Monday, January 4, 2010

Pinky's Extraordinary Adventure in Etiquette

The Wedding Gazebo continues to yield up its secrets! Today I discovered that Pinky had her own thrilling experience there. She had gone to sit there for a moment alone, still rather anxious about whether she had fulfilled her hostess duties adequately, and also rather sad. She came out of this reverie to find, beside her, a beautiful blue book. Letters in gold adorned the cover and she could just make them out by the unearthly light of the gazebo: “Emily Post’s Etiquette” were the words she found there. Also, a date from misty antiquity: 1955.

She opened the book to find a message from Emily herself! With her pink heart beating quickly she read: “With BEST wishes! Emily Post.”

She felt certain suddenly, that she would be able to achieve success as hostess of P-in-B, an honor she had never really felt she deserved. She continued to feel this happy certainty in herself even after reading Emily’s rules of wedding etiquette, many of which didn’t seem to apply to Big Bed Land at all. But that didn’t matter somehow. Pinky now sleeps with the signature of her patroness under her pillow and no longer has those terrible dreams about having put the place-cards for the Wedding Supper in the wrong place or having forgotten to set out the Wedding Guest Book so that everyone could sign it.

Here’s a passage that especially cheered her (she loves the image of Emily in a garden of language, pulling a word out by the roots):

“It is hard to say why the word “etiquette” is so inevitably considered merely a synonym of the word “correct,” as though it were no more than the fixed answer to a sum in arithmetic. In fact, it might be well to pull the word “correct” out by the roots and substitute “common sense.” In short, I wish that those whose minds are focused on precise obedience to every precept would instead ask themselves: “What is the purpose of this rule? Does it help to make life pleasanter? Does it make the social machinery run more smoothly? Does it add beauty? Is it essential to the code of good taste of to ethics?” If it serves any of these purposes, it is a rule to be cherished; but if it serves no helpful purpose, it is certainly not worth taking seriously.”

A fine approach to any rule, in my opinion!

Some points of wedding etiquette, Pinky realized (using her common sense now that she had been encouraged to do so) would serve no useful purpose in BBL, but were interesting nonetheless:

Household linen, especially if very beautiful, is often displayed with the wedding presents, but in cities such as New York, Washington, or Boston, it has never been considered good taste to make a formal display of the bride’s personal trousseau. She may, of course, show intimate friends some of her things, but her trousseau is never spread out on exhibition.”

Goat’s P.S. to Wedding Etiquette: At a wedding, it is not advisable to take the form of a Giant Goat and sweep down to pluck the bride from the Wedding Gazebo and carry her up to the top of the nearest sky-scraper while hopefully she is screaming in a piercing manner. I asked Piggles, and she said it was not advisable, even as joke. Just so you know. But I'm really not so sure about etiquette having anything to do with common sense. If the Giant Goat was just meant as a JOKE...
Pinky to Goat: Here's what I'm thinking. What's common sense for a pirate might be different from what's common sense for a giraffe. If the bride were a pirate herself, this joke, I believe, would be perfectly appropriate. But then you'd better not complain when she unsheaths her sword and takes off one of Giant Goat's ears!
Goat to Pinky: Of course I wouldn't complain - such things are all in a day's work to a pirate. But I thank you for making it clear that pirates might have different rules of etiquette. I'm going to ask Bink to look for a manual.


  1. What a privilege, to listen to the good folk of BBL as they ponder these weighty matters. It's like being transported to ancient Greece and sitting in a corner, listening to Socrates himself. And how magical it is that Emily Post's inscribed book should appear just when it was needed!

  2. Dear Sandra,
    yes it was a remarkable apparition of Emily Post's book! I had no idea myself when I sat down to write something for the blog that this had all taken place. I do love being surprised by the Animals! One reason I finally decided to help Platypuss get started with this blog was a desire for a writing project that would be more light-hearted than the states I usually get into about writing - less long-term and less goal-oriented, nothing I could stress too much about.

    I love what you said about ancient Greece! I do feel echoes of the very distant past in the imagination of Big Bed Land. And there might be a reason for this - I learned recently that ancient puppet theater preceded human theater, with evidence going back possibly 10,000 years. Animal figures in drama, like dolls, which also made up part of sacred ceremonies in pre-classical Greece, have a real place in the shadows of the imagination...Thanks for visiting and sharing your thoughts!

  3. I would appreciate Pinky passing on Emily Post's advice on bathroom etiquette. Say when said bathroom is shared by 5 people including 3 teenage, or nearly teenage girls. Pinky, would you and Emily consider wet towels left on countertops, and NO toilet paper left on the roll to be pleasanter? Common sense? Hmph. I do hope that armed with that noble tome you shall be more successful than I at making that social machinery run smoothly. Please fax book this way. Yours truly, Mouse Tulip

  4. Margot from Pinky:
    I understand more about Animal etiquette than Monster etiquette, so I went back to the Wedding Gazebo to ask for help from Emily Post. And guess what? She responded to me in Mouse Fairy form as Mouse Emily Wallflower! And I have come to learn that wallflowers can have quite a mischievous side...

    Mouse Tulip from Mouse Emily Wallflower:
    Your situation is drastic. Young Monsters delight in turning rules into battles, and at this fever pitch, your situation requires changing the nature of the battleground! As a Mouse Fairy who loves an orderly bathroom, you are entitled to take the following actions:

    1. Do not ever replace the toilet paper roll, but carry a supply with you in your own lovely bath bag which may hold other personal bath items as well. (If you do not have a supply of bath treats like bubbles, fragrant bath balls, and toys, start buying them or making them now until your bag is full.)

    2. You have several options with the wet towels. One is to scatter them in odd places - like on the walkway to the house, or hanging from a tree uin the yard ntil there are no towels left in the house (except for the one in your closet) or the nearly-teenagers remove them and wash them, whichever comes first.

    You will explain that there is no way for Mouse Emily Wallflower to keep herself from playing pranks when she sees such inharmonious social and material disorder.

    With BEST wishjes,
    Mouse Emily Wallflower

  5. I do hope we will be treated to more advice from Mouse Emily Wallflower. As Monster E. knows, I am a fan of all things etiquette and have my own beloved and much-thumbed edition of Emily Post. I confess to giggling at some of the finer points, so Mouse Emily Wallflower's impish spirit makes me especially happy.

  6. Dear Audrey,
    I very much liked your idea of Mouse Emily Wallflower being on hand to give more advice on life and manners as time goes by.

    Now this will seem unbelievable, but it is true nonetheless: the very afternoon after I read your comment, a student made me the present of a MOUSE PUPPET! A beautiful white mouse. I knew at once it could only be Mouse Emily Wallflower. I marveled, as I have so often in the past, at the Animal apparitions that are constantly around us... You can look forward to not only hearing from but seeing dear Mouse Emily in the future!

  7. Thanks for all for posting the comments. It helps lot of people to some interesting facts. Wedding etiquette can sometimes be weary; however it is important particularly at traditional weddings that we track all the rules that come with the wedding. One of the most irritating things is to see people move around or checking out their watches every second like they have somewhere better to be. Doing or performing in such a way is rude and wrong.