Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Hello, I Must Be Going

Goodbye! More Eichler Etiquette Pop Sci Jan 1924
More from Book of Etiquette ad (Popular Science, Jan 1924)
Maybe it would have been better to just keep walking, even if he was walking in totally the wrong way (between two ladies, ZOMG NO). Because oh dear the embarrassment. The horror. The confusion!

And he isn't the only one who's confused. I must go check what Lillian Eichler, the Emily Post of the Jazz Age (and author of the one and only Book of Etiquette) has to say about this appalling situation...

There are two issues here. One is Stopping For A Chat. The other is Raising the Hat. I think that's it. That's enough, probably.

Stopping For A Chat: Miss Eichler says that this is "entirely permissible, if certain rules of good conduct are observed." She says that on a country road you can "call a jolly 'Hello!'" from a distance, but not so much in the city. In the city, you need to put a lid on that kind of thing. But don't whisper either. And don't show off just because strangers are listening!

Raising the Hat: Basically, when you meet a lady you should lift your hat (don't just touch it, that is rude) and then put it back on until you say goodbye. Then you lift it again. Don't take your hat off and leave it off, though, unless it is warm out -  because that "is dangerous to the health."

I still can't see what terrible mistake this poor guy is making. Actually, it looks like those women are the ones being rude - they're totally ignoring him. I read the whole chapter entitled On the Street and the only thing I can think of is that the ladies aren't done talking and he is totally bored and trying to get away. Magical thinking: if I say bye bye and very politely lift my hat, maybe they will shut up. Miss Eichler doesn't mention this scenario, though.

Dear readers, I said politely (neither shouting a jolly HELLO nor whispering) - can you solve this etiquette mystery?

Title from the etiquette solution given in song form by Groucho Marx (who really ought to have written an alternative etiquette book, don't you think?) from the 1930 movie Animal Crackers:

8 comments:

Art of RetroCollage said...

Are these issues online? I so enjoy old ads. These are really a hoot.

Con Artist Trickster said...

This is what I call sticky situation, will you stick around not? You don't wanna to stay, yet it's kinda tricky to make a leave.

DrJulieAnn said...

I can't figure out what he is doing wrong, either. It is a mystery.

Tori Lennox said...

I have an urge to dig out my 1960 edition of Emily Post's Etiquette and read it. :)

Eric said...

Well I would reckon he was being rude by not saying instead 'good to have met you *both*'.

But, what do I know? I'm from Texas raised near a barn.

Eric said...

But, the one on the left is clearly more attractive, so I think he is indeed confused.

Lidian said...

Art of Retro Collage - Yes, they are at Google Books, which is such a terrific resource. You'll love it there!

Con Artist Trickster - It absolutely is.

DrJulieAnn - I know. And I was SO sure I'd understand after reading the book!

Tori - Yes, maybe she can enlighten us!

Eric - Oh, being raised in Texas near a barn is perfectly fine - I was raised right in the middle of a place known for its supposed bad manners (ciao, Manhattan!)...We're all confused, I think. I'll bet even Lillian was confused. Maybe this is a trick question...

Nancy Yos said...

All I can suggest is that he is leaving too precipitously -- a gentleman raises his hat when a lady leaves him, not when he is bugging out himself. Also he is giving the ladies no chance to respond, correctly, "Thank you."