By Miss Arabella Andrews from Meg London’s Sweet Nothings Lingerie SeriesMurder Unmentionable coming September from Berkley Prime Crime
It’s quite obvious that many people today don’t believe that manners are important. It used to be that bad manners consisted of not holding the door for the person behind you or not rising to your feet when a woman entered the room. Now you have people texting over dinner—with a companion, ignoring an elderly person or pregnant woman standing on the train or bus and having loud conversations on their cell phone in public places.
Manners help to smooth the way. A woman can certainly open her own door, but how nice to have a man do it for her. And doesn’t it make you feel more comfortable to know which fork to use and that your napkin belongs in your lap and not tucked into your shirt? My mother, a true Southern gentlewoman, also taught us that when offered a tray of canapés or petits fours you should take the one nearest you and not reach all the way across the platter.
Of course no one puts out fish knives anymore, and women aren’t expected to retreat from the dinner table so men can enjoy their cigars and after dinner drinks. But certain small courtesies still do count. What do you think?