Bookshelf: Tiffany's Table Manners

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

When I was about thirteen-years-old my mother gave me a copy of Tiffany’s Table Manners for Teenagers as a bit joke (I think she also hoped it would rub off on me a little). At the time, I didn’t find it funny and it gathered dust on a bookshelf for years. Today I cherish it, and I only wish that my mother had inscribed it in some manner to remind me of what a vile, surly teenager I had been. It’s a great gift for a teen, or really anyone who could use a healthy does of manners mentoring. The book was originally published in 1961 and its vintage advice is half the charm. To give you a taste of the tone, here are the first sentences of the book:
It is customary for the young man to help the young lady on his right to be seated. When you have both been seated, don’t look around like a startled beetle. Turn directly to the young lady on your right and start talking.
Despite the sometimes-antiquated advice, this book is actually a useful guide proper table manners.

EDITOR'S NOTE: My mother informs me that she did not give me this book, rather a family friend did. Still, someone should have mentioned how awful I was. Also, my mother noted, "
I think the point of the stem is to keep the wine at a desirable temperature," which is really sweet, she must be forgetting how quickly I drink.

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