Judith Martin, Miss Manners Quotations

Miss Manners

Allowing an unimportant mistake to pass without comment is a wonderful social grace.

A young lady is a female child who has just done something dreadful.

Chaperons don't enforce morality; they force immorality to be discreet.

Ideological differences are no excuse for rudeness.

If it's against state law, it's generally considered a breach of Etiquette.

I have always believed that the key to a happy marriage was the ability to say with a straight face, "Why, I don't know what you're worrying about. I thought you were very funny last night and I'm sure everybody else did, too."

In point of fact, we are all born rude. No infant ever appeared yet with the grace to understand how inconsiderate it is to disturb others in the middle of the night.

It is far more impressive when others discover your good qualities without your help.

Let us make a special effort to stop communicating with each other, so we can have some conversation.

Manners are not just something to show off to the outside world. If you offend the head waiter, you can always go to another restaurant. If you offend the person you live with, it's very cumbersome to switch to a different family.

The dinner table is the center for the teaching and practicing not just of table manners but of conversation, consideration, tolerance, family feeling, and just about all the other accomplishments of polite society except the minuet.

The lack of agreement about manners results in an anger-ridden, chaotic society, where each trivial act is interpreted as a revelation of the moral philosophy of the individual actor...

There are three possible parts to a date, of which at least two must be offered: entertainment, food, and affection. It is customary to begin a series of dates with a great deal of entertainment, a moderate amount of food, and the merest suggestion of affection. As the amount of affection increases, the entertainment can be reduced proportionately. When the affection IS the entertainment, we no longer call it dating. Under no circumstances can the food be omitted.

There are three social classes in America: upper middle class, middle class, and lower middle class.

We are born charming, fresh and spontaneous and must be civilized before we are fit to participate in society.