ASK Musings

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November 2017



Manners by Kate Spade

Written by , Posted in Reviews

Three Stars

Best for: Someone looking for a book of miscellaneous etiquette tips and lovely little watercolor illustrations.

In a nutshell: Iconic fashion designer Kate Spade offers some tips for being gracious in your daily interactions

Line that sticks with me: “But might doesn’t equal right, so to all ad hoc experts and lecturers please don’t pontificate on the paint. Lecture halls have seats; museums and galleries don’t.”

Why I chose it: I bought this at least two years ago. I reviewed the second in this little serious of books, ‘Style,’ during one of the Cannonball Reads. Plus, it’s an etiquette book.

Review: You all know I love etiquette books, right? I find manners fascinating. I know that some things we view as good manners are just classist ways of being, but I also think that manners are also a way to be respectful of others. I think this line from Blast From the Past sums it up perfectly:

Troy: “He said, good manners are just a way of showing other people we have respect for them. See, I didn’t know that, I thought it was just a way of acting all superior.”

I have three bookshelves full of etiquette and style books. One of them is from the 1920s. I find them fascinating. To the point that now I have my own etiquette website. This book is a bit of a hodgepodge, with only the loosest idea of organization or theme. But that’s okay. It’s fun to look at, and for the most part the tips were spot on.

However, throughout, Ms. Spade includes some quotes from herself and from her husband. And one (from her husband Andy) I found to be extremely distasteful:

“Have you ever seen an 80-year-old woman look great with a tattoo?”

First off, why limit this to women? As written, Mr. Spade seems to be suggesting that perhaps there are men who look great with tattoos, but not women. That’s sexist, and certainly not a sign of good manners.

But also … I have. Check these folks out. (There are a lot of pictures of dudes here, but also of women, and they are awesome.) It’s just a graceless comment, and is particularly out of place in a book on manners.

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