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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9 Responses to The Rhythm’s Going to Get You.

  1. Turling says:

    “Set your clothes out for tomorrow.” This is one I enjoy doing every night, after the children have retired. I find it quite relaxing and elegant to choose the next days clothes and stage them for the morning, polishing cuff links, draping the pocket square over a rod I use just for that purpose, inspecting and shining shoes, if necessary. After an evening of being a ninja and playing Chutes & Ladders, it’s nice to act like a grown-up.

    One other item I have added as a rule in our household is that dad gets 15 minutes (I’m lucky to get 7) in the master bedroom to change and take off the day, so to speak. I, usually, take a cocktail with me and it is a wonder how calming the act of undressing can be at the end of the day. Five or ten minutes and I have successfully switched from businessman to dad, both mentally and physically. I shall try it with almond champagne tonight.

  2. raed says:

    Dear Sir:

    I am chastened and inspired by your post.

    I have formulated a plan and will report back in two weeks.

    Many thanks and kindest regards,
    raed

  3. pve design says:

    The toliet paper has been folded to a perfect triangle.
    The sheets are freshly ironed.
    Dinner is simmering.
    Fresh flowers on the table.
    Dog has been elegantly walked and picked up after.
    Champagne is chilling.
    Finishing a great book.
    Sketches lined up, like clothes laid out to wear.
    Oh, another elegant day.
    Inspired by this blog.

  4. LucyinStLou says:

    What wonderful suggestions for an elegant day! I am a fan of PG Wodehouse for some light evening reading. As of late, I find myself reading (perhaps because of all the Olympics coverage) the poetry of Li Po. Short beautiful verse sets the stage for a restful night’s sleep.

  5. Homer's Odd Isn't He says:

    Well, I arrived at the store Saturday morning to find the front store window smashed in. Police reports, repairmen called, shattered glass vacuumed up, plywood hung. Then Sunday dawned with a cool breeze and no humidity. Enough said. We’ll survive Monday, and we did.

  6. Eric says:

    Very inspiring, thank you. Now begins my first steps towards a more elegant life.

  7. Turling, an undressing drink — a new concept that sounds a worthwhile addition to the schedule!

    raed, good luck! We’ll look forward to hearing of your progress. Check in any time for encouragement.

    Mrs. PvE, that’s the nicest thing I’ve heard all day and inspires me to keep trying, too!

    LoLou, Haven’t delved into Li Po, but a slim volume of Wodehouse even accompanies me on overseas trips. Laughter is always the best antidote.

    Homer, I’m sorry to hear that. And good for you keeping your chin up in the face of outrageous criminal behaviour.

  8. Eric, I know that you will get there. Really this is one of those times that getting there is half the fun!

  9. I wanted to comment and thank the author, good stuff

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