Where did good manners and chivalry start and where is it today?
In the Victorian era, gentlemen tipped their hats to show a sign of respect, and ladies waved fans to display refinement. In those days, it was the fashion to have fancy calling cards. If you dropped by someone’s house, you left your card on a tray by the door to show that you had come in person. And you would use your calling card for different occasions. For an event, you would fold the card’s top right corner to acknowledge your response. Folding your card on top of the left corner meant congratulations. Folding on the bottom left meant condolences.
The Victorians knew good manners were a sign of strengthen and proper upbringing. Courtesy and kindness often go a long way with self-discipline, holding your tongue and delaying your own gratification in order to meet another person’s needs.
Today, etiquette experts advise paying attention to the little things for your guests to feel more comfortable, learning to be patient and not turning your back on someone in a room. The art of good manners as for men would be opening a door for a lady, stepping aside as she enters a building or helping her out of the car. The code of manners serves as a mutual agreement for how to treat people with consideration and respect, put others at ease and avoiding offensive and disparaging remarks.
The customs of the Victorians sound charming but could also be exhausting to one if they had not been exposed to manners early in their life. They might seem calculating and feel like entrapments today. Who would want to return to an era where the lady of the house spent her days in her parlor or under a parasol? Are you kidding? Wearing gloves all the time would make it difficult to text or cross-train, but then an evening out on the town adds a touch of glamour and intrigue to the occasion.
However, not all of the era’s many rules focused on appearance and ritual.
In our age of admiration for those who are loud, proud and bullheaded, niceness can be equated with weakness. Instead, it might serve all of us to focus and revive the notion of social grace as a virtue. The road of self-interest usually ends in isolation. When we greet the world with kindness and expect the same in return, we know we’re not alone.
Most of us don’t have time to host an afternoon tea at home and our friends would probably be too busy to attend anyway. That shouldn’t keep us from bringing more civility to our 21st-century lives. Beginning to take more interest in each other’s conversation, honor another’s opinions, or let someone else be the first in line are just a few places to start. However troubled our modern times, we can make an effort to focus outside ourselves and instead on the people around us.
Do you engage in good manners? Would you only marry someone with good manners? Please let us know and why!
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