Friday, July 22, 2011

The Coffee Incident

It's time for another great moment in 1920s etiquette, as imagined by Lillian Eichler,* who was second to none - not even Emily Post could outshine Miss Eichler here - in her creation of Embarrassing Moments. This one is from a 1921 ad for Eichler's Encyclopedia of Etiquette and is entitled "Has This Ever Happened To You?"

As you can see, Mr. Whipple - in his pre-Charmin days as a Jazz Age socialite (you didn't know that, I'll bet) has just spilled a cup of coffee all over the tablecloth. So - what should he do now? Multiple choice time! Please circle the correct answer and turn your quiz in to Miss Eichler in ten minutes:

a. Turn to the hostess and say "I beg pardon."
b. Offer his apologies to the entire company.
c. Ignore the incident completely.

I think that we will all pass the quiz if we go with a, but aren't b and c fun to imagine? Mr. Whipple getting up, making an impassioned speech to everyone, begging them to forgive him (and to stop squeezing their table napkins and hand them over right now so the hostess can start mopping up the river of espresso that is nearing her fringed flapper dress at an alarming speed). Or even better, him continuing to chatter excitedly about paper products because he thinks that that way, no one will notice that the caffeinated version of the Mississippi is roaring towards them.

*For even more Eichler posts, just try the "Mind Your Manners" tag down at the bottom of this post. I really ought to have an Eichler tag, though.


Barbara said...

Well, B is what I would do, but I'll bet that A is the answer.

The hostess is supposed to C.


Raymond Betancourt said...

Well, no wonder Mr.Whipple was so cranky in those commercials...he was still hung over from all those years of drinking bathtub gin!

Lidian said...

Barbara - But of course it is hard for the hostess to C when she has coffee all over her!

Raymond - Yes, now we know...

vanilla said...

New header!

Well, yes. Is there anyone to whom it has not happened?

Eric said...

I've long suspected that Mr. Whipple was related to Mr. Wilson from 'Denis the Menace'.

I'll imagine it's a real cranky-fest at the Wilson-Whipple reunion.

Kath Lockett said...

I'm sure he spilt the coffee due to having the tremors from all that gin the night before.....