Several recent items in the news have highlighted a need in our society. Perhaps a revival of sorts could come from such an opportunity with one of those yellow rubber wristbands with the initials WWEPS?
Clearly the acronym is what would Emily Post say?
Take for example the high school student who asked Miss America to his prom. Yes, the young man violated school rules. But how many occasions does one have to ask Miss America to his prom?
Some clerk or chaperone would eschew surely a letter, or other traditional form of a proper invitation, without ever reaching the young lady so she could make her own decision.
A tweet would be entirely inappropriate and stalking would rattle the foundations of propriety and the law. I suspect the Post institute also would rule out any attempt at a redux of the scene from the movie Say Anything when John Cusack held up a boom box blasting a Peter Gabriel song (In Your Eyes) to express his affections to his intended.
In fact, emilypost.com contains an Online Etiquette Encyclopedia called Etipedia. It would probably serve the majority of the world to consult it prior to acting in a way that is embarrassing or just downright insensitive.
In historical context, it should be noted that the young man who asked Miss America to the prom was rejected, made national news headlines, and then received the consequence of in-school suspension will always be remembered as “that guy.”
If it turns out his life goes well or poorly it matters little. When he runs into people from high school or attends reunions people will whisper, “Hey, there’s the guy who asked Miss America to the prom. Wish I had thought of it first!”
With the sort of hubris the young man displayed, it seems conceivable he will show up at his reunion with a wife (who is a real hottie) and regale old chums with stories of how he made his first $100 million and the work of his charitable foundation. Who knows? Maybe his hottie wife is the Miss America he asked to the prom. Hope springs eternal and life is stranger than fiction.
As far as the issue of saying inappropriate things whether public or private, much has been made of the owner of the L.A. Clippers making bigoted statements. If he had consulted the Etipedia, he could have read this important and informative item:
The Good Conversationalist
How we speak is just as important as what we actually say. And what we choose not to say may be just as powerful as what we do. People who converse well think clearly before sharing their thoughts and ideas and are able to respectfully listen when it is not their turn to talk.
Several other sage bits of advice have resonated over the years with respect to the spoken word. One that comes to mind in this case attributed to everyone from Twain to Wilde to Lincoln reads:
It is better to remain silent and thought a fool than to open one’s mouth and remove all doubt.