Etiquetteer can think of six pieces of Perfect Propriety that we might bring back for more Gracious Living:
- The term and function of "collation." A collation is a light, informal meal, such as a continental breakfast or after-theatre supper. Etiquetteer supposes that an afternoon tea could be considered a form of collation. Perhaps Etiquetteer just likes the idea of a big percolator in the dining room with a tray of delicious pastries.
- General understanding of table stationery for formal functions. Etiquetteer gnashes his teeth in frustration to see people look at a placecard and have no idea what it's for. A table card is what is received on arrival at a formal dinner, and it includes one's name and table number on a tiny card in a tiny, unsealed envelope. A place card is a card with one's name on it used to mark one's chair at one's table. At less formal function for which designated seating is necessary, often place cards are presented on arrival so that guests may choose their own seats. Etiquetteer always hopes this will keep diners from tipping their chairs forward or covering them with bits of clothing to mark their places - so inelegant.
- Egg cups, and not just for the traditional service of soft-boiled eggs at breakfast. With the proliferation of artificial sweeteners, Etiquetteer uses some beautiful old transfer-ware egg cups from a family service to provide those essential packets. But some mornings there's nothing like a good three-minute egg in an egg cup.
- Boutonnieres, real ones. Especially with the spring coming on after this Historic Winter, it might be considered groundbreaking for lapel florals to break out in spring. Remember, a Perfectly Proper boutonniere is only the flower; no backing of ferns or other greenery is needed.
- Cups and saucers instead of mugs. At different times Etiquetteer has contemplated starting a Campaign to Bring Back the Saucer. In the hurly burly of the workplace, that's probably too fragile-appearing to sustain, but at home, how restful. And one never has to worry about where to put the spoon when one has a saucer.
- Candlelight, flattering to all, and creates an atmosphere of both mystery and coziness.