Chapter 1: In Dress and Personal Habits

“For the apparel oft proclaims the man.”

HAMLET.

DON’T  neglect personal cleanliness – which is more neglected than is often supposed.

DON’T wear solid linen. Be scrupulously particular on this point.

DON’T be untidy in anything. Neatness is a most important attribute.

DON’T neglect the details of the toilet. Many persons, neat in other respects, have dirty finger-nails and ears.

DON’T clean your ears, or your nose, or trim and clean your finger-nails, in public. Cleanliness and neatness in all things pertaining to the person are essential, but toilet offices are proper only in the privacy of bedroom or bathroom.

DON’T wear clothing of vivid coloring or too pronounced a pattern. Select quiet hues and unobtrusive designs, and adopt no style of cutting that over-exaggerates the figure.

DON’T wear your hat cocked over your eye, or thrust back upon the head. The one is rowdyish, the other rustic.

DON’T go about with dirty footwear.

DON’T wear jewelry that is solely ornamental. One may wear shirt-studs and a tie-pin because these articles are useful; but the plainer they are the better.

DON’T wear dressing-gown and slippers anywhere out of your bedroom except when visiting the bathroom. To appear at the table or in any company in this garb is the very soul of vulgarity.

DON’T sit, stand or walk with your hands in your pockets. Don’t thrust your thumbs into the arm-holes of your waistcoat.

DON’T whistle in the street, in public vehicles, at public assemblies, or anywhere where it may annoy others.

DON’T laugh boisterously. Laugh heartily when the occasions calls for it, but the loud guffaw is not necessary to heartiness.

DON’T have the habit of smiling or “grinning” at nothing. Smile or laugh when there is occasion to do either, but at other times keep your mouth shut and your manner composed. People who laugh at everything are commonly capable of nothing. (A poet condemns “the loud laugh that speaks the vacant mind.”)

DON’T yawn, or hiccup, or sneeze in company. When there is an inclination to hiccup or sneeze, hold your breath for a moment and resist the desire, and you will find that it will often pass off.

DON’T blow your nose loudly. Make as little noise as possible in the act.

DON’T get into the habit of letting your lip drop and your mouth remain open. “Shut your mouth!” is the advice of a savant, who has written a book on the subject. Breathe through your nose and not through your mouth; sleep with your mouth closed; keep it closed except when you open it for a purpose. An open mouth indicates feebleness of character.

DON’T keep carrying your hands to your face, stroking your mustache, smoothing your hair, or scratching yourself. Keep your hands quiet and under control.

DON’T be over-familiar. Don’t slap your friends on the back, nudge them in the side or give other physical manifestation of your pleasure. Don’t indulge in these familiarities, or submit to them from others.

DON’T dash, without notice, into another’s private apartment. Always knock at the door and wait for an answer before entering. Always respect the privacy of your friends, however intimate you may be with them.

DON’T overlook over a person’s shoulder when he or she is reading or writing.

DON’T twirl a chain or other object, or rattle the money in your pocket, while talking or listening to anyone. This trick is very annoying and very common.

DON’T beat a tattoo with your foot in company or anywhere, to the annoyance of others. Don’t drum with your fingers on chair, table, or window-pane. Don’t hum a tune. Don’t slam doors, and don’t omit to shut the door on entering or leaving a room.

DON’T drink wine or spirits in the morning – in fact, don’t drink at all except at meal times.

DON’T be afraid to say “No” when invited to take a glass. No person whose friendship is worth having will be offended at the refusal.

2 thoughts on “Chapter 1: In Dress and Personal Habits

  1. Ina R.

    I must say this guidelines are pretty strict and I totally don’t get this one (DON’T overlook over a person’s shoulder when he or she is reading or writing).

    Whereas some do pertain to good manners and etiquette, others are simply an offence to mankind’s freedom of expressions. E.g. (DON’T wear clothing of vivid coloring or too pronounced a pattern, DON’T wear jewelry that is solely ornamental, Don’t slap your friends on the back, nudge them in the side or give other physical manifestation of your pleasure, etc).

    I think human relationships are too intricate to have guidelines and fashion are statements are supposed to be BAM! Lol.

  2. willyac

    Yeah, can’t agree with you more, Ina. I myself found most of these guidelines are ridiculous that they force people to be more like robots.

    Thanks for the comment, other chapters will be added soon.

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