To The Manner Reborn

I love lists. Gatsby had one dated September 12, 1906 written on the fly leaf of a ragged copy of Hopalong Cassidy. His read:

Rise from bed……………………………………………… 6.00 A.M.
Dumbell exercise and wall-scaling…………………….. 6.15-6.30 ”
Study electricity, etc……………………………………… 7.15-8.15 ”
Work………………………………………………………… 8.30-4.30 P.M.
Baseball and sports……………………………………….. 4.30-5.00 ”
Practice elocution, poise and how to attain it…………. 5.00-6.00 ”
Study needed inventions…………………………………. 7.00-9.00 ”

GENERAL RESOLVES

No wasting time at Shafters or [a name, indecipherable]
No smoking or chewing
Bath every other day
Read one improving book or magazine per week
Save $5.00 [crossed out] $3.00 per week
Be better to parents

Here’s a rather more useful one that I ran across in my recent reading.

“To Be a Gentleman – A Real and True Gentleman — A Man Should Be:

1. Of outstanding character.

2. Never late.

3. Always discreet.

4. Never arrogant.

5. Of impeccable manners.

6. Well spoken.

7. Immaculately dressed at all times.

8. Possessed of good social skills.

9. Possessed of genuine concern for others.

10. Forthright enough never to make excuses.”

(From the book: “How to Live Like a Gentleman: Lessons in Life, Manners and Style” by Sam Martin, The Lyons Press 2008. Excerpt used without permission, and will be removed at the request of author or publisher.)

Although Gatsby’s may be the more poignant of the two, both show the importance of vigilance in your quest for an everyday elegance. It is what a whole industry calls “goal-setting.”

Far too often we are sidetracked in our efforts; modern day life almost demands it, we are continuously assaulted with demands and information.

Which is why you should take a few minutes a day to reflect, revise and imagine.

One small change (“I will buy nothing new until I clean out my closet and then only that which is perfectly suited to me.” “I will set the table for dinner every weeknight for two weeks.” “I will exercise for 20 minutes a day, regardless.” Etc.), pursued relentlessly for several weeks can and will make a difference.

Thus endeth the Pollyanna pep talk.

How will you reinvent yourself? With what good habit will you reacquaint yourself? What do you resolve to do and what will be your first step?

This entry was posted in Elegantology and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to To The Manner Reborn

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.