"Don't you know the meaning of propriety?"

Propriety, noun:
Conformity to established standards of behavior or manners, suitability, rightness or justice, see "etiquette."

Gold star
if you can
the reference.

omework assignment
if you can't:

And that's a really good homework assignment
for a Friday.
(You can thank me later.)

Fortunately, I
DO know the meaning of propriety, thanks to another treasure from Junk Bonanza!

While wandering the aisles, my friend Flannery and I happened upon a booth that was so full of wordy goodness, we could hardly believe our eyes.

Vintage word-related materials of all kinds!
Flash cards!
Old fortunes!
And these incredibly swell vocabulary cards:

I picked up a nice stack of them, because in my line of work you never know what you might need later.


I read a newspaper article last week that made me think. It was about how people used to be much more polite and well-mannered back when everybody smoked.

You would offer the person you were with (stranger or not) a cigarette. They would either politely decline, or accept the cigarette. Then you would offer to light it for them.

When's the last time you offered a stranger
on the subway one of your candy bars?

And further offered to remove the wrapper for them?

That's one of the reasons I love my old magazines. They were produced during a time when everyone knew the meaning of propriety.

Sure, there were problems. Plenty of them.

We were just much better at hiding the problems.

Which some days I think wasn't all bad.


Allie said...

I've been trying to get back to the 50's for years - can't quite pull it off. Especially since I wasn't born til '59, lol. But oh the nice manners everyone had!

VO said...

I can't decide if it's better to hide all that stuff or be able to look at it for what it is.

Somehow looking at it makes me feel freer, so I don't have to pretend.

susan m hinckley said...

I agree, and yet I could do with a little less Jerry Springer and a little more clean laundry in the world. It's a conundrum to be sure.

VO said...

LOL, I look at Jerry Springer as an absurdest melodrama. 'cept that I don't look at him at all.

The world could do with more clean laundry, so off I go to help that effort.

luanne said...

Several times now I’ve begun and abandoned a comment, unable to clarify my thoughts on this very chewy topic of propriety. Great flashcard, and lucky you for finding all these paper gems!

The longer I ponder it, the more I begin to feel slightly fuddy-duddyish for assuming (as of course I do) that my notion of propriety is correct. It seems the notion of propriety evolves with each generation, and not always for the worse, corsets and gloves having now become optional attire at least.

That link between smoking and politeness is interesting... to me, it seems that so much unexpressed discontent, insecurity, disappointment, and anger was psychically vented through the slow exhalations of our parents’ generation. Propriety back then (the days of my youth) often felt so emotionally repressive. I’m glad our generation championed greater openness.

But the pendulum has swung so far that now it seems any fool wanting his/her 15 minutes of attention simply hangs out ever-dirtier laundry for alleged public cleansing. What are these people thinking??? My inner fuddy duddy can’t help but cringe and wonder.

susan m hinckley said...

LuAnne -- your little essay was such a lovely response! I'm tempted to post it on its own, because you've hit my own particular nail right on the head.

And you've gotten me wondering whether this generation has any notion of propriety? Or do we only have "political correctness" (which is not the same thing). I feel that the entire notion of propriety might be considered "fuddy duddy"? Just thinking out loud.

luanne said...

oops! didn't mean to leave an essay, but your topic provided ample food for continuing thought. thank you for that!

as to present day propriety, i believe as ever it survives in an evolving form. although, when i drive by the teenyboppers at our middle school bus stop and they're wearing lingerie as outwear, i do sometimes have my doubts...

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