Sunday, January 30, 2011
Of Hats, Salutes and Social Status: George Washington's Rules of Civilty and Decent Behavior, Part 6
Been a while since our last Civility 101 class from old George. In this batch of rules he seems uncommonly class-conscious, always deferring to those better bred or of higher or lower station. To his credit, though, he does stand up when addressed by his inferiors (better to punch them in the nose, perhaps?). And Jeez, if I'd known wearing a hat required such etiquette, I might never have developed the habit.
26. In putting off your hat to persons of distinction, as noblemen, justices, churchmen, etc., make a reverence, bowing more or less according to the custom of the better bred, and quality of the persons. Among your equals expect not always that they should begin with you first, but to pull off the hat when there is no need is affectation. In the manner of saluting and resaluting in words, keep to the most usual custom.
27. 'Tis ill manners to bid one more eminent than yourself be covered, as well as not to do it to whom it is due. Likewise he that makes too much haste to put on his hat does not well, yet he ought to put it on at the first, or at most the second time of being asked. Now what is herein spoken, of qualification in behavior in saluting, ought also to be observed in taking of place and sitting down, for ceremonies without bounds are troublesome.
28. If any one comes to speak to you while you are are sitting stand up, though he be your inferior, and when you present seats, let it be to everyone according to his degree.
29. When you meet with one of greater quality than yourself, stop and retire, especially if it be at a door or any straight place, to give way for him to pass.
30. In walking, the highest place in most countries seems to be on the right hand; therefore, place yourself on the left of him whom you desire to honor. But if three walk together the middest place is the most honorable; the wall is uusally given to the most worthy if two walk together.
To bone up on the first 25 Rules (yes, there will be a test), please click on either of the labels below.