Thursday, July 24, 2008

We are the makers of manners

My fellow blogger Wayne just left a great comment:

The reminds me of what I consider to be a terrible plague in America and that is the thinking that a consensus must be formed before one can act. IMO, good leadership and a good bold world-view on living would be to put up a sign that says no shoes allowed in house.... Go for it Matthew

This reminds me of a passage in Shakespeare's play Henry V. Henry V, the king of England is told after meeting his future bride, a French princess, that it is not the fashion for French maidens to kiss before they are married. He replies:

O Kate, nice customs curtsy to great kings. Dear
Kate, you and I cannot be confined within the weak
list of a country's fashion: we are the makers of
manners, Kate; and the liberty that follows our
places stops the mouth of all find-faults; as I will
do yours, for upholding the nice fashion of your
country in denying me a kiss: therefore, patiently
and yielding.

So what about the so-called 'etiquette experts'? It may not be the custom in Britain and the United States for people to remove their shoes at the door. Yet this should not be an obstacle to us free men and women adopting it.

We are the makers of manners.

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