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The 1900s:

April 2023
1min read

“A Man With a Hobby Is Universally Shunned”


Etiquette is not a servile yielding up of one’s individuality, or a mere cold formality. It is rather the beautiful frame which is placed around a valuable picture to prevent its being marred or defaced.

Etiquette throws a protection around the well-bred, keeping the coarse and disagreeable at a distance, and punishing those who violate her dictates, with banishment from the social circle.


We have seen a family of children compelled to pass the ordeal of kissing every guest in a room when the hour for retiring arrives. It is a senseless custom, and often creates disgust on both sides.


It is a foolish practice for ladies to kiss each other every time they meet, particularly on the street. It is positively vulgar and a refined woman shrinks from any act which makes her conspicuous. It belongs rather to the period of “gush” natural to very young girls, and should be discouraged on physiological grounds if no other. Many times a contagious disease has been conveyed in a kiss. Let promiscuous kissing be consigned to the tomb of oblivion.


The most exquisite quality necessary to a good talker is tact. It is a fine gift to know just how to talk, to whom, and what is exactly the right thing to say on all occasions. It is only people of the most delicate perceptions who possess this gift, but it can and should be cultivated. To the author it is a neat compliment to express a fondness for books—not his particular books, for that would savor of broad flattery, and be offensive. The lady whose heart is in her household cares will incite you to talk sympathetically with her of the delights of home. To the business man you can find something to say of stocks, per cents, and he will vote you a smart fellow. The good talker must be “All things to all men.”


A man with a hobby is universally shunned. He cares for nothing save the one idea which engrosses all his time. He will not engage in conversation on any topic save one, and will adroitly lead all the company up to his train of thought. He never receives credit for the intelligence which he really possesses, for he wearies his listeners and will brook no contradiction. Beware of a hobby. The possession of one will impair your usefulness.


Do not assume a blasé demeanor. No one likes a young man who affects to have drained the chalice of life ere he has even sipped it. The greatest charm either man or woman can possess is that gay good nature and brilliant spirits that belong by rights to youth. And the young man who tries to appear much older than he is in his life experiences will certainly disenchant, rather than attract; indeed, he will arouse suspicion rather than confidence.

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