Wednesday, August 20, 2008

A Nine letter word

I have come to loath this word. Hearing it mentioned makes me taste ash in my mouth and cause little beads of sweat to form on my brow.

It's been known to throw grown women into hysterics and create tons of money for old ladies who have nothing better to do (It even has more power than "tacky").

I speak, of course, of etiquette.

It's sad but before this whole wedding thing I used to think it was spelled ettiquete or possibly etiqueete, or more likely bullshit. Now I know not only how to spell it but also how to invoke it.

If someone thinks that you have to invite your aunt Mildred and her three kids to not only the wedding and reception but also the rehearsal dinner and to a brunch after she'll just pull out the ol' trusty Emily Post and beat you over the head with it.

Go ahead and try it sometime. Just go up to someone and get them to do the dumbest thing imaginable, "Of course you are going to put enough candles all over the place to create a fire hazard," and as they're staring at you as though you've just grown a third head just say "it's etiquette."

I've already run into my fair share of people bounding about the word, but what kills me the most is that there are no set rules. Ann Flanders didn't climb up Mount Good Manners and get handed stone tables saying "Ye shall honor thy guests with an expensive favor." No, instead people just sort of make it up as they go along.

You wouldn't believe the differences between big city and small town etiquette. For small towns (especially poor farmers) listing on your invitation where you are registered is just common sense, and no one has to RSVP as you can just walk down to the grocery store the day before and ask Mabel who all said they'd show up.

I'm sure many of you have heard a much different tune from your various mothers, grandmothers, and busy body neighbors.

How is it that etiquette has gotten such power over the years? Honestly, I think that invoking it will cause more tears than accusing someone of committing a sin (stealing all your wedding plans is about the same, however).

I'm sorry but just like tacky that word is going into my no fly zone. I can't please everyone all the time and rather than fretting that someone is going to be put off by the fact that the chairs aren't all covered in a fancy damask I'm instead just going to focus on having a good time.

1 comment:

Guilty Secret said...


It's funny, being from the UK I see how silly it all is because things that are apparently the right etiquette in one place are completely wrong in the other, e.g. apparently in US it's bad to have a cash bar, but here it's that way 95% of the time.