A Look Back at Manners
This page contains my commentary, followed by the College Blue Book, A Guide to Manners*, issued to students of Northwest Missouri State Teacher's College, Maryville, MO (now Northwest Missouri State University), around 1942. I am not advocating a return to the customs you will find described below. Rather, I am pointing out how far we have come since the Depression and World War II eras, culturally. Numerous customs or standards described in this Blue Book are now extinct. I know. I have lived in this part of the country all my life, and attended this university in the mid-eighties. You may say, "This was just handed down from the faculty; no one actually followed any of these customs!" However, the booklet itself says that it was prepared with the help of numerous students, and it was disseminated to the student body. When I attended approximately 42 years later, no such material in any form was to be found, nor were most of the points of form themselves.) I also wish to contend that cultural standards are a good thing.
*The booklet reproduced below was discovered in an antique shop in St. Joseph, MO in 1998. The copyright is held by Northwest Missouri State University, and is reproduced here with permission. (A very small number of typos were in the original booklet, and are reproduced verbatim below. Old fashioned proofreading beats spelling/grammar checking every time!)
We live in an age when, for many, the need for manners requires justification. Today's dominant worldview (postmodernism), preaches that there should be virtually no standards whatsoever. And while the booklet reproduced below contains a short justification for behaving politely, it was written for an audience already accustomed to such things.
At the core, manners ("polite behavior", "good form") are a kind of conformance, or consistency of behavior. Non-conformance is a form of rebellion, and is easy: Simply reject anything you see people generally agreeing on, or anything handed down from a previous generation. But, complete non-conformance is a solitary choice and an anti-social one at that.
Sometimes manners are justified by calling them the "oil that lubricates human interaction", but that isn't deep enough. People can become accustomed to very little "oil" if necessary. Polite behavior confers benefits beyond this basic service.
Having a standard of behavior means fewer surprises. One can have an idea of what to expect from others. If people know how to act, and hence what to expect, less offense may be given accidently to others. (Politeness is often defined as making others feel comfortable and hence not doing anything to offend others.)
Speaking of not giving offense, consider one particular custom from 1942: At "no date" dances, it was expected that the men would seek out and dance with the women. It was considered less than polite to leave a woman out in such circumstances. In contrast, today's informal dances leave many women out. It is easy to see that the world would be a better place if that did not happen as often.
Far from being only a way to avoid the negative, choosing to conform to a standard of manners is a boost to one's self-confidence. Forget the phony and superficial "self-esteem" to which so many aspire today. The self-confidence to be gained from proper behavior is more genuine because it is rooted in a person's performance. This will sound cold to many today, because it means that those choosing not to participate will be left out. But that is far superior to an artificial inflation of the ego.
Perhaps even more important is this: A person's willingness to conform to a social standard may be a reflection of their willingness to obey other standards, such as law. If true, then manners are a window into a person's character.
The present rate of cultural change probably spells the end of manners to the extent they once existed. Their advantages may also be lost forever.
COLLEGE BLUE BOOK
A Guide for Courteous Collegians
/ / /
/ / /
Northwest Missouri State
THIS BOOK is to answer questions concerning good form which might confront you as a student of this College. The writing of the book has been a project sponsored by the Student Senate. Approximately three hundred students have contributed directly or indirectly to its making.
Published April, 1934
Revised Edition October, 1936
Revised Edition, May, 1939
Revised Edition, November, 1942
Copyright 1935, by the
Northwest Missouri State Teachers
Upon entering college you find yourself with many new opportunities about you. Your alertness and ability to adapt yourself to new ideas will do much to assure self-realization happiness, and success.
The knowledge of correct usage provides helpful equipment for sociable living and brings an inner satisfaction that is invaluable. Conventional rules are not arbitrary or meaningless. They are the boundaries within which human behavior at its best is confined. They have evolved over a period of hundreds of years and they change as civilization advances. We find that manners today are somewhat streamlined as are many other things but this does not mean that they can be dispensed with. In the complexity of modern life, kindliness is an essential if human personality is to maintain its place of supremacy. The underlying principle of true courtesy is consideration of others. It is exhibited in simple, natural, sincere manners. To be truly satisfying, a genuinely kind impulse must be implemented by a knowledge of etiquette.
Important as it is that you as a college student know and practice correct social usage, it is equally important for you to have the right conception of the manners of others. Older persons from a different locality are likely to use customs different from the established ways of the day in your community. To criticize or ridicule the behavior of others is evidence of the greatest lack of social training and refinement. It is always important to remember that it is better for you to break a rule of etiquette than to hurt someone's feelings or to make them uncomfortable. If you will always keep in mind that you want the other person to feel at ease you will instinctively do the polite thing, even though you are not familiar with the exact etiquette that the situation requires.
A college is a closely-knit community, and there are certain formalities peculiar to college life which it is important for you as a student to observe. It is important for you to know the correct names of the members of the faculty, who should be addressed by the title to which their position or academic degrees entitle them. It shows lack of respect to greet a faculty member with "Hello", or refer to him by his last name without some sort of title. Faculty members appreciate such courtesies as having you open a door or having you rise when they enter the room or stop to talk to you.
Among students, upper-classmen take precedence over under-classmen and have privileges next to the faculty. There are certain traditions and customs peculiar to this college and it is not only good manners but good sportsmanship to abide by them.
