October 4, 2009

Sunday Afternoon Post

It seems that Emily Post enjoyed herself a good wax seal just as much as I do. Although, she will frown upon a seal improperly affixed. She writes, "[i]f you use sealing wax, let us hope you are an adept at making an even and smoothly finished seal." Further, Emily recommends:
[c]hoose a plain-colored wax rather than one speckled with metal. With the sort of paper described for country houses, or for young people, or those living in studios or bungalows, gay sealing wax may be quite alluring, especially if it can be persuaded to pour smoothly like liquid, and not to look like a streaked and broken off slice of dough.
Recognizing that it may seem strange to both seal an envelope with glue as well as with wax, Emily acknowledges the development of envelope technologies and makes an argument steeped in economics to allow for an exception. She writes:
In days when envelopes were unknown, all letters had to be sealed, hence when envelopes were made, the idea obtained that it was improper to use both gum-arabic and wax. Strictly speaking this may be true, but since all envelopes have mucilage, it would be unreasonable to demand that those who like to use sealing wax have their envelopes made to order.
Who would have thought it? Emily Post: defender of personal expression, advocate of mail art.

This post is part of an ongoing series of posts highlighting the rules of etiquette as recorded in 1922 by Emily Post in her seminal text Etiquette.

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