- Manners have changed throughout history.
- The Greeks, for example, dined while reclining on beds. Before the Renaissance, tablecloths were used as napkins.
- Today, we have done away with many old-fashioned manners — and in most cases, we're better for it.
You want to come across like a decent, civilized person, right?
Good manners are key.
It's a somewhat misguided idea, though. Manners aren't static concepts. Etiquette varies across cultures and sometimes fades away with time.
For example, today, you'd be upset if your friend cleaned their hands on your nice, new tablecloth. But that sort of behavior was perfectly acceptable centuries ago.
Remember that next time you hear someone starting to complain about how people used to have better manners.
Here are some strange old customs that have fallen by the wayside:
1. Passing out to express your emotions
There's a reason Victorian heroines always seem to be swooning in stories.
It's easy to blame their clothing. Corsets in particular have a terrible reputation as a restrictive, harmful garment, but most women throughout the centuries didn't lace them tightly enough to cause health problems.
In an article published in the Journal of Victorian Culture, Victoria Bates focuses on how fainting often came into play with female witnesses in trials in the 1800s. Feigning unconsciousness may have been a way for women to conform to Victorian norms and assumptions about gender, modesty, and health.
"A simple loss of consciousness was the blank canvas onto which witnesses projected their own concerns about appropriate female behavior and particularly emotionality," Bates writes.
2. Wiping your hands on the dinner table — and rolling your eyes at forks
Today, if you tossed aside your fork and smeared your greasy hands on the table cloth at a restaurant, people would think you'd been raised by wolves.
But before the Renaissance, that was actually the norm. National Geographic reported medieval era table cloths were there for people to wipe their hands on. There were limits, however. Spitting and sneezing on the cloth was considered rude, although expectorating away from the table was just fine.
Meanwhile, according to National Geographic, forks were considered effeminate and suspicious utensils.
Things didn't change until the 1500s, when table manners became a mark of the European elite.
3. Dueling to sort out conflicts
Back in the days before Twitter beefs and harsh emails, people — mostly men — sometimes settled tiffs with pistols, canes, and swords.
Into the 1800s, dueling was considered the honorable way for gentlemen to save face and satisfy their besmirched honor. In fact, the activity came with its own complicated etiquette rules.
Take a "code duello" from 18th century Ireland, as printed in "Famous American Duels" by Don Seitz, for instance.
The guide dictates that if the person who started the fight apologized first, the fighting could be averted. Otherwise, the combatants would take up their weapons and follow a whole complex choreography of trying to kill, injure, or scare one another over a spat.
The code highlights several potential reasons for duels, including everything from insulting ladies to insinuating someone cheated at cards.
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
via Strategy http://read.bi/2sZQtyM
October 21, 2017 at 12:39PM