One of the most important things you will learn in college is how to get along with others. Living with a stranger, as your roommate usually is, proves to be an entirely new and different experience after years in your own family circle. Consideration, adaptability, a sense of humor and a knack for neatness are requisites to successful group-living. You should never enter a private room without knocking, and it is courteous to wait for a sign of recognition before interrupting a busy person. Respect for the possessions and privacy of others, and the proper and unselfish use of privileges and facilities such as the bath and telephone are marks of the well-adjusted college student.
A reputation for reserve, good manners, and dependability will go far toward smoothing the way for you and placing you in a most favorable light in the eyes of your associates. You will notice that the campus leaders are students who are cheerful and courteous to their elders as well as their contemporaries.
The object of introductions is that the persons present will feel at ease and an air of friendliness will prevail. You will gain ease and poise in meeting people and making them known to others by constant practice, and by the mastery of a few simple rules. In college life, simplicity is the rule in introductions and there is an abundance of opportunity to make persons known to each other, to make friends, and to help others to do so.
An introduction which is suitable for practically every occasion is: "Miss Senior, this is Miss Freshman". You always present the younger to the older or more distinguished person, but a man is always presented to a woman. A more formal type of introduction is: "Miss Faculty, may I present Mr. Sophomore?"
Other forms of introduction which are acceptable are: "Mother, do you know Miss Brown?"; "Mr. Faculty, this is my brother, John." When introducing members of your family it is better to omit the "Miss", "Mr.", or "Mrs.", unless that person's name is different from your own, such as that of a stepfather or of a married sister. Then you should say, "Mrs. Jones, may I present my sister, Mrs. Smith?" A few words of explanation with the introduction often make it more pleasant and may start the conversation, such as, "Mr. Faculty, Mr. Jones. Mr. Jones was a star on our basketball team the year before you came here."
When a person is introduced to a group, he should not have a separate introduction to each one. His name is spoken distinctly as he is introduced to someone near at hand or to a faculty member. Then the names of the others are mentioned, bringing in the newcomer's name at intervals. It is awkward to shake hands with any except those quite near you.
It is very important that names be distinctly spoken when introductions are made. When someone is introduced to you, it is well to repeat the names at the time since this will aid you in remembering the name and it will avoid later complications in case you have misunderstood it. It is always better to ask a name again than to neglect to make introductions.
A man always rises for an introduction, and a woman rises if it is made by or to an older person. She need not stand while being introduced, if the others are people of her own age, nor when being introduced to a man. It is never wrong to stand for introductions, because when one is standing he appears more interested in the introductions that are being made. A man always rises when a woman enters the room, as does a young woman when an older woman enters or is standing. As a host or hostess in your own home, rooming house, or dormitory, you always rise to greet each guest whether man or woman.
The only phrase that is recognized in best society as an acknowledgement of an introduction is: "How do you do?" You do not say "Pleased to meet you" and like phrases.
As a younger person you probably have not been in the habit of shaking hands very often, but as you grow older you will find that it is the accepted thing to do, and you should be able to do so without embarrassment. In certain sections of the country, and on certain occasions, such as at church, or at a family reunion or political convention there is more hand-shaking than at a dance--or informal picnic. Be prepared to shake hands at any time that the situation seems to demand it. Ordinarily men shake hands with each other when introduced. A woman may offer her hand to a man if she chooses. A man does not offer his hand to a lady. It is rude, however, for a woman to ignore a proffered hand. If you are in doubt about shaking hands, let the older or more distinguished person make the first move. A hand shake often reveals personality. There is a happy medium between a limp hand and a crushing grip. The best handclasp shows warmth and strength.
It is often necessary and thoughtful for you to introduce yourself to a distinguished visitor on the campus--or to a faculty member. This is the easy way to start a conversation with someone that you wish to meet or someone that you wish to talk to. It is best to say "I am Betty Co-ed" when you go up to speak to someone if you think there is the slightest chance that he does not remember your name. This is also a good device to use if you have forgotten the person's name, because she will respond with "I am Mrs. Jones."
It is often convenient and necessary for two people to introduce themselves when seated side by side at a banquet or at a meeting or when standing together at a reception. In such a situation you might say, "My name is James Brown," and the other would reply, "And I am Helen Doe."
If you are waiting on the street with a friend who meets an acquaintance, it is better to stroll on slowly than to wait expectantly for an introduction. The friend will either call you back and introduce you, or quickly finish the conversation and catch up with a word of apology.
In parting, if you wish, you may say, "Goodbye, I hope that I shall see you again," to which the reply might be, "I hope so too; goodbye, Mr. Brown." Or you might say, "I am glad to have met you," to which the other might reply simply, "Thank you, goodbye, Mr. Green." It is correct for either a man or a woman to make the first gesture in such an instance since it is an act of graciousness and friendliness,
The letter you write reflects good breeding and social experience or their opposites. A neat, well-written note portrays a person with those characteristics.
There are a few rules which are essential to good letter writing. Correct spacing, well-defined margins on both sides of the paper, proper headings, salutations, and endings, help determine the appearance of the letter. Everyone can, if he tries, write neatly and legibly, and, with the help of a dictionary, spell correctly. Use may be made of the lined guide that comes with stationery if it is difficult to write in a straight line.
Outside of the few essentials of good correspondence you may forget the formal rules, decide what to say, how much to say and how to say it. Letters should be enjoyable to the writer and the recipient. They are a form of visit and are as varied as social contacts.
The stationery which one associates with a well-bred person is plain paper with or without a simple lettering or monogram. The letter writer should consider the person to whom he is writing in selecting his paper and Ink. It is best to avoid bright, conspicuous colors in ink and stationery. It is now permissible to type friendly letters, but a letter in longhand has a more personal quality. Typewritten letters are correct except for formal notes, invitations, or messages of sympathy. For those whose handwriting is large, a larger sized paper should be used than for one whose handwriting is smaller.
