City Pulse

By Elizabeth Greene


We started off our manners series politely explaining how much calmer, less stressful, and over-all more enjoyable our lives would be with a little dose of manners. But being the Americans we are, you shouldn’t be surprised that the politeness is over. We’re getting down and dirty and throwing it all out there and with the help of the wise Emily Post, hopefully shock you into a more sophisticated and refined self.

The idea of proper manners and etiquette are nothing new. Since the beginning of the 1900s, with the help of Emily Post, we have been instructed and given advice on what to do and what not to do. Today, any tricky situation can find resolve thanks to the Emily Post Institute ( and Emily’s great-great granddaughter, Lizzie offers her services to those facing the daily dilemmas of our generation.

I can’t think of one thing that causes more rudeness these days than the cell phone. When in a situation where a ringing phone could annoy or disrupt, turn it off! It may seem common sense but then how come so many people seem to forget or ignore this respect. Along the same lines, if a call or text is needed, excuse yourself and step away. Who can deny the frustration and annoyance one faces when having a conversation and the other person is trying to send a text as they attempt to continue listening. And please, watch your volume when chatting. Not everyone wishes to hear the details of your previous night as you ride the subway to work.

What about when you’re out and about? Lipstick application at the table? Emily says only if you’re with close friends or relatives and at a casual location. Other than that, personal grooming should be done in private. Who cares whether it was the man or woman – whoever approaches the door first should hold the door! And same with paying! If you invite, you pay; simple as that. And I personally think that the way one treats their server says a lot, and how much effort is really needed to say a please and thank you? You never know, that basic act could make their day. As Emily states, rudeness begets rudeness, and we don’t need anymore of it.

It’s been a long day and you head to the gym, looking forward to a nice run to relax you. You grab a treadmill, plug in your iPod and then as you select your pace, your hands are already damp…thanks to the sweat from the runner before you. Carrying a towel with you and using it is the most important thing to remember at the gym, according to Emily Post. The gym is one place where we just don’t need to deal with rudeness, and we do so often we don’t even realize it! Don’t be a hog; limit yourself on the machines when people are waiting, and please remember to lay off too much perfume – stick with deodorant!

We face tough situations daily, and sometimes all it takes is some common sense to figure out how to act in a way that is considerate and respectful. But sometimes it’s not that easy…and in times like that, you can rely on the timeless and true advice of Emily Post and her kin to lead you in the right direction.

Originally published July 2007
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