by Dana Gornitzki
“It may be said that the books already published on the subject of ‘manners’ and ‘etiquette’ are sufficiently numerous for the wants of the community; but to this remark we would reply, that although the broad principles of manners remain the same, yet, the minutiae are continually altering and varying, and modes of speech and action which were considered the height of politeness a few years ago would be pronounced, at any rate very old-fashioned if used and exhibited in the present day.” - A passage from Etiquette of Good Society by Lady Gertrude Elizabeth Campell written in 1893.
As someone who believes that they were born in the wrong era, it’s hard to believe that these words date back almost 120 years. Am I the only one to think that people back then were so much more civilised?
In some strange way, it’s almost a relief to read Lady Campbell’s thoughts as they still very much apply today.
It’s not that manners or etiquette have changed, it’s more that we constantly evolve (and, yes, many people may pay less attention!). It’s obviously something enough people want to read, speak and rant about: tap ‘etiquette’ into the little Google search machine, and - pop - over 32 million results show up.
The idea behind MIEN Magazine is not to rant and rave about the decline of etiquette (although there is some of that too, naturally!). MIEN Magazine’s goal is to explore and embrace old traditions - see if we can’t bring them back and take away the stigma that’s often associated even with just saying the word etiquette.
Because writing and receiving a letter is lovely.
Because holding a door is the kind thing to do (for a man or woman).
Because debating if chivalry is dead is insightful and fun.
Because speaking on one’s mobile or sending a text in another person’s company is - er - rude.
Because a dinner party is cosy and a treat.
And because the list goes on…
What’s reassuring is that there are so many nostalgics and romantics out there; gentlemen and gentlewoman who long for a more civilised way of living.
So, let’s welcome evolving traditions, let’s rant about rudeness, share opinions about transgressions, and embrace a penchant for the nostalgic.
Please and thank you.