Writing a friendly letter is an art worth cultivating. The contents of a letter should be written in an interesting style, but the events should not be so detailed that they become boresome. Letter writing is a form of conversation and it is bound by the same rules of good conversation. One of the most important types of friendly letters is the note of appreciation. This may be a written expression of appreciation for some form of entertainment or courtesy extended. Such a letter while it does not need to be lengthy should be sincere and should show your appreciation for the gift, the visit, the dinner, the recommendation, or whatever you are saying "Thank You" for.
It to very important for you to remember to write letters of appreciation to people. There is nothing that will make a hostess feel better than to get a short, but sincere note of appreciation for a gift, or a pleasant week-end visit. It is easy to mutter your thanks as you leave, but this conventional speech may easily be lost in the general hub-bub while a note that is received several days later is something that is really appreciated. In addition to notes of appreciation, a thoughtful person will find many opportunities to write notes of sympathy, congratulation, or cheer to friends.
It is more formal to begin a letter, "My dear Mr. Black" than "Dear Mr. Black". The close of a business letter should be "Sincerely yours" or "Yours very truly", or to a person of higher rank, "Respectfully yours".
The ending of a formal social note might be, "Sincerely," "Sincerely yours", or "Very sincerely", while in a friendly note one may say "Lovingly," "Affectionately," or use some ending which is chosen to indicate the intimacy with the friend. A letter should never be signed "Mr.", "Mrs." or "Miss". If it is necessary to show whether you are married or single, underneath the signature, "Mary Grey Fordyce", would be put in parenthesis, (Mrs. Henry Fordyce), or the "Miss" may be placed in parenthesis before your signature. This may save your correspondent some embarrassment, and that is what you should always strive to do.
Even though the average college student has few occasions to use a business letter, it is imperative that such a letter do you justice. If it is poorly constructed, or looks unattractive it may mean that you will not have a chance to meet the employer personally. A letter is an advance advertisement of you and it should be a worthy presentation. A typewritten letter probably makes the best impression. Business paper and envelopes of standard size should always be used. Paper that is 8 1/2 x 11 inches and envelopes that are either 3 1/2 x 5 1/2 inches or 4 x 9 inches are standard size. Personal stationery should not be used for writing business letters. If you are writing in long-hand, black or blue ink is preferable. The majority of the students on our campus will find it necessary in most cases to send letters of application to secure a position. If you are merely inquiring in regard to a vacancy, omit all details and qualifications. When writing a letter of application, you include education, experience, references, and personal data. If you desire a reply to a letter of application, enclose a stamped envelope.
Afternoon teas are desirable social functions for college groups as they are inexpensive and afford an opportunity for meeting many people. A tea, whether formal or infomal, is friendly and inviting. In the summer, a tea or reception may become a garden party.
Unless the letters R. S. V. P. appear on an invitation, it is unnecessary to acknowledge an invitation to a tea or reception. If, however, you can not attend a tea or reception, it is courteous to send your card to the hostess on the day of the event.
Teas are usually given between the hours of three and five. You should arrive not later than twenty minutes before the close of the tea. A guest may leave a formal tea without taking leave of the hostess but at an informal tea you express appreciation to the hostess, and bid her goodbye. A guest remains at least twenty minutes.
At a formal tea the guests are greeted by someone assisting the hostess; at an informal tea the hostess herself usually greets them. There is a short receiving line if the tea is formal so that the guests may meet the guest of honor. There will probably be assistant hostesses to help introduce the guests to each other and make everyone feel at home.
You may be taken to the tea table by an assistant hostess if the tea is large and there is any congestion (avoid forming a "bread line" while waiting to be served); or it is perfectly correct for you to ask of the one who is pouring "May I have a cup of tea?" When the one who is pouring asks "How do you like it?", you should express a preference for strong or weak tea and whether with sugar or lemon. Guests help themselves to little sandwiches or cake from the large table or from plates passed by friends of the hostess.
If the tea is informal, the hostess usually pours as the number of guests is small. The menu is more varied, and often hot muffins or toast with jam or jelly are served.
Even in the winter, after a guest has removed her coat, she keeps on her hat and either wears or carries her gloves. It is better to remove the right glove before taking food from the plate.
Receptions are very much like teas except they are more formal. In our college, receptions are given in honor of distinguished visitors, the faculty, the student body or other groups. There are traditional receptions such as the faculty reception for Upperclassmen and Freshmen, and the President's reception for Seniors each spring.
Guests are usually greeted at the door, taken to the head of the receiving line, and introduced to the hostess. If no one is near the door to perform that duty, the guest introduces himself to the first person in the line. If a man has brought a woman to the affair, he introduces himself and then his partner. The hostess makes introductions to the guests of honor, or to the next in line, who in turn makes introductions to the next, and so on. When the line is long, It may be necessary for the guest to repeat his name several times before reaching the end of the line.
One should avoid stopping at the end of the receiving line to converse with friends. To avoid congestion and confusion, move to other parts of the room. It is quite proper, however, to speak briefly with those in the receiving line if no other guests immediately follow you. Since the crowd is usually large, you must take some initiative in introducing yourself to others and helping them to feel at ease. Much the same type of food or drink is served at a reception as a tea.
It is a social advantage to remember names and faces. At a reception you should be alert to make the acquaintance of new people and to remember names as you are introduced.
