Etiquette & superstition: cutting

My old writing partner recently reminded me of an entry I had written in our now long-abandoned etiquette book project. “The cut direct!” he said. “Did you completely make that up or is that real?” I couldn’t remember. I knew the cut direct was a real thing, but could not recall what on earth I had written about it.

Well, I unearthed one of our rough drafts, and found that the cut direct entry includes this tip: “Remember to use proper headgear. The pink pearlized ‘chiaroscuro’ helmet has been in fashion over the last few years, but the authors have found it not to provide adequate protection of the hypothalamus.” So, yes; that entry was completely made up. The item below is not.

ETIQUETTE: A cut direct is the practice of refusing to acknowledge another person’s greeting. A person says hello to you or bows, usually in public, and you just stand there staring at them. This is obviously to be employed only when wishing to completely sever a relationship. This is not the same as pretending not to recognize someone. This is a straight-up stoneface. Use it sparingly.

Additionally: men may not cut ladies, unmarried ladies may not cut married ladies, and people may not cut other people on the street.

SUPERSTITION: If you have been cut, you can heal your wound by simply cleaning and polishing the implement that delivered the cut. Put it away in a safe place while you’re at it. Pliny says that if you have cut someone else and you feel bad about it, spit into the hand you used to injure the person. They will start to feel better immediately.

Photo by Martin Deutsch on Flickr

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