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by Bill-Cemly-Jones
6 February 1970


It must be nearly two years now since I raised the necessary 50 cents to buy my favorite comic mag, ”Ladies Home Journal.” But last week I stumbled across an old copy, and it really did me good. Let´s face it, in these troublesome times, I need a hearty laugh.

But for a moment, let´s be serious. I´m not entirely happy about Amy Vanderbilt´s column, which is provocatively headed: “The Social Blunders Men Make.” Miss Vanderbilt, I understand, welcomes questions from readers on the esoteric subject of etiquette. Frankly, Amy, I´m not quite sure that your answers completely solve the problems for old time Social Blunderers like myself.

Let´s take Query No. 1.

The lady’s escort should ask the cab driver the approximate fare, and give the woman the money

“When it´s late and the man does not live near the woman he is escorting, is it proper for him to put her in a cab, or does etiquette demand that he see her to her door?”

Amy broadmindedly replies that it´s okay but—listen to this, lads—”He should ask the driver the approximate fare, and give the woman the money. He should then take the number of the cab and the name and number of the driver. For safety´s sake, he may ask the woman to call him when she gets home.”

As an old Irish-Welsh caballero, I act rather more thoroughly on these occasions. Only the other night, I put the lady I was escorting into a cab, told the driver that she would pay, asked him for his name, number, name of his grandparents, what sign of the zodiac he was born under, his opinion on Urtain and El Cordobés, and, whipping out my pocket finger-printing outfit, took his dabs; also, a couple of mug shots with my reliable old Kodak box camera.

I then told the Lady I was escorting to phone me as soon as she got home for safety´s sake. She replied, “For God´s sake get into the taxi and stop assing around.” It hadn’t occurred to me, until that moment, that the Lady I was escorting happened to be my own wife.

Is there a tactful way to tell a man he has had too much to drink?

Next question: “Is there a tactful way to tell a man he has had too much to drink? Often when we are at a party, I would like to stop my husband from having the third or fourth drink, but I don´t want to embarrass him.”

Amy´s suggestion: “I think husbands and wives should have some kind of signal system. A quiet “Remember you have an early meeting tomorrow” should be enough of a hint. Men should realize, adds Amy, that women feel unprotected and embarrassed when their husbands drink too much.”

She has a point there. I feel embarrassed and unprotected when my wife passes out under the table. We have a secret signal system too. On those rare occasions when I´m swinging from the chandelier in the Embassy, my wife says, “Let´s get the hell out of here, you drunken slob.” I get the subtle telepathic hint.

Next question: “Shouldn´t social rules extend to the home? My husband won´t stand up when my mother enters the room, and won´t put on a jacket at dinner. Am I just old fashioned?”

Amy´s answer: “Your husband is slipshod. Your husband should treat your mother as he would any female guest.”

“Your husband should treat your mother as he would any female guest”

H’m. I´m not sure how my wife´s father would go along with that advice. When I have any female guests, I chase them, breathing heavily round the dinner table, attempting to tear their clothes off. I don´t put on a jacket. Actually, I don´t put on my pants. Some of my female guests occasionally get away, and call me a slipshod, old fashioned so-and-so, with a pathetic lack of stamina for the five furlong sprint around the dinner table. I haven´t, so far, treated my wife´s mother like any other female guest. This shows no lack of affection for Marnel—my wife´s mother—but only a practical realization of my own limitations. That girl – my ma-in-law – has a surprising turn of speed. The last time I chased her round a dinner table, she beat me by five lengths.

The final probing question was: “What should a woman do at a party when the men start telling off-color jokes in mixed company?”

Miss V´s response: “A woman should move out of the group; she should not laugh. If she is pressed to respond, she might say flatly, “I´ve heard it before.”

Fair enough. But I wonder, Amy, if you could help me with my problem, which is: “What should a man do when the gals start telling off-color jokes?”

Off-color Tupperware party: “I must tell you about the Bishop and the chorus girl”

I went home the other evening and discovered that my wife was giving a Tupperware party for some of her lady chums. As I entered the room, I heard my wife saying, with an obscene giggle: “Have you heard the one about the traveling salesman and the farmer´s daughter?” When she´d finished, I said flatly: “I´ve heard it before.” No one listened to me because the Ambassador´s wife chipped in with: “I must tell you about the Bishop and the chorus girl.” I said flatulently: “I´ve heard it before, and remember you have an early appointment tomorrow.” But it was no good. Women should realize that men, at least well brought up sensitive men like me, feel unprotected and embarrassed when women tell off-color jokes in mixed company, drink too much, and refuse to pay the goddam cab driver.

Emily Post: her etiquette books are the blue book of social graces

Editor´s Note: Señor don Guillermo Cemlyn hyphen Jones Esquire is Guidepost´s repulsive answer to Emily Post. If any readers have any problems regarding etiquette, just write to him, enclosing a stamped self addressed envelope. He won´t reply, of course, but he will steam off the stamps and sell them. We understand he needs the money. If you can´t be bothered to send an S.A.E., send him a bottle of whiskey—preferably Irish or a good Scotch malt whisky like Glenfiddich. He finds teaching people good manners is thirsty work.      



Images from Pixabay unless stated otherwise
Featured image/Oberholster Venta
Taxi driver/GraphicMama-team
Too much to drink/Prawny
Gentleman shaking hands with lady/OpenClipart-Vectors
Off-color joke/Sergei Tokmakov, Esq,
Emily Post portrait by Emil Fuchs from Brooklyn Museum, PD via Wikimedia Commons, cropped