Tuesday, August 23, 2011

A Matter of Time and Place

I am going to switch gears here for a bit and discuss something that begins as good
etiquette but is also a huge indicator of an individual's posession of common sense
and understanding of that big word, Respect.
Quite frankly, there is a time and a place for certain behaviours, and most
certainly, for divulging certain bits of information, especially about someone else.

I bring this up for two reasons. One being a recent concern voiced that certain
aspects of someone's personality be left out of general conversation, that they are
no one's business, except those this individual chose to share them with. I
completely agree. Second being a situation I observe all too often: The need for
women in pairs or groups, to show their "girl power" by man-bashing or divulging
their men's secrets as some odd show of power. Now before anyone gets their bloomers
in a fluff, I wholeheartedly acknowledge that men do this too, but in this day and
age, men can be burned at the stake for it, while women are told "You go girl!" and
patted on the back as being "empowered." Bit of a double-standard, don't you think?
So what does this have to do with Victorian etiquette or the aesthetic? It is not
exclusive to the Victorian Era, although when I have spoken about it in the past, I
have quite literally been blasted with "So women are supposed to just stay quiet?
That's backward Victorian thinking."  Needless to say, I smiled a moment before
responding. No one said for women to stay quiet. We know this is a genetic
impossibility. However, the idea of discretion on the part of a Victorian woman
actually comes from the belief in honouring one's spouse or significant other. Just
as men of good etiquette and breeding did not debase their women by speaking about
them in public houses (bars) as a sign of respect, women displayed respect for their
spouses by either being supportive (when they agreed) or being silent (when they did
not). This also showed self-respect by not making an unnecessary scene and coming off
as a harpie.
These days it has become common practice for women to exhibit their "independence"
from men by talking down about or to their significant others, spouse or otherwise,
in front of their friends and/or his friends. Another common practice is to divulge
his "little secrets" in these group settings as some irrational display of "look how
well I know him.. he's all mine and aren't we cute together." A little reality check
here.. it does not make a woman look strong, look good, look independent or look
smart. It creates the obvious air of awkwardness for everyone and usually
accomplishes at least one of two things: 1. Makes her appear insecure, attention-
mongering and disrespectful, and 2. Makes his friends (and possibly hers) wonder why
he is with her. Unless he is known to be the charitable type.
In healthy relationships, both partners need their "guys" or "girls" time, and during
that time the relationship is in no way in jeopardy because of it. They do not act
with their friends they way they act with their partners, and the stability of a good
relationship is simply a part of who they are, but should not be a neon sign affixed
to their foreheads. Respect it. If you are with them around their friends, this does
not open the door to drag these innocent bystanders into your relationship issues or
secrets. Their entire identity is not wrapped up in who they are with you. And it is
not always about you. (Yes, I will be writing about this soon, too, by request)
The first rule of self-respect: You are whole and a functioning individual long
before entering into a relationship or even a friendship (many of these guidelines do
apply to friendship secrets as well). While it may feel a partner "completes" you,
there is a fine line between the way they complement (not to be confused with sweet
words and "compliment") you, and outright neediness and co-dependence. If your self-
identity lies in putting yourself above your partner, it is time for some deep self-
Now am I saying to avoid PDA? That depends on the couple. Some are not comfortable with public displays of affection, some with a little and some.. well.. honestly, let's leave the exhibitionists out of this. That's a whole different level of TMI.
Again, respect each other. And know that to receive respect, you need to show it. No
one has the right to demand respectful treatment from a significant others they have
made a point of publicly or privately disrespecting. Those things he divulges to you
in private were told to you in that setting for a reason. They are private. It is a
matter of trust and I'd say it's pretty common knowledge that friendships and
relationships rise and fall on the matter of trust. 
Now does this only apply to partners' and friends' secrets? No. But like "Choosing
battles wisely".. that is a topic for another day. So now that I have addressed, in
part, the "E" in "EVGA", I will leave you with a tried and true cliche'.."Do unto
others as you would have them do unto you." There is a lot of merit to that old
Until next.. Respectfully,

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