This exhaustive guide brings back the gentleman’s code for a generation in need of a refresher.
Manly Manners, by notable designer, lawyer, and bon vivant Wayne James, is a refreshing reminder that manners can be sexy and exciting, and are mandatory for a man who hopes to move up in the world. Instead of belaboring old points such as which fork to use or whether to hold the door, James focuses on what manners are for: not only to make things fair, but to make good things even better.
Emily Post, considered the defining voice of modern etiquette, would likely tremble in her petticoat at some of the subjects James takes on. For example, “If a man is about to actively engage in anal sex—a subject that would never have been discussed in a book of etiquette of the last century—is it impolite for him to offer his sex-partner a disposable-bottle enema?” James also covers wedding planning, entertaining at home, job interview etiquette, and wardrobe essentials. At more than eight hundred pages, Manly Manners is exhaustive, but not exhausting to read.
“Where there is possibility to help, there is a responsibility to help,” James writes, which is a good motto for any aspiring gentleman. Goodness, honesty, and correct action are his watchwords. Manners, he says, are not a sign of subjugation or inferiