Introducing Emily Post(modern)

February 4, 2015

 

Since beginning this blog a year ago, many people have called me a "Modern Day Emily Post".  Any debutante would consider this the ultimate compliment, and I am no exception.  Emily Post is the epitome of grace and elegance and is the face of all things having to do with etiquette.  She is the original.  Think Miss Manners before there was a Miss Manners.

 

Born Emily Price, she was raised in Baltimore, MD. After a childhood spent being educated at home, she was sent to Miss Graham's Finishing School in New York, after which her life became nothing but cotillions (the New England version of a Debutante) and balls.  She met her husband at one such ball and married him in 1892, at which time she took a honeymoon tour of Europe before settling down in a house on Washington Square in New York.  The marriage would only last 13 years, as her husband was notorious for affairs with chorus girls and actresses.  Ain't NOBODY got time for THAT, especially not Emily Post, but everything she had learned would stay with her.  In 1922, at the age of 50 she wrote the book, quite literally, on Etiquette, which became a national bestseller and the rest, as they say, is history.  Her guidelines to executing anything from the perfect conversation to the perfect dinner party are still used to this day.  She was as witty and smart as she was insightful and thoughtful in her words, and made manners and etiquette accessible to the everyman, when for so long they had only been a privilege of the Upper Class.  Today her great-grandchildren continue her legacy through The Emily Post Institute, which Emily Post herself founded in 1946, publishing works of their own under the Emily Post name, but still adhering to her very particular writing style.

 

I have been a student of Emily Post, either directly or indirectly, my whole life.  I've been attending formal dinners and black tie galas since I was a little girl.  I know which fork to use, I know how to introduce people with thoughtful details, and I have such good posture that my high school AP Psychology teacher once asked me to stay after class to ask me if I had been to finishing school as a girl and had my wrist slapped with a ruler every time I slumped.  Surely she was looking for some childhood trauma to uncover - she WAS a Psychology teacher after all - but I simply replied, "No mam, I just know how to sit like a lady."  Thank you Emily Post... and the army of elegant women who raised me, of course.

 

So yes, I do consider myself a bit of an expert on all things etiquette.  I wouldn't have earned my white kid gloves as a Deb if I weren't!  I throw a mean dinner party, I know how to write and when to send an appropriate thank you note, and I can fold napkins like origami (not as hard as it looks).  BUT - all of that said, as I grow older and more experienced living as a young adult in a time and place that doesn't particularly concern itself with etiquette, I find that there are certain circumstances that I am ill equipped for.  And I'm not alone.  Being my group of friends' resident Emily Post, I get asked questions all the time about things ranging from how to navigate the morning after shame spiral of a one night stand to the etiquette of a visit to your gynecologist.

 

These are things that neither Miss Post nor her descendants have/are covering in their publications and I think it's a missed opportunity of epic proportions.  So I am taking it upon myself to fill the void.  It is now my pleasure to introduce you to:

 

 

Emily Post(modern)

 

You'll have to forgive the rudimentary Photoshop job and just go with me here.  What I'm trying to achieve is a meeting of minds... A collision of worlds... Things that as a Displaced Debutante I am intimately familiar with.  I have lived navigating the balance between old and new.  At first I thought I had just come up with a pretty good pun on "Post", but I actually really like using the allusion to "postmodern" because, as a movement, postmodernism was marked by a referential attitude toward lost traditions and history to form a new way of looking at things... which is how I feel I have always lived my life.  So, with the utmost reverential attitude toward the path that the one and only Emily Post has paved for us, we march bravely onward into the unknown, to find our way through circumstances yet to be navigated with our signature grace and good humor... all the while protected by parody law.

 

This is going to be fun, y'all.  And be sure to stay tuned for my first entry in this series...

 

 

Emily Post's Etiquette:  

Manners for Dining at Chipotle.

 

 

... and please post in the comments any and all things you might want Emily Post(modern)'s advice on!

 

With Grace and Good Humor,

 

 

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My name is Mary Lane Haskell and my two "claims to fame" are that I have Dolly Parton's fax number and that Reese Witherspoon once liked a post on my Instagram.  I am an actor, a writer, and a profound Chipotle enthusiast making my way in Los Angeles while trying to stay true to my family's southern roots, all with grace and a touch a good humor.  I'm so glad you're here!

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