Tuesday, September 8, 2009
The Strictest Set of Rules
According to Vogue's Book of Etiquette, 1948, here are the strictest rules of behavior, as to how women should conduct themselves around men. Brackets include bloggist's notes:
"1. Never dine alone with a married man, unless his wife is your great friend. [of course, if you continue to dine with him, she won't be your great friend for long]
2. Never accept an invitation through a man to the house of someone else.
3. If you have met a man and his wife together, and the man asks you to a party at his house, do not accept: his wife should invite you. If she is away, of course, there is no discourtesy implied, and if he invites you to a party, you may accept. [In other words, you can't go anywhere he invites you, unless his wife is out of town and doesn't know he's doing it.]
4. Never drink anything alcoholic, except sherry, or a glass of wine with dinner.
5. Never encourage stories that are risque.
6. Never allow a man to come into your apartment if you are alone in it, or to stay on when other guests have left.
7. Never go alone with a man to his apartment, or stay on in his apartment when other guests have gone.
8. Never go alone with a man to his hotel room, even if he has a sitting room.
9. Never acccept a valuable present from a beau or possible beau -- a very old rule and very sound.
If she follows the above rules, no young girl could conceivably be considered fast or cheap.
A more lenient set of rules:
1. Never dine repeatedly with the same married man.
2. Never drink enough alcohol to be even slightly affected by it. Even this should be limited. "She can certainly hold her liquor" is not a compliment.
3. Never allow a man to come into your apartment if you are alone in it, except in the daytime or before going out to dinner in the evening.
4. Never go to a man's apartment after the dinner hour if he is alone.
5. Never go alone with a man to his hotel room; if he has a sitting room, never go there after the dinner hour.
....and three rules are unchanged:
6. Never allow a man guest to stay on in your apartment after the other guests have gone.
7. Never stay on in a man's apartment after the other dinner guests have left.
8. Never accept a valuable present from a beau or possible beau."
I remember my mother telling me not to accept a gift from my admirer in seventh grade, in 1974, so the gift rule carried at least that far into our history. As for the rules about when to visit apartments and hotel rooms, I think that went out in large part when the bras started burning.
McCall pattern, 1948