15 July 2010

Miss Manners Disapproves of This Post

I do not like these socks.
The yarn is Elann Harlequin. It is cheap, rough and full of sadness.
Alternately, these may be incredibly durable, hard-wearing and economical... yuck.

Many people think etiquette is a bunch of stuffy rules for rich people who have nothing better to do than show off what fancy manners they have and lord them over the ill-informed masses. No. Etiquette is there to help you navigate social situations so that you (a) at best, avoid inadvertently hurting other people's feelings, or (b) at worst, don't leave people thinking you're a horrible, callous, insensitive and/or boorish person. I screw it up a lot... but I do try to get it right, and the intention must count for something.

I feel like I've been immersed in etiquette esoterica lately, with massive party-planning underway. It's wrapped up in every detail from how to address the envelopes to who sits where to who wears what. This little-used knowledge is far beyond my basic childhood primer, which consisted of:
  • how to talk to old people
  • how to introduce two people who don't know each other
and, the all-time favorite
  • how to eat without being a disgusting pig with whom no-one wants to dine -- because if you are, you will eat alone for the rest of your life and won't have any friends and because you have no friends won't be invited to any parties and because you're not invited to any parties you won't have any pretty dresses and because you have no pretty dresses you will have to stay home in rags like a poor person's help and eat alone at your piggy trough with your face in the slop, and you don't want that, now do you, Courtney?
Nonetheless, there are countless books and consultants available to fill the etiquette esoterica gap (cf Crane's Blue Book, Emily Post). Thanks to them, even the rudest of us can learn to not be complete assholes when it comes to dealing with other people. Even if you don't know what the exact protocol is, you probably have a vague idea that there is a protocol out there, somewhere, and someone who knows it.

Another function of etiquette -- and perhaps the favorite for detail-oriented, melancholy types -- is that a breach of it is a wonderful outlet for righteous indignation. Think about how much satisfaction it gives you, when you feel slighted, to think, "I can't believe she said/did that! She ought to know better!" Suddenly the slight doesn't sting so much, because obviously the deficiency is in the other person. It's magical.

There's a reason you don't invite people to your bridal shower if you have not invited them to your wedding -- it makes you look like a greedy, gift-grabbing hussy. It says exactly what you were thinking, namely, "I want to include her but I don't want to invite her to my wedding." The non-invitee's feelings will be hurt, and she will think you're an inconsiderate, greedy, gift-grabbing hussy.

Which you are.

Which Emily Post is too polite to tell you.

Anyway, here's some knitting:

Summit in Lisa Souza Raw Silk.

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