Reference to Bodily Function in the Political Arena, Vol. 14, Issue 29

"Cousin Marie says politicians aren't gentlemen."

- Agatha Christie, Death on the Nile

A line has been crossed, and Etiquetteer is very unhappy about it.

Reference to Bodily Function, outside one's doctor's office, is not Perfectly Proper. Etiquetteer has said this before, and sadly will have to go on saying it. Don't think for a moment that this pleases Etiquetteer.

In the aftermath of last week's debate of Republican presidential candidates hosted by Fox News, popular (populist?) candidate Donald Trump abandoned forever any possible illusion anyone, no matter how deluded, might still cling to that he was still a viable candidate or a gentleman. Readers probably already know how he did this: by explaining that Fox News debate moderator Megyn Kelly was suffering from what used to be known as "female complaint" during the debate. Etiquetteer believes he made this suggestion because Ms. Kelly held him to account about previous, and very public, disparaging comments about women who had criticized him, nor would she accept his attempt to suggest that he only criticized one particular woman.

How might one feel if Mr. Trump had suggested this about Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany? How might one feel if Mr. Trump had suggested this about Dilma Rousseff, President of Brazil? How might one feel if Mr. Trump had suggested this about one's mother?

Mr. Trump's behavior has always been the antithesis of presidential, and this incident confirms it for anyone who might wish to think otherwise. It is the antithesis of Perfect Propriety. It is the antithesis of Chivalry. Any man who could make such a suggestion, petty and vulgar, makes clear that he is not fit for public office, or any role in public life, and should slink in shame to his (in this case, gilded onyx) corner. Etiquetteer calls on those who might continue to support Mr. Trump as a candidate to condemn this behavior publicly.

A Brief Post-Election Message from Etiquetteer, Vol. 11, Issue 17

Etiquetteer calls on all Americans to be gracious in victory or defeat now that this election cycle has concluded. Gloating, taunting, whining, threatening, and name-calling do nothing to forward the United States, or to heal the viciously polarized political rift. Perfect Propriety has its place in reuniting a divided citizenry.

What to Wear to the Polls, Vol. 7, Issue 19

As if this year's political campaign weren't fraught with enough etiquette minefields as it is, now the state of Pennsylvania is involving itself in what voters can and cannot wear at the polls. Read all about it here.   At least this case doesn't involve visible undergarments -- at least not yet -- but it does highlight the junction of Free Speech, Undue Influence, and Perfect Propriety. At issue is whether or not voters may wear clothes, particularly T-shirts, promoting the Candidate of Their Choice.   Why, one might ask, is this so important?  Because polling places, within a legally mandated radius, are intended to be neutral spaces. In other words, nothing within them should be thought to sway a voter toward one candidate over the other. This is why one sees a ring of signs or volunteers around a certain point at a polling place, but not within it. And Etiquetteer has not been shy about chastising overeager campaign volunteers clustering too close!  Etiquetteer believes the need for neutrality in a polling place deserves respect from partisan voters, but not so much that all candidate identification needs to be suppressed.  After careful thought, Etiquetteer is ready to draw the line of Perfect Propriety at the wearing of buttons and ribbons, but not T-shirts or other printed clothing. In other words, accessories are OK, but not clothes. Etiquetteer freely admits that part of this decision comes from a desire to see more citizens show respect for this Important Civic Function by dressing up to vote. Ninety percent of men, and all gentlemen, look better in a suit and tie anyway, and there's no reason American ladies can't appear in something better than blue jeans and hoodies.  Partisan exhibitionists can bring their candidate gear in a backpack to change into after voting if they must.