Thursday, January 20, 2011

First Things First

Hi, there.  Thank you for visiting and reading my Blog! I'm writing this in conjunction with the launch of my company, lovelymanners.

My intention in this blog is to comment once a week on modern day
circumstances I encounter in which "manners" play (or should play) a role.  I'll give tips regarding manners - not always obvious - that will help everyone involved feel comfortable.

Last year I trained at the Emily Post Institute and one of the most interesting things I learned was that Emily Post wrote her first etiquette book specifically for the immigrants flooding into the US in the early 1900's. Contrary to what people really think, Emily Post did not write her famous etiquette book for the NYC social elite! And it was never written to be a rigid code of manners.  She wrote her book for the masses congregating in American cities because it helped people understand in very practical terms how to act in ways which would help them to begin to form relationships with their new neighbors and colleagues. This growing American Middle Class now lived in very close quarters bringing together their different customs from all over the world.  There was no one standard that they all knew, and an authoritative guide was what everyone was looking for.  Emily Post wrote her book in 1922 and it quickly became the second non-fiction best seller after the Bible! (Seventeen Editions were printed over the next 85 years.)  People knew that to achieve their American Dream, they needed to understand how things worked here.  And throughout her book, Emily repeated that the most important thing was to treat all people with kindness and in an ethical and fair way - and this was just as important, if not more important, as knowing good manners.  Emily Post once said, "Whenever two people come together and their behavior affects one another, you have etiquette."  So think about etiquette not as a strict code of manners - but instructions to help all of us get along with one another.  Just like 90 years ago, etiquette is still a tool you can use to build great relationships.

So, here we go....just before Christmas my husband and I and another couple took our older sons to an infamous concert in Madison Square Garden called the "Jingle Ball".  We bought really good seats "for the kids" in the 6th row - and I thought it was going to be all about my son having a good time.  After all the teasing I give my kids about "today's music", I had one of my best nights EVER - six rows away from Katy Perry, Bruno Mars, Taio Cruz, Enrique Iglesias, Michael Bublé and others performing their current pop hits - one pop hit and one pop star after another - I danced all night long; and I think we, the parents, showed up on the Jumbotron screen dancing more than our kids did!  Needless to say, I had a blast!  So, here's the manners part. We were on the end of a row, and as people inside our row would leave and return during the evening, I wished that they knew the right way to pass someone in a row of seats.  Here's what you really should do:  First, say, "Excuse Me" to the person on the aisle and then to each person down the row while moving as quickly as you can to your seat while facing the FRONT - that is, TOWARD THE STAGE.  Do you know why? Because if we're talking about making people feel comfortable, if you trip or stumble you will be able to hold on to the back of the seat in front of you and fall toward the seat.  If you were turned around the other way, you could fall face-forward into a stranger's lap! Yes, this means showing your backside to each person in the row, but think about the alternative! (Also, if you're the one sitting, it's easiest to turn your body sideways with your knees facing the way the person is heading - often much easier than even standing up to let the person pass.)

So that's something to remember when you're at the movies, in the theater, or at an amazing concert! Pass with your backside.

I'll continue with new situations and manners each week. Until then, just remember manners are tools you use to show consideration, honesty, and respect. So if you don't know what to do in a certain situation, try to think what kind of behavior would exhibit those three values and you'll figure out the right "manner!"

Please pass this blog link around to friends, colleagues - anyone you think might benefit.  And you can subscribe to it with your email so that my blog comes to your inbox when I post.  Also check out my website at for my manners placemats which will be available soon! They'll be on sale on my website and in stores.

Jill :)


  1. LOVE this....and you! Best of luck always!

  2. Jill, rock on!! Let me share an experience. My friend, whom you don't know, and I are frequent visitors to Yankee Stadium. We can't stand all the interruptions for beer,either passing beers down the aisle or scrunching in our seats so some dude can get past us to get a beer, or the seemingly endless bathroom runs. We feel like asking if any of these guys are there to see the game. At least most do pass with their back turned to us.

  3. Eric! Thanks! At least they pass with their backs to you....but I'm sure it's not their good manners! They just don't want to miss any more of the game than they have to!!! :)

  4. Hi Jill!
    Congratulation on starting your Blog and your business. Congrats as well, to you lovely Mom for having such a lovely daughter!

    I think you are definitely on to something! Everyday manners seem to be a bit of a lost art. Addressing this, the modern way, on line, in manageable bites is a great idea. I would love to see an ask Jill section!

    Best to you! I am adding your link right now.


  5. Marc from Gso asks is there a maximum weight limit on walking through the row to get to your seat. For example, if you are over 300 lbs should you face the person you are passing? Huge mistake opening this up for people like me but good luck. And ok to cut me off at any time.

  6. Probably if you are that overweight you can still pass with your backside. They should just make sure they say "Excuse Me" to every single person they pass! (And what is Gso, may I ask, Mr. Magod?)

  7. Gso is short for Greensboro. You know like NYC only smaller. By the way, if and when you discuss public passing of gas, please consult me since I am a trained professional.

  8. OK, Dr. Magod. No one dares to comment after you (even though you are an Internal Medicine Doctor.)

    But I will. Public passing of gas is just like burping in public. If you CAN hold it in, please excuse yourself and do so elsewhere without people around. If you CAN NOT hold it in - just as with a burp - please just say "I'm Sorry" or "Excuse Me" and try not to giggle and draw attention to yourself. Teaching our children all of this might come more easily than teaching our 12-year old husbands. You, Dr. Magod, are one of the latter.

  9. Yesterday, on a very crowded flight there was very little overhead space available for carry-ons. I asked my seat-mate if it was OK for me to remove his small camera bag, slide my bag into the space and then replace his bag on top of mine. He said "no, since it was a valuable camera." Thus his small bag took up an entire section of the overhead and I had to place my bag in a space about 3 rows further back. What should I have said to him?

  10. Dear Anonymous on Airplane, please see new post this week. Your question is answered.

  11. Jilly !
    You are doing a great job! Manners Matter! Proud of you!
    Your Mom


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