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  • An Uncommon History of Common Courtesy
  • Written by Bethanne Patrick
  • Format: Hardcover | ISBN: 9781426208133
  • Our Price: $40.00
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An Uncommon History of Common Courtesy

How Manners Shaped the World

Written by Bethanne PatrickAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Bethanne Patrick

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Synopsis|Excerpt

Synopsis

With engaging and artfully presented text, including sidebars on media mavens throughout history, social gaffes, and archaic manners, this book is as entertaining as it is informative. Readers delve into cultural similarities and differences through lively passages, colorful photography, and sidebars on unique history. Topics include Courtesies and Greetings, Communication and Correspondence, Dining and Entertaining, Hierarchies and Protocol, Hospitality and Occasions, Amusements and Institutions, Boundaries and Cultural Differences, New Technology and Old Manners. Whether you are planning a trip abroad or just want a fascinating, browsable read, find out what is universal and what is merely a product of one's culture.

Excerpt

20 Kinds of Kisses
 
Some cultures—including England and America, until relatively recently— do not have a tradition of social kissing. In these societies, handshakes and sometimes hugs are the most common greetings.
But many other cultures have been kissing in greeting for hundreds of years, and have evolved particular habits. Most fall under the ancient Roman category of osculum, or a kiss on the cheek. (Those classification- happy Romans also delineated basium as a kiss on the lips and savolium as a “deep kiss.”)
 
Unlike the other types of kisses (some historians specify 20 kinds of kisses, but they refer to purpose, not physicality), the kiss on the cheek is usually given in friendship, greeting, comfort, or respect. In France, the tradition is known as faire la bise and generally refers to a kiss on each cheek. However, the number of kisses given varies widely according to region in France—and it also varies in other countries. In Brazil two kisses are standard, but a third might be offered for “luck” if the recipient is unmarried. One of the most entrenched traditions is in the Netherlands, where kisses of greeting between friends and relatives always number three. Women kiss both males and females three times in succession, but men generally reciprocate only with women. With other men, they con- fine physical greetings to a handshake. Although the three kisses can look like an awkward head-bobbing dance, it is terribly impolite to refuse.
 
Why? “It’s a Dutch thing,” is the answer.
 
But wait! Kissing three times on alternating cheeks is also traditional in Egypt, Russia, Slovenia, Serbia, Bosnia, Herzegovina, Macedonia, and Montenegro. Hmmm. Maybe not such a “Dutch thing” after all.
Praise

Praise

“The sharply designed and strikingly illustrated book offers page-length discussions of everything from “Ring Kissing” to “Close Talkers.” Concise biographies of significant figures in the history of good behavior are interspersed tactfully throughout: Erasmus, Mrs. Beeton, Lady Bird Johnson.” –Washington Post

"Refinement in table manners signals that a person has taken time to consider what best suits other people, whether they're seated at left or right, or across the table," declares the brand-new "An Uncommon History of Common Courtesy: How Manners Shaped the World" (National Geographic, $40) by Bethanne Patrick. "No wonder that elaborate dinners are often a precursor to being hired in large, formal companies — he or she who demonstrates deft precision with cutlery will usually practice the same when faced with a crucial deal." –Chicago Tribune

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