You remain at a reception at least twenty minutes, or at the most a half hour. One purpose of a reception is to entertain a large number of people in one evening, and the room would be very crowded if everyone came at once--or if everyone stayed the entire time. Remember not to stay too long at a reception. If the hostess is busy receiving other guests, it is unnecessary to speak to her on leaving. If the affair is not a large one and she is unoccupied, it is best to bid her goodbye and thank her.
An afternoon dress with a hat and golves is correct attire for an afternoon reception. If the evening reception is formal, an evening dress (with or without a jacket) is worn. A hat is not worn unless it is a special hat for evening wear; if an evening reception is not formal, the dress is the same as for an afternoon reception.
Correct table manners are essential at all times whether the occasion be very informal or formal. Crudeness while eating is unforgivable and can easily be avoided if a few simple rules are remembered and practiced.
An invitation to a dinner must be answered immediately without any condition. It is better to repeat the day and hour in order to avoid misunderstanding. Invitations to dinners should be answered in the same manner in which they are given, as discussed in Section IV of this book.
Guests should arrive several minutes (not more than fifteen) before the hour set for the dinner. It is rude, not fashionable to be late. If, because of unavoidable circumstances, you are late, apologize to the hostess and take your place at the table immediately. Unless the hostess indicates otherwise the guest should accept the course then being served.
At formal dinners, place-cards are used. If a man is given the name of his dinner partner when he arrives, he is to find her, introduce himself, if necessary, and offer her his right arm when they are ready to go into dinner.
At an informal dinner the hostess may designate the place of the guests. The host and woman guest of honor enter first at a formal dinner. If the dinner is informal, the hostess and man guest of honor enter first so that the hostess may indicate the places for the others. Ordinarily, the man guest of honor sits at the right of his hostess and the woman guest of honor sits at the right of her host. You should stand behind your chair (the woman at the right of the man) until the hostess indicates that she is ready to be seated. The men or younger ladies at the table, of course, see that the ladies are seated. The gentleman guest of honor seats the hostess.
You seat yourself from the left of the chair, and rise from the right of the chair. This is the accepted custom regarding seating.
Throughout the meal it is well to cast occasional glances at the hostess to see if you are doing as she does. She indicates what silver is to be used and how the different foods are to be eaten. When the meal is finished, the hostess is the first to rise.
When the number of guests is small, you do not begin eating until everyone is served; if, however, the dinner is large, you need wait only until those near have been served.
It is incorrect to lean on the table while eating. The elbows should be kept close to the sides so they will not hinder the persons on either side. Recently it has become permissible to lean an arm lightly on the table during conversation between courses. It to very unpleasant to see someone slouched over the table and this hinders the effort of the waiter or waitress.
It is impolite to refuse food offered. It is better to take the food and attempt to eat at least part of it.
Soup and other liquid foods should be taken noiselessly from the side of the spoon. The spoon is dipped away from the person. It is considered improper to break crackers into the soup. If bouillion is served in a cup, it may be drunk.
The spoon is never left in the cup, glass, or dish, unless there is no saucer or service plate. After it has been used it is placed on the saucer or plate. Silver should be used in the order of placement upon the table, beginning from the outside. When you have finished eating, the knife and fork are left parallel in the center of the plate with the blade of the knife toward you.
When cutting meat, the fork is held in your left hand with the prongs downward, and the handle pressing into the palm of your hand. Your index finger should extend in a straight line down the handle. Your knife is held in your right hand exactly as your fork is held in the left. Your index finger points down the back of the blade to give pressure. The knife is held on the outside of the fork.
Only one bite of meat at a time is cut, and it is then conveyed to the mouth by the left hand with the tines pointed downward, or, you can cut off a few bites, lay down your knife, and transfer the fork, tines upward, to the right hand. For other food the tines are turned up and pushed under the portions of food. Only one kind of food is put on the fork at a time.
Whenever possible, vegetables are eaten with a fork. It is permissible to eat creamed vegetables with a spoon. In eating a cereal, ice-cream, or a semi-solid food, the spoon should be dipped toward you and the food eaten from the end of the spoon. Ice or ice cream served in a sherbet glass is eaten with a spoon, but brick ice-cream is eaten with a fork.
Salads are always eaten with a fork, but, if the salad is difficult to cut, a knife may be used to cut it. It is usually necessary to cut a club sandwich with a knife. Then, depending on the kind of sandwich, you may eat it with your fingers or with your fork. Butter is put on vegetables and meat with a fork rather than knife. If you need salt and there is no spoon in the salt dish, use a clean knife or it is not incorrect to use your fingers.
Potato chips, pickles, radishes, olives, celery, nuts, and artichokes are eaten with the fingers. Cake may be eaten with your fingers unless it has a sticky icing. The silver on the table will usually indicate whether or not you are to pick up the food in your fingers, but the test is whether you can eat the food without getting your fingers sticky. Chicken should be eaten with a fork unless the hostess indicates otherwise. Corn on the cob is not served at dinner parties, but if you have the occasion to eat it, you should break a large ear in two, butter only a small portion at a time and hold it with only one hand.
Fish bones, fruit pits, seeds and particles of food may be removed from the the mouth with the fingers. The pits of prunes or cherries which have been eaten with a spoon may be dropped into a spoon and placed on the plate or saucer.
When helping yourself from a dish with a spoon and fork, take the food with the spoon in your right hand and hold it in place with the fork in your left hand. Do not use your individual silver in helping yourself to food passed from a common dish.
When helping yourself to food passed by a servant or waiter, say nothing. If a servant is serving you, a nod or scarcely audible "Thank you," will do, or if you are refusing a dish say, "No, thank you", or give a negative shake of your head.
