Lesson One: What is Best Society, and are you a member
Our Dear Mr. and Mrs. So and So,
Today’s lesson has to do with identifying you as a Member of “Best Society,” or more likely, of some other rank. Indeed, if you are reading this article on your phone of other devices, you have chosen to engage with the “preposterous social functions of screen drama,” and thereby will struggle to make the cut (at least this was a limiting factor in 1922, at the time of first publication of Mrs. Post’s famous book on etiquette).
One might be able to overcome this engagement, if he or she can be identified as being not just well-mannered, but of good manner. Let us describe the difference according to Mrs. Post.
You see, anyone can learn manners, but one’s manner is cultivated from birth and is directly related to his or her personality and ethics. For a person of such breeding manners, rather than being a conscious set of procedures, are completely instinctual as an extension of one’s personality.
Thus, one cannot expect to buy his or her way into Best Society. Though the length, breadth and brand of the purse is of some importance (see recommendations below), of chief importance is the way one makes others of all levels of society feel in his or her presence. If you believe that you are the sort who can treat all people with dignity, then manners are only the final step in joining the rank of Best Society. Join us again next time to learn how to make polite introductions.
Most Humbly Yours,
Peter and Alexander of The House of Spalding, The Fourth Generation of Bankers and Merchants from Central Wisconsin’s Gold Coast of The Great Lakes Michigan and Winnebago the Lesser.