Happy Valentine’s Day from the editors of Obsolessons! We’re working on getting some new content up soon, but in the meantime, here’s a little manual called The Art of Kissing to tide you over!
MEN. If a man is passed on the street without any recognition by an acquaintance, he should hesitate before accepting it as a direct cut, as it may have been an oversight. If it is repeated, he will know its full meaning. To pass a person whom one knows and to look straight at him without recognition is the rudest way of dropping an acquaintance.
Street-cars and Other Conveyances.
MEN. The old custom of a man giving up his seat in a street-car to a woman is being gradually done away with. This is due largely to the fact that women are now so extensively engaged in commercial business that they are constant riders at the busy hours, and thus come into direct competition with men. A well-bred man, however, will show his manliness by giving any woman his seat and standing himself, as she is less fitted for such hardships and annoyances. A man should always give his seat to an elderly woman, one accompanied with children, or one apparently weak and sickly. In giving his seat to a woman, a man should politely bow and raise his hat.
WOMEN. A woman should not look with a pained and injured air at the men passengers because no one of them has offered her a seat. The great influx of women into the commercial world, and their being thrown into direct competition with men, has largely done away with the fine old custom of men giving up their seats to women. The impoliteness of many women in accepting a seat as a matter of right and not of courtesy, and perhaps without a “Thank you,” has helped largely to bring about the present state of affairs. No woman of ordinary good manners should fail to express her thanks for the courtesy proffered. If a woman is offered a seat she should accept it at once—without urging.
SMOKING. At a dinner when the women rise, the men also rise and remain standing until the former leave the room, when cigars and coffee are served. Sometimes the men accompany the women to the drawing-room, bow, and then return to the dining-room for the coffee and cigars, where they remain about half an hour. Smoking in restaurants is a general custom, but the rules of the house govern it.
Theatres provide rooms for it, hence it should be limited to them. There should be no smoking at afternoon entertainments, unless the men are requested to do so by the host and hostess. At balls a room for smoking is generally provided. Smoking is not in good taste if a man is going to dance, as the odor of tobacco clings to the clothing. There should be no smoking in the dressing-rooms. Smoking a pipe in the street is becoming more common. It is poor taste, however, on a fashionable street. At best, any smoking in the street is bad form. Expedorating on the pavement is a most reprehensible habit. If it must be done, a man should step to the curb and expectorate in the street.
DANCES. Smoking should not be allowed in the dressing-room, but a special room should be provided. Men who dance should not smoke until leaving the house.
IN PRESENCE OF WOMEN. Smoking in the street while walking with a woman should never be indulged in, although she seemingly is agreeable to it. If a man is smoking, and he stops to speak to a woman, he should throw away his cigar or cigarette. A man should not smoke in the presence of women unless bidden by them to do so. Few women care to say that it is disagreeable when asked, hence the better course is to await permission.
WOMEN. If a woman has true regard for herself, she should not indulge in smoking; if she does, it should be in absolute privacy.
Jr. When the son is named after the father, he adds Jr. to his name. Upon the death of the father he omits it. This abbreviation is sometimes added to a woman’s name on her card when her husband has the same name as his father, and it is necessary to distinguish between the cards of the daughter-in-law and the mother·in-law. If the mother-in-law should become a widow and wish to retain the husband’s baptismal name, she should add Sr., while her daughter would erase Jr. If both become widows, and wish to retain their husband’s Christian names, the daughter-in-law should add Jr.
MEN-SHAKING HANDS. At weddings, operas, or dances, and on all very formal occasions, men wear gloves. In shaking hands with women on these occasions gloves should not be removed. If a hostess wears gloves at any formal affair, a man wears his when he shakes hands with her. A man with hands gloved should never shake hands with a woman without an apology for so doing, unless she likewise wears gloves. A sudden meeting, etc., may make a handshaking in gloves unavoidable. Unless the other party is also gloved, a man should say: “Please excuse my glove.”
WOMEN. Gloves should always be worn on the street. At dinners, or formal teas, women should remove their gloves at the table and place them in their laps. At dinners and formal teas, when the women have retired to the drawing-room, they may resume their gloves or not, or follow the example of the hostess. At informal teas or “At Homes” the hostess need not wear gloves.