Bread should be broken in two when first put on the plate. Only a small piece of bread is buttered at a time. A small, hot biscuit, however, may be buttered immediately. A piece of bread is held on the edge of the plate while being buttered. Jellies and jams are spread on bread with a knife, never with a fork. If there is a bread-and-butter plate on the table the small butter knife is placed on this, as are the bread, butter, and jelly.
The napkin should be placed in the lap folded once with the open edges toward you. After dinner the napkin is left in the lap until the hostess places hers on the table. It is then placed unfolded at the side of the plate unless you are planing to be at the house for another meal. In the latter case it should be left folded.
If accidents occur during the meal, regret is expressed, but not profuse apologies. When food is dropped on the table it is to be left there, or unobtrusively put back on the plate. If silver is dropped on the floor, it should be left there. An alert hostess will notice this and have another piece of silver brought, but in case she does not notice, you may ask her for more silver.
When finger bowls are used, the fingers of first the right hand, and then the left hand, are dipped lightly into the water and wiped on the napkin.
An interesting guest does not monopolize the conversation at the table, but contributes to the general discussion. It is important to talk to those on either side of you at the table. Gruesome subjects should not be topics of conversation, and any type of unpleasantry should be avoided. Unless some particular dish is your favorite, or unusually delicious it is best not to comment on the food.
Unless a dinner is followed by bridge, dancing, or other planned entertainment, it is correct to leave within thirty minutes after the dinner is completed, but most hosts and hostesses will like to have you stay longer. It is courteous to take leave of the host or hostess, even though the dinner party is a large one.
Dances are very frequent among the social events of our College. Dancing for students ranges from informal dancing at Residence Hall and rooming houses to the formal Junior Prom, the Christmas Ball and sorority and fraternity dances.
You should remember that although the dancing at the Hall or at the Student Center each evening is informal, courtesy is of no less importance than at other dances. As a rule, the women students dress for dinner, and certainly they appreciate it if the men who come in for after-dinner dancing are "cleaned-up" and look presentable. When a man asks a woman to dance, he says, "May I have this dance?" or "Would you care to dance?" to which she replies "Certainly," or "Yes, I'd like to very much." If a woman does not wish to dance with a man, she may say, "Thank you, I'm not dancing this time." It would then be inexcusable for her to dance that dance with someone else unless the man she has refused had been rude to her at an earlier time.
It is the woman's privilege to stop dancing. She may say to her partner, "May we sit out the rest of this dance?" or "I feel a bit tired," or "The floor seems rather crowded." If a man wishes to stop dancing he may diplomatically suggest that they go for a stroll, or get some refreshments.
A man never leaves a woman in the middle of the dance floor. He takes her back to her partner, to a chaperone, or finds a chair for her. He may then thank her for the dance and ask to be excused. When a man thanks a woman for a dance she replies, "I am glad that you enjoyed it," or "I enjoyed it, too." She might simply say, "Thank you, too," or she may just smile and nod.
A man always assumes the responsibility for any mishap while dancing, by saying, "I'm sorry," or "I beg your pardon." The woman may reply, "Certainly," or "I think it was my fault."
Jitterbugging is popular with a comparatively small number of couples, and these couples should remember that they do not have a priority on the dancing space. It takes a certain amount of room for jitterbugging, and it is very annoying to other couples to be bumped, and crowded, by these energetic dancers.
Excepting "no-date" dances and other special dances at which it is known that all may go without dates if they wish, it is not customary for a woman to go unescorted. A young man never goes unaccompanied by a lady, nor a young lady unescorted, to the more special dances like the Junior Prom.
At no-date dances it is expected that the man will dance one or two dances with a girl, and then return her to the place where he got her. At both formal and informal dances, exchanging dances with other couples makes a more enjoyable evening for everyone. It to customary for an escort to claim the first and last dances with his partner as well as the one preceding, and the one following intermission. He sees that she has partners for every dance, and, when refreshments are in order, that she is served. Unless there is someone to serve punch, the man pours it. The woman holds her cup until the man has poured his.
If it is a dance where "cutting in" is allowed, the stag lays his hand on the shoulder of the man who relinquishes his place to the newcomer. The woman who is dancing should not refuse to change partners when another cuts in. Nor should a man act sullen when his dance has been interrupted. He does not "cut back" on the man who has cut on him, but waits until the woman is dancing with someone else.
When a stag cuts in on a couple that is dancing he is entitled to dance with the girl until someone else cuts in or until the end of the dance when he may return the girl to her escort.
The responsibility of a college man who goes to a dance without a partner is a very definite one. From all appearance many stags feel that they have paid their money, and are entitled to stand on the side-lines and gaze disdainfully at the dancers. The stags should remember that they are there to dance, and to help others have a good time. It is important that they dance with the hostesses, guests of honor, chaperones and as many girls as possible. The stag should at least make an effort to speak to the chaperones of the dance shortly after he arrives. When a man is introduced to a girl who has no partner, it is expected that he will ask her to dance.
Generally at college dances, clothing worn is a matter of personal preference, but unless it is a "Cotton Party" or a very informal occasion a man should not remove his coat. If it to too warm to dance in a coat, it is too warm for dancing. At formal dances given by the fraternities or sororities and those such as the Junior Prom, dinner coats or dark suits are worn by the men and evening dresses by the women.
It is poor taste for a woman to apply cosmetics or a man to comb his hair on the dance floor. Such details should be attended to in the dressing room.
