Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Tuesday, dentist and passivity

This is a beautiful day, spring at its most attractive, but I can't seem to pull myself out of my funk and the trip to the dentist didn't help. I didn't hear any additional bad news, but the prospect of either getting dauntingly expensive implants or losing my ability to sing and to articulate clearly is not something I'm willing to face, even when the sun is shining and the trees and bulbs are all abloom.
Procrastinating via email and blogs, catch myself thinking things like: "Why get my teeth fixed when Bush is determined to launch WWIII?..."

joining a trivial pursuit... writer asks if anyone can shed light on 1930's manners:
"There is a line in a Dorothy L. Sayers mystery novel about how 'one doesn't shake hands at Oxford.' The only thing I have found is that at one time, a lady never put out her hand for a man to shake - the man had to lead, as it were."
I speculate...
Are you sure? I'm kind of old, but I was taught "way back when" that if the introduction is made by a reliable party-- one's chaperone or cousin, for instance-- the lady puts her hand out first, and that the way she extends it determines whether she it expects it to be kissed or shaken. It would be presumptuous for a man to assume that a lady was willing to shake his hand-- and if she were to refuse, that's a cut direct!-- An insult no gentleman would be likely to risk. OTOH, he would probably recover from her insult-- but if she extends her hand and he looks it it as if it is a snake, "Everyone" will assume that she has some dreadful secret and is ruined beyond redemption! So I'd suppose that she takes a greater risk by offering, and is safer not to do so. A civil nod suffices....
Now that I think about it--- isn't this because there are merchant class and even lower class scholarship boys at Oxford, with whom no gentleman and particularly no nobleman really "ought" to "lower" himself to shake hands? But therefore it is only polite to shake hands with no one and spare the inferiors from social embarrassment? For similar reasons everyone was expected to wear the scholar's gown, so that wealth and rank differences were minimized?

Mo Mowlam, the Sec. of State for N. Ireland whom I played in "Talking To..." said that she was able to negotiate the Good Friday peace because she she treated the working class militants as human beings. She-- from the working class herself-- was the first S of S who ever shook hands with them.


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