Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Mysterious Wedding Blunder

Mysterious Wedding Blunder Eichler ad Pop Sci May 1921
Detail from ad, May 1921
More fun with 1920s etiquette - the mystery deepens here in this 1921 advertisement for Lillian Eichler's Encyclopedia of Etiquette. We've been here before with ads for her mere Book of Etiquette - ads packed with strange anecdotes and illustrated with uneasy Jazz Age socialites. Well, today we're going to Bob and Muriel's wedding. We got there late, and we missed the wedding. But that's not why Muriel is crying.

Muriel, darling, what's wrong? This is supposed to be the happiest day of your life, et cetera!

Well, says Muriel in the ad, she planned for this for two whole months. She arranged for the flowers, the music, the "shimmering" wedding dress. She sent cards. She did it all.
 
Oh, if only I could have known then the dark cloud that overshadowed my happiness!

Oh no! What is it? It's Bob's striped trousers, isn't it? They are a little bit too short and tight. Or are you showing too much ankle? But you're a modern gal, a flapper (I mean that in the most polite sort of way) - I don't think anyone is going to mind that.

Then Muriel talks about the church - it looked swell! And the music was divine and maybe, oh maybe the whole scene "overwhelmed" her. Hey, I understand. Stress can make you do some pretty funny things. Did you stumble when you went down the aisle? Did you belch? Wait, maybe it's because Bob is supposed to be waiting for you up at the altar. But - that's not your fault. Someone should have told Bob! I just can't figure out what Muriel's blunder was.

OK, etiquette sleuths, we need your help! This is all that Muriel says:

...before I realized what I was doing, I had made an awful blunder. I had made a mistake right at the beginning of the wedding march, despite the weeks of preparation and the days of strict rehearsal!

Someone giggled. I noticed that the clergyman raised his brows ever so slightly....A hot blush of humiliation surged over me - and with crimson face and trembling lip I began the whole march over again.

You poor kid. How about that giggler, and the brow-lifting clergyman - speaking of rude. I mean, it's not like you started doing the Charleston or the can-can down the aisle - right? Actually, that sounds like a lot of fun. Please tell us that you did the can-can all the way to the altar! I think we could even get Miss Eichler to co-sign that one. We'll just give her a little extra champagne at the reception.

You can see the whole ad over here. It is delightful, especially the part where Muriel and Bob read the Encyclopedia of Etiquette after the wedding and discover all the blunders they've been making. Muriel still doesn't tell us what she did to ruin the wedding, though. And Bob delivers my favorite line in this melodrama:

"Why, dear, I never knew how to dispose of my dancing partner and return to you without appearing rude!"*

A match made in etiquette heaven.

*It is polite to dispose of dance partners at the side of the ballroom, so no one will trip over them, Bob. Not in the middle of the dance floor. Now you know.

18 comments:

Stephanie Barr said...

If he didn't know how to dispose of his dancing partner and return to Muriel, how did he ever get away long enough to propose?

This is hilarious!

Barbara said...

What the hell did she do????

I can only imagine she must have farted, hence the giggling. Or something even more important, like starting with the left foot and not the right.

How horrible!

Barbara said...

And OMG, you can still buy this book, published in 1921!!
http://www.amazon.com/Encyclopaedia-Etiquette-Book-Manners-Everyday/dp/159605557X

Heather Rojo said...

Yes, please, do tell! The link wasn't working and I'm dying to find out her horrific gaff!

paula said...

I guess she shouldn't have taken her (future, at the point) husband's arm? She has touched him before they were married, oh the SHAME!

Stephanie Barr said...

I think Paula has it. I bet she was supposed to take her father's arm so he could give her away, not her not-yet-husband's arm.

Bill said...

Muriel seems like the nervous sort, and I'll wager she's sharing a room with Virginia Cunningham before the first wedding anniversary is celebrated.

Oh, and a chloroform-soaked rag works like a charm when it comes to disposing of dance partners.

Cari Hislop said...

Muriel's wedding wasn't as bad as mine! My groom didn't have a car so he was picked up by a friend and then they picked me up...the friend was late so we were all late. We entered the chapel and this old hag I'd never met rushed up to us and snarled, "You're late! The Bishop has to get to work." Bride and groom ran up the aisle together and then the bishop (we were his first marriage ceremony ever) tried to marry my groom to my future mother in law. It could have been worse. At least we only got caught in the four hour traffic jam on the way home and weren't one of the fatalities. Dying before you can send out thank you cards...now that would be rude!

Kath Lockett said...

Is Muriel's father holding her hand or about to *punch* her for the appalling lapse in etiquette??

Art of RetroCollage said...

As Carrie Bradshaw said to Charlotte when her wedding started to fall apart, "The worse the wedding, the better the marriage."

amlia said...
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faucets said...
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Marcheline said...

I'm voting for "she started off with the wrong foot". That's the only thing that could really be corrected by "starting the march over", eh?

And dude.... the groom's pants... seriously? And how does he walk on those teensy tinsy feet? Yikes!

Mags said...

It's touching the hubby!

Or having a veil that covers your entire outfit but NOT your face...

Barbara said...

Guys, type in "Google Books", then the name of this book. It's available for FREE to read!! It's hysterical!

Relax Max said...

I think the picture is the hint. Her father has stuck out his arm for her take but she latches on to her groom (who shouldn't be walking down the aisle with her in the first place. For shame.

Veggie Mama said...

Oh my gosh, I love it. Am going for the wrong foot.

Lidian said...

Stephanie - That's what I want to know.

Barbara - So the Eichler glamor still lingers! I had no idea. I have a 1940s edition of her book, but I can't remember where I got it. She's on Internet Archive, too.

Heather - I will check the link (drat those links!), sorry about that. I'll try and find out for tomorrow - Saturday that is, am going to post again here then.

paula - Yeah, that's right! So maybe she made more than one mistake...

Bill - If only Bob had known about that.

Cari - Oh my stars, that does sound awful! My wedding day had some exciting calamity too, I was alone and washing my hair, shampoo in, ready to rinse. Then the people downstairs (we lived on the second floor of a house) turned the water off because they were going to make wine that morning (??? that's all I know, that you gotta turn the water off). Thank goodness my almost-spouse had forgotten something and came back 5 minutes later, and asked them to turn the water back on.

Kath - Maybe both.

Art of RetroCollage - Good quote! Would you believe I have never seen SITC, not once? True story.

Marcheline - Bob's pants are bothering me also.

Mags - OK, another vote for pre-ceremony husband-grabbing. Duly noted for next post!

Barbara - Yup, it's on my eReader (really)! lol

Max - I think you and everyone else are onto something (kind of like Muriel) - I just don't even know why Bob is down there! He should be at the altar!

Veggie Mama - That could very well be. That is a terrible faux pas!