Chaperones should receive invitations at least a week before an informal dance, and two weeks before a formal affair. They should be furnished conveyance to and from the function even though they have their own cars. Many members of the group giving the dance should greet and exchange dances with the chaperones during the course of the evening. Provision should be made for introducing outside guests and for making the evening a pleasant one for the chaperones. This may include a full dance program or a partially filled one. Several couples should be definitely responsible for the entertainment of the chaperoned and honor guests during intermission. To see that the chaperones have an enjoyable time should be the responsibility of every member of the group.
A type of social note that is as obligatory as the "bread and butter" note is the "thank you" note to chaperones after a social function. The chaperones have made the party possible by their presence and they should have a feeling that their help is appreciated.
Dates, of course, will occupy an important place in your social life as a college student. In dating, as in all forms of social activity, the courteous considerate act is usually the proper thing.
When a man wishes to have a date with a woman he should call her at least several hours, preferably several days before the time of the engagement. It to poor taste to ask a woman for a date only a short time ahead. Certainly, if a man expects to escort a woman home, he should take her to the entertainment, otherwise his gallantry seems like an after-thought. When a man calls a woman for a date, the invitation should be stated in such a way that it I will be equally easy for her to accept or to refuse. It is often well for him to mention the form of entertainment he has in mind. If an engagement has been made some time in advance, the man should call again to avoid any misunderstanding.
It is inexcusable for either the man or the woman to "break a date" without a very urgent reason. "Trumped up" excuses are seldom believed and thus a reflection is cast upon the truthfulness of the person, as well as upon his consideration for the rights of others.
It is never permissible for a woman to call a man for a date except for some special dance or other social activity when it is necessary. It a man accepts such an invitation from a woman, he must return her favor by taking her out at least once afterwards.
"Blind" dates have been considered in bad taste by many people, but they are all right under certain circumstances. "Blind dates" should be accepted for a definite affair, such as a dance, party, picnic, or some group affair. On the campus it is nearly always possible to get the two people introduced to each other before the invitation is extended; but if this is impossible, a "blind date" may be very satisfactory. If you have taken a "blind date," and are disappointed you are honor-bound to see that your companion has an enjoyable time. That is part of the bargain.
When one is just beginning to get acquainted on the campus, it is advisable to arrange group dates at first, until the two persons get well acquainted, and discover their mutual interests.
It is important that a man be prompt in calling for a woman. Women should also try to be ready when they are called for. If a man calls for a woman in an automobile, he should go to the door and escort her to the car, and open and close the car door for her. It is extremely rude to drive up to the house and "honk," expecting her to come out. When the couple is walking the man walks next to the curb, and holds the woman's elbow only when assisting her where the footing is dangerous.
A man may ask a woman her wishes, but it is best for him to have some plan in mind for her entertainment. This does not mean that he must always spend money, for many interesting things can be done without a great out-lay of money. A woman should never be taken to a questionable place. The man is responsible for her while she is with him.
A woman should be considerate of a man's pocket-book. Few men students are financially able to provide very elaborate or expensive entertainment. A game of bridge, fudge making or some other form of inexpensive entertainment will often make a dull evening into a very interesting one. There are many ways in which both persons can make themselves agreeable. It is as important for you to be a good listener as a good conversationalist. To make the other person feel at home, to make him feel that he is interesting, welcome, and worth listening to, is essential. A woman will make herself more popular if she expresses sincere appreciation for the entertainment or courtesies offered her by the man, than if she appears disinterested.
A woman may ask a man into her home after a date if she so desires and if the hour is not late. Consideration for her house-mother should prevent her from entertaining too frequently. If there is more than one woman living in the house, it would be advisable to have certain fixed evenings for receiving guests.
It is important that students introduce their friends to their house-mother, or to their parents if they live at home. You should choose friends that you are proud to introduce to your elders as well as your contemporaries.
Appearing in Public
Behavior in public places is a very important factor in the formation of reputation. Students may be judged by people whose names they do not even know and it is well for them to remember that they should be courteous at all times to all people, not just when with acquaintances.
If you are a representative of the college in a strange town, your appearance and behavior should be the best possible, for they reflect upon the College as well as upon you. Taking property as souvenirs is not being clever; it is stealing. The habit of gathering such mementos has led to much unpopularity of college groups.
Your behavior in Maryville particularly is important and should be beyond reproach. The people here in town know that you are a college student, and it is a reflection on the institution if you misbehave in public places, or make a spectacle of yourself at a public gathering. It is impossible to know ahead of time when someone that you do not know but someone that has seen you at your worst in a restaurant, or drug store, will be a prospective employer.
College students often go on house parties or attend games in some other town. A party of women, such as a pep squad, does not go to games or tournaments unchaperoned. In a group of men and women going to a game, each pays his or her own expenses for such things as meals, tickets and refreshments. They should share the expenses of the chaperone.
In signing a hotel register, the name is written "Miss Mary Smith." This is the only time and place when this form is accepted. However a man signs his name simply, "Richard Carter."
At a public meeting, If there is an usher, the woman precedes the man down the aisle. If there is no usher, the man precedes her and stands aside so that she may enter her seat first. If it is necessary to pass in front of people, say, "Thank you" or "I am sorry." "I beg your pardon" is acceptable, although it is more property used when one has done something for which it is actually necessary for him to beg another's pardon. "Pardon me" or "Beg pardon" are phrases not used in good society at any time.
