ladyvyola: a drawing of a 1930's butler serving a seated young woman, captioned "Vyola" (elegant)
From Chapter Twenty-One - The Masculine Graces

"It is a very nice thing, however, to send flowers for decoration to a girl who is giving a party. I once knew a charming gentleman with imagination enough to do that. He filled my apartment with flowers the afternoon I was giving a large cocktail party -- and sent along his Filipino butler, too, to help out."

p. 184, Amy Vanderbilt's Complete Guide to Etiquette: A Guide to Gracious Living, copyright 1952, 1954

I think she fills a whole bingo card with just one sentence. Now that's impressive.
ladyvyola: a drawing of a 1930's butler serving a seated young woman, captioned "Vyola" (elegant)
From Chapter Forty-Two - Gracious Living Without Servants

"It is obviously impossible for a woman doing all her own work and tending several nursery-age children to conduct her home on the same lines as her neighbor does who employs both cook and butler and whose half-grown children are away at boarding school."

p. 380, Amy Vanderbilt's Complete Guide to Etiquette: A Guide to Gracious Living, copyright 1952, 1954
ladyvyola: a drawing of a 1930's butler serving a seated young woman, captioned "Vyola" (elegant)
Pick up the nearest book to you.
Turn to page 45.
The first sentence describes your sex life in 2012.


Dr. and Mrs. Grant Kingsley
announce that the marriage of their daughter
Penelope
to
Mr. George Frank Carpenter
has been postponed from
Friday, the ninth of June
until
Friday, the eighth of September
at noon
St. Mary's Church
San Francisco


Well. That certainly portends drama this year.

Serves me right for re-reading one of my favorite works of fantasy, Amy Vanderbilt's Complete Guide to Etiquette: A Guide to Gracious Living, copyright 1954.

Nestled amidst the rustling taffeta, crisp linen, and engraved calling cards is such entrenched racism, classism, and sexism that it makes you long for the enlightened era depicted in Mad Men. One of my favorites is in Part Four: Home Entertaining, under a section captioned "Dinner with One Maid":

Pretention is so very uncomfortable.

Sing it, Amy Vanderbilt, sing it.