The Rhythm’s Going to Get You.

In your quest to have a more elegant existence, you will frequently be befuddled, or at the least frustrated, by the myriad of little things that stand in your way.

It becomes frustrating and stressful to be constantly questioned about your lifestyle choices. And there are plenty of people who will want to try and derail you on your course.

“C’mon, it’s summer,” they’ll say.

Or, “lighten up. What’s the big deal?”

“Hey, where’s the interview?”

“It’s really casual. I’m wearing shorts.”

And the retort of last resort: “What are you so dressed up for?”

Now I’m not suggesting that you divide your day into units as Hugh Grant’s character does in “About a Boy”, but I am suggesting that you wear blinders of a sort. That is to say, surround yourself with beauty and elegance and let osmosis do its bit for the cause.

Once you fall into the rhythm of doing things more elegantly, be it dressing better, speaking more confidently and easily, reading elegant prose or poetry, entertaining at home more — in short, living and thinking more elegantly — you will be surprised how easy it becomes.

A good friend once told me that he set the record for sit-ups at his middle school. He managed over 600 in a row. “The thing is,” he said, “after the first 300, I didn’t have to try anymore. My body took over and just kept contracting. I quit because I had to go home for dinner.”

The experts will tell you that if you do something for two weeks in a row, it becomes second nature. Make elegance a habit. Or as Mr. Grant’s character would have it, add at least one unit of elegance to your day, each day.

The teacher reflex has come out in Mrs. E. . She has asked me to include a suggestion or concrete example which might serve as a model.

Very well. Casual Friday meet, Elegant Weekday.

Today is Monday, the day that people get things done, and a perfect day to start your more elegant life. Plan to get away from your desk at lunch; for an hour, if possible. Walk somewhere, have a bite, people watch. If you can, leave work at the office at the day’s end. When you get home, change into a smart but casual outfit, perhaps involving linen and loafers. Have a glass of cold champagne. Have a light summer supper (salade niçoise or roast chicken and a salad) with the rest of the champagne. Take a stroll before retiring for the evening. If you are a movie person, watch a Cary Grant, Fred Astaire, Audrey Hepburn, Grace Kelly or Myrna Loy picture. If you prefer to read, read something like the first chapter of “Tender is the Night,” “Everybody Was So Young,” or a short story by Louis Auchincloss. Lay out your clothes for tomorrow. Set the clock alarm for a classical music station or CD. And sleep like a baby. Tomorrow is another elegant day waiting to happen.

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