovely book about modern manners and behavior.
So it was somewhere in the 2009 to 2010 range.
Anyway, from there it was onto the hard stuff, like Emily Post and Miss Manners.
But for all of the stuffy rules my favorite thing about etiquette is that it boils down in most cases to “Don’t make the people around you uncomfortable, you asshole!”
As someone who doesn’t always pick up on social cues super quickly, and was raised by wolves (By this I mean I am an introvert who was raised by extroverts, not that my parents are animals) I find the shortcuts of knowing the basic proper etiquette helpful, and I think that this obsession has made me much better at being a friend, daughter, employee and certainly, guest and hostess. My current supervisor says that she was floored when they received a written thank you note from me the day after my interview. Also, the night I met Dom, at a birthday party at his house, he was surprised and impressed that I brought 3 bottles of Champagne, 1 as Juli’s birthday gift, 1 to thank him for hosting and 1 to drink at said party. (I would now never bring Dom champagne as a thank you, I’d bring him craft beer. But I didn’t know him yet and champagne is a very safe bet, most people like it.) And if I have even 2 hours warning that you’re coming to my house, you can be sure that there will be a cheese plate out and your preferred alcohol choice available. Less time, I’ll order either pizza or Chinese app basics, and you’ll have to make due with red wine, champagne, vodka or Miller Lite, because that’s what I keep in my house.
Anyway, something’s brought the obsession out again. It was a little bit the Royal Wedding, and a big bit, me listening to the podcast Shmanners, which details the history of various etiquette traditions, and how they can be applied in modern life.
I’ve also purchased the book, How Not To Be A Dick, which I am enjoying greatly. Overall, I think it’s an important part of society that most people overlook, but knowing the right thing to do, in different situations is incredibly freeing.
Does anyone have any specific etiquette or social guides that they love? I love checking out new ones!