Thursday, August 18, 2016
the advancing elegance of spittoons
Or maybe not. I can't recall the primer and can't cite the source but I find it hard to believe that if I had conjured the injunction out of my own whole cloth I wouldn't lay a kind of doting claim to it: I do like the thrusts that carve away politesse and get down to the nitty-gritty -- spitting being one of them.
The line calls up an atmosphere in my mind -- a newish nation with dusty main streets and wealth slowly amassing. Politesse requires the inroads of cosseted wealth. The beginning of the Jonses against whom other poor slobs might wish to measure themselves. Lace well-washed and pressed; wigs powdered and a lady's hand to kiss until ... until...
Until ... "if you must spit, spit in the corner."
Everyone needs to eat, piss and occasionally, spit. But let's keep it decorous in these advancing times. In earlier times, men retired after dinner for a sequestered period with their cigars and brandy and a respite from the decorous advances. After a while, they too might become more decorous than was comfortable, but the amenities were observed and women read books of etiquette.
Spittoons for tobacco. Spittoons for the dental office. Spittoons for the je ne sais quoi that life and salivary glands can dish up.
No need to be an utter dirt-road klutz.
Show some class.
Spit in the corner.
Women, it appears, do not spit: