Correct though it is to employ a telephone for social purposes, there have been established certain rules in regard to it, and to offend against them is to show ignorance of etiquette.
It is not good form to reply to a written invitation with a telephone message, both because the manner of invitations should always be duplicated, and also that it is by no means certain that a hostess will receive a verbal message if it is sent through a maid.
Using first names
A vulgar habit is prevalent among young girls — that of too freely using the Christian names of their young male acquaintances. Girls, when grown up, do not use the Christian names or nicknames of young men unless they have some special reason for so doing.
An intimacy of years may be an excuse for retaining the use of the first name, for when Angelina in a pigtail has played hide and seek or blind man’s bluff with Edwin in knickerbockers, it is difficult to become suddenly ceremonious.
But acquaintances of a few months’ standing unless a love affair has changed the position of the parties toward each other is no excuse for excessive familiarity.
Lady and gentleman
There are some persons who seem to imagine it impolite to allude to a woman as a woman, and are bent on calling her a lady, while others allude to a man as a gentleman. It is always more correct to say “a nice girl” where the word girl is admissible (and nowadays an unmarried woman of forty may pose as a girl provided she looks like one), or where it is not to a allude to a woman as a pleasant or a charming or an attractive woman.
You talk of a sweet or a delightful woman, not of a sweet or a delightful “lady,” but in the case of an elderly dame, you occasionally say “a dear old lady” and “such a kind old lady,” “lady” being used as a mark of reverence for age. But, however old a man may be, he is always a man, never a “gentleman,” in conversational language. “A clever man” or “a charming man” is often alluded to, but never “a clever gentleman” and “a charming gentleman.”
Six or eight persons make a good number for an informal luncheon.
In the arrangement of luncheons, as well as dinners, there is a decided tendency to simplicity of effect. Not only is the menu shorter than in former years, but the dishes are lighter and not so rich, the equipment of silver, glass and china not so elaborate, and the display of flowers more simple.
At a luncheon, guests remove wraps in a dressing room on arrival, but hats are kept on. Gloves are removed when taking one’s seat at table.
The hostess may lead the way in going in to luncheon, walking beside a guest, or she may ask her friends to precede her. At an informal party, the hostess tells the guests where to sit instead of having name cards. Guests are not expected to remain more than half an hour after a luncheon.
Womanly dignity will always receive respect. Yet how many wives are there who do not demand respect of their husbands? They ask for admiration, devotion, yet know that a man’s nature will not cling, will not be constant, when he cannot look up to the woman he loves.
The mother who permits rudeness from her sons, the wife who permits it from her husband, the sweetheart who does not resent it in her lover, will all find themselves someday wondering why they are not treated with deference and consideration — and the real reason will be that they have permitted in themselves some lack of manners or of morals which has lowered them in the eyes of the men they love.