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Thread: Ownage: The Olde Fashioned Way, and etiquette.

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    Prophet of Telara Friar Tuck's Avatar
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    Default Ownage: The Olde Fashioned Way, and etiquette.

    I was amused to read the following - now gone viral, future stepmum-in-law bluntly tells bogan/chav daughter-in-law where to get off.

    I particularly liked: 'No one gets married in a castle unless they own it.' Zing!

    But it did make me wonder what the American goddess, Judith Martin aka Miss Manners, would make of it. The purpose of etiquette is not to exclude or rank or to be a means of disapprobation - but rather to facilitate the comfort of all people in all circumstances, even those they've never found themselves in before. (This ties in with the essence of being a lady or gentleman, which is concern for the ease and comfort of others).

    The rules of etiquette are fantastic if you are someone that does not pick up social cues very well, because there is a formula for behaviour in pretty much all circumstances - no one need feel embarrassed or socially exposed or find themselves being inadvertantly insensitive to others.

    But back to Ms Bourne. WWMMD? (What Would Miss Manners Do?)

    All we have is this one communication, so it's difficult to know exactly what brought the situation to this point. I think Miss Manners would most definitely address the behaviour, I'd expect something kind but firm, subtle yet ensuring the point is made. I think Ms Bourne may have allowed the offence she experienced to overcome what may have been a useful instructional moment. But if Ms Withers was indeed an etiquette savvy lady, she would have overlooked Ms Bourne's breach and just... sucked it up.

    True etiquette creates stable equilibrium.

    In former times, there was a rule for when someone went beyond the pale, known as the social cut. What we, in MMOs call 'putting 'em on teh ignore list'. But I don't think Ms Bourne was going for that. You'll note that even the social cut is designed not to create a fuss, but to avoid one.
    My shiny carapace is cracked. I should have never left the sea. – Krugon.

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    Sword of Telara Palvy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Friar Tuck View Post
    I was amused to read the following - now gone viral, future stepmum-in-law bluntly tells bogan/chav daughter-in-law where to get off.

    I particularly liked: 'No one gets married in a castle unless they own it.' Zing!

    But it did make me wonder what the American goddess, Judith Martin aka Miss Manners, would make of it. The purpose of etiquette is not to exclude or rank or to be a means of disapprobation - but rather to facilitate the comfort of all people in all circumstances, even those they've never found themselves in before. (This ties in with the essence of being a lady or gentleman, which is concern for the ease and comfort of others).

    The rules of etiquette are fantastic if you are someone that does not pick up social cues very well, because there is a formula for behaviour in pretty much all circumstances - no one need feel embarrassed or socially exposed or find themselves being inadvertantly insensitive to others.

    But back to Ms Bourne. WWMMD? (What Would Miss Manners Do?)

    All we have is this one communication, so it's difficult to know exactly what brought the situation to this point. I think Miss Manners would most definitely address the behaviour, I'd expect something kind but firm, subtle yet ensuring the point is made. I think Ms Bourne may have allowed the offence she experienced to overcome what may have been a useful instructional moment. But if Ms Withers was indeed an etiquette savvy lady, she would have overlooked Ms Bourne's breach and just... sucked it up.

    True etiquette creates stable equilibrium.

    In former times, there was a rule for when someone went beyond the pale, known as the social cut. What we, in MMOs call 'putting 'em on teh ignore list'. But I don't think Ms Bourne was going for that. You'll note that even the social cut is designed not to create a fuss, but to avoid one.
    Well--on the surface, it appears that fiancée should be embarrassed. But we don't really know what happened there. If I go to someone's house, I won't make a big fuss saying that I don't like strawberries when they serve a gooey strawberry cake; I'll just say, "I don't care for any, but thanks" or something to that effect. But perhaps the future mother-in-law felt put out that she went to a great deal of effort to make a really gooey strawberry cake and was hurt that the fiancée didn't want it. I don't think a person is obligated to eat food that they don't care for, just because it's there. Also, a good host will ask ahead of time if the meal they plan to prepare is acceptable. (I have allergies; people make a list of what not to prepare!)

    Although we don't know the back story, I will say one thing. It was definitely uncouth on the part of the fiancée to send the email to friends. Trying to open a dialogue with future mom-in-law would have been preferable. Misunderstandings happen; it's best to try to sort them out.

    BTW, I'm going to guess from your particular misspelling of "stepmum" that you aren't American. It's interesting to me that you know of Miss Manners. Does she have a following in your country?

  3. #3
    Prophet of Telara Friar Tuck's Avatar
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    I'm in Australia, I don't think Miss Manners has a big following here. But her loyal devotees are spread throughout the world.

    I was sold in my formative years (approx 20 yrs ago) when I came across a very thick pinkish covered book (I believe) called 'Miss Manners Guide to Polite Society'. (I couldn't find anything like that on the web, so praps was published here under a different title to elsewhere) It was chock full of amazing, sensible and esoteric advice. Something for everyone. No topic was too daunting for Miss Manners!

    Such as... the polite way to have a one night stand. Or what to do when a guest at your soiree 'falls out' of her low cut dress (while leaning across the table) into the guacamole dip. I do remember this advice quite clearly Miss Manners recommended not to try and suppress your laughter... because, it would be impossible and also very stilted. But, the hostess should quickly usher the hapless lady upstairs and assist her to change and when she returned back downstairs everyone (who laughed) should take it in turns going up to the lady and sharing their own similarly embarrassing situations.


    There was also a very arcane section on calling cards (in former times when visiting one would leave one's card and could convey different msgs depending on which corner of the card was folded). iirc, she joked one could make compound messages 'Congratulations on your bereavement'.

    Imagine if Miss Manners was President!
    My shiny carapace is cracked. I should have never left the sea. – Krugon.

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