Friday, 20 September 2013

Manners Maketh Man

Talking of anachronisms - well, I used the word in my blog on Monday this week - I have learned only very recently that a white tie should be worn with a tail coat but with a dinner jacket, a gentleman should wear a black tie.  I suppose this is where the dress code "Black tie" comes from.  But how many people dress for dinner these days?  and how many of them would consider it infra dig to wear what we nowadays call a dinner jacket instead of tails?

Isn't it amazing what one can learn by watching television?  You see, the Old Bat and I have been watching the repeats of Downton Abbey, a drama set in the home of an aristocratic family in the period from before World War I until the 1920s.  We never did watch the programme when it was first broadcast but did start watching when series 1 was repeated on ITV3, followed by series 2.  The repeats of series 2 had not finished before series 3 was being aired on ITV1 but for some reason I never did record those programmes.  Now, however, they are being shown on ITV3 before series 4 starts on ITV1 next Sunday.  (Are you totally confused by now?  I am!)

But what has struck me is how manners have changed over the intervening years, apart from gentlemen's dress code.  For example, if one of the ladies rises from the dinner table, all the men immediately get to their feet.  What lady would expect that sort of behaviour now?

I can well recall the time when - at a Lions Club charter night dinner, for example - nobody would dream of leaving the table for any reason before the loyal toast.  One just held one's thighs more tightly together until the opportunity arose.  There was one year when I was President and the Mayor, sitting next to me, was a lady.  After the starters had been served nobody picked up their cutlery.  The Mayor asked me why nobody was eating and I explained that we were all waiting for her as she was the guest of honour.

In an odd sort of way, I seem to have been following a kind of theme over the last three days, what with that phone call I mentioned on Wednesday, yesterday's piece about the social necessity to lie - and now today, manners in general.  I'll try to get onto a different tack tomorrow!

Oh, that title.  It is actually a misquote.  The correct spelling of the second word is "makyth" and the whole is the motto of Winchester College, founded by William of Wickham (spelled Wykeham in those days), Bishop of Winchester, in 1382.  Alumni of the college are known as Wykehamists (pronounced "Wickemmists").


And yet again, I am on a roll of sorts.  The pictures over the last two days have been on clock towers - and here is another.

We are back in Brighton again, that town of many towers.  This, specifically, is in Patcham.  Between the wars, a large housing estate was developed to the east and slightly north of the old village.  At its entrance, the developer erected a clock tower as a way of advertising.


The Broad said...

Americans actually refer to a 'dinner jacket' as a 'tux'(edo)-- needless to say I had a lot to learn when I became the wife of an RAF officer -- back in the day--

Suldog said...

MY WIFE is one of the last remaining people who refuses to wear white after Labor Day.

Hmmmm - I'm not at all sure that's any sort of holiday where you are. It's the first Monday in September here. Anyway, it was always the fashion to ditch all white clothing at the unofficial end of summer. MY WIFE moans when she sees someone wearing white in, say, October. She is quite lonely doing so.

Brighton Pensioner said...

We do have some odd customs.