When you go to the theatre or to a public performance of any kind, promptness is of first consideration. It is, on rare occasion, necessary for one to enter a public gathering, such as an assembly or a church service after the program is in progress. While this is very undesirable the ill-will of others will be somewhat diminished if the latecomer walks quietly, on tip-toe. This courtesy should be observed also if it is necessary to leave before the program is over.
A church is a place for reverence and meditation. Whispering and laughing are not in accord with that mood. Any type of program which you attend is worthy of your respectful attention.
Laughing, talking and passing notes in the library or in assembly annoys others and interferes with attention. Taking such privileges at the expense of others is both selfish and rude. To eat candy or food in public or to chew gum shows a lack of good breeding. Loud conversation and laughter or anything that attracts attention through boisterousness is not good taste, and is entirely unnecessary.
All demonstrations of affection in public are in bad taste. It is not good form for a couple to go down the street arm in arm or holding hands. The escort may assist the lady up and down steps, across the streets in congested sections, and other places where necessary.
Upon entering a taxi or street car, the escort assists the woman and then gets in himself. He gets out first and then assists her. Of course, a man is ready and willing to open the door to a building or room for the woman with him or one who happens to arrive at the same time. A courteous man removes his hat when a woman enters the elevator in which he is riding.
When walking down the street the escort always takes the side next to the curb. If there are two women, he does not place himself between them.
When a man meets a woman whom he knows, he raises his hat but not until she recognizes him. Upon greeting a man of his own age, he merely touches the brim of his hat. When men and women shake hands, it is not necessary to remove gloves; however, if the woman extends a bare hand, the man must remove his right glove.
On the street, in traveling, or in church, a woman wears a hat, gloves, and a conservative dress. Gloves are to be worn when a hat is worn. This applies particularly to women.
Dining in Public
On entering a restaurant or sandwich shop, the woman precedes her escort. If there to no head waiter, the escort precedes her and finds an empty table. The woman is seated so that she has the better view, her escort sits opposite. When two couples enter a booth, the one woman enters first and sits with her escort. The other couple follows. If there are two women and one escort, the women sit together with the escort opposite. If it is a large party, the woman is seated to the right of her escort.
The woman removes her wraps after she to seated and slips them over the back of the chair. The man should assist her with her wraps, particularly when they are preparing to leave. Gloves and purse remain in her lap or on a vacant chair, not on the table.
A man checks his hat and coat at the entrance of a restaurant or cafe. A woman takes her wrap to the table unless, as in the case of dancing, she prefers to leave it in the dressing room.
The escort orders the food, first consulting his guest. He also aides her in the selection of her menu by suggesting certain dishes.
Restaurants may have one of two kinds of service. The a la carte menu means that each dish is separately priced. Thus one may build up a meal by selecting each article of food. The table d'-hote menu means a set price for each meal, irrespective of the number of dishes ordered. Very often the menu card contains a number of these meals already made up. One is usually given a preference of soups, vegetables, salads, desserts, and beverages. As a rule it is cheaper to buy a table d'-hote meal. Practically all restaurants require that the orders be written. This is frequently done by the waiter, but if not, it is done by the one who is ordering. It is customary to leave a ten per cent tip for service.
Men always rise when a woman leaves or returns to the table; also if a woman approaches the table to talk with him or his guests. Introductions are unnecessary unless it is known that they are desired. A woman does not carry on a long conversation at a table while the man stands, but should merely exchange a few words of greeting. The escort always aids her guest in putting on her coat, and she precedes him to the door.
When dining in public, you should be careful to observe all rules of etiquette, refrain from complaining about the food and from loud conversation and laughter. Anything that attracts attention through boisterousness is not good taste.
In the afternoon a street dress or afternoon gown is worn with gloves and hat. In the evening the same may be worn unless the dinner is formal. In that case an evening gown is worn without a hat, and gloves are optional. A dark suit with a white shirt should be worn by men, and if formal, a dinner jacket.
As a student you will doubtless be invited to spend a week-end with one of your fiends. Of course, you should never accept an invitation to spend the week-end with a friend unless you feel sure that it is convenient with your friend's mother.
If it is possible, you should have your mother write to your friend to extend the invitation to visit in your home. When you take a room-mate or guest home for a week-end or vacation, you should plan the type of activity which your guest would most enjoy. You should look after the guest's comfort and pleasure by planning enough entertainment so that he may enjoy himself and yet have some free time.
The invitation for the week-end should include a hint of the type of recreation planned so that the guest may take appropriate clothing. The guest should fit himself into the accustomed household schedule, and should learn the plans of the day so that he may be on time for meals and be suitably dressed without keeping others waiting.
Guests should not make engagements or accept invitations without first consulting the hostess. If you wish to take a guest along to a local dinner or dance, you must make sure that the hostess will not be inconvenienced by an extra person.
If your hostess does not have a servant, you should make your own bed, and wait on yourself. You may offer to help the hostess with the work, but you should not insist if she would rather not have your help. If there are servants that wait on you, you should thank them for any service rendered, and if you stay a long time, they should be given a tip or present.
A thoughtful guest forgets himself in consideration for the hostess and other members of the party. Being a gracious guest is a test of genuine mannerliness and social adaptability. The English have a saying--that a gentleman is one who is at home in any place, or situation.
Upon taking leave of your host or hostess you will express enthusiastically your enjoyment of the entertainment, and after you return home, it is important that you write a "bread and butter" letter, that is, a "thank you" note, to your hostess not later than a week after your departure.
If you have visited in the household before you may wish to take a small present with you. If you want to send your hostess a gift in appreciation of her hospitality, you can discover during your visit something that would be acceptable. If you can think of nothing that to particularly suited to her, you can send flowers or candy. Is is not at all necessary that you send a gift, but a note of appreciation must be written.
Your wardrobe needs foresight in planning if it is to meet all needs. A woman is likely to be extravagant in buying an afternoon or evening dress, which will be worn occasionally, and leave little for the purchase of school clothes which will be worn five days of the week. Out-moded afternoon clothes are wholly unsuited for campus wear. Men are perhaps conservative to a fault as far as style and color of clothes are concerned, but it is always better for a man to have only two suits of good quality and cut than to have several of shoddy material that are poorly tailored. Rigid conformity to current fads and styles does not insure a smart appearance. Clothes should be chosen to suit the individual and should complement the personality of the wearer.
To wear harmonious color combinations is an essential principle of dress. You should decide on the colors you can wear best and then choose your wardrobe accordingly. If your purse is limited your wardrobe should be centered around one color. Dark colors make one look smaller, while bright colors, and designs produce he opposite effect. Vertical lines make a person appear slimmer. Horizontal lines add breadth. Stout people should avoid plaids, checks, large flashy prints, frills and nubby materials. A stout person should wear tailored dresses of smooth, dull material, made on long, straight lines,
To be well-groomed is of foremost consideration in dressing. Keeping shoes polished, heels built up, hair and nails well cared for, should be routine habits. To wear soiled, wrinkled clothes is inexcusable.
Women should remember that jewelry may express individuality. It should be chosen with consideration for the wearer and the costume with which it is worn. It is much better to wear too little jewelry than too much. All accessories should be integral parts of a costume.
If you do not know what to wear on a particular occasion remember that it is better to be simply dressed than to wear clothes that may make you feel too "dressed up". To be conscious of what you are wearing makes you uncomfortable. Poise and assurance come to the person who is well dressed in clothes suitable for the occasion.
It is important that college apparel be of the sports or spectator sports type. Tweed suits are smart and practical for both men and women. Sweaters and skirts for women and slacks and sweaters for men are accepted almost universally for collegiate wear. The current mode of anklets with crepe soled shoes is an economical one for students. Fussy and frilly dresses, house dresses, or active sports clothes should not be worn to the classroom. A woman student who does not find sweaters and skirts becoming should choose a plain tailored dress of wool, silk or cotton, depending on the time of the year in which it is to be worn. A change of accessories adds variety and may make a dress suitable for more than one type of occasion.
For Semi-Formal Occasions
For semi-formal social occasions, that is for dates, informal dances, theatre or church-going, attendance at evening lectures and plays in the college auditorium, or informal teas or dinners, afternoon dresses or costume suits with matching accessories are correct for woman to wear. For such occasions men wear dark suits, or during the summer, white linen suits or light flannel trousers and a dark coat.
It is smart and economical for a woman to have a basic afternoon dress which can be changed by the addition of scarfs, boleros, jackets, or jewelry. This plan will aid in adjusting the clothes budget to the practical needs of the student.
For Formal Occasions
Formal occasions demand formal dress. Women wear evening slippers with evening gowns. It is also possible to choose evening gowns that are conservative and becoming and that may be varied from season to season with a change of accessories. The current mode for evening gowns of taffeta, silk, jersey, net, or lace is very economical because such a dress may be worn all seasons. A silk or velvet evening wrap, or a fur wrap in season, are correctly worn with formal clothes. No hat should be worn unless it is a special evening head-dress. Long or short evening gloves, usually of white kid, are appropriate. Gloves are often worn to dinner but must be removed before eating, and are usually removed before dancing. Women do not wear wrist watches or sorority pins.
Men wear dinner jackets with a white or black waistcoat, stiff or pleated shirt, wing collar, black bow tie, black shoes and hose. In summer, white linen, or flannel suits, white coats and dark trousers, or white trousers and dark coats may constitute formal dress for men. Men may wear wrist watches but should not wear fraternity pins or any other badge. Any conservative overcoat and a dark hat may be worn. A white scarf, or a white one with a small black pattern, and dress gloves are suitable accessories.
On the campus it is permissible for men to wear a dark business suit with a white shirt, if he does not have more formal clothing. It should be remembered however, that in strange places it is well to inquire whether or not this is acceptable to local custom.
At a formal tea the hostess and guests of honor wear formal dinner dress, or a formal dress with a jacket. The guests usually dress the same as they would for an informal tea.
A formal recption, that is, one which occurs at night, requires formal dress, unless that is impossible. On the campus it to acceptable to wear afternoon clothes to a formal reception if it is impractical to wear formal dress.
Formal dress is worn to a formal dinner or formal dance.
Cheering Your Team
Members of the community and out-of-town visitors judge a student body by their good sportsmanship and conduct at games. As courage and determination are put into the team by cheering, the best effort of which you are capable should be put forth. The conduct of any student reflects on the entire student body. Advice such as "break their necks" and "kill 'em" indelibly mark the person as being crude and coarse. Use your energy in organized cheering rather than in making yourself conspicuous. The cheer-leaders should be the leaders in the cheering, and should have your complete cooperation. Organized support of the team is what really counts.
You should be especially considerate of others at games. People behind you wish to view the game also. It is rude to obstruct their view.
Opponents should receive the respect and courtesy due to friendly visitors. They are not to be derided nor "booed." All should abide by the decisions of the referee and accept them in a sportsmanlike manner. If the visitors from the rival college are to remain, they should be hospitably entertained and made to feel the warmth and sincerity of their hosts. Contests of all sorts between colleges are intended to foster friendliness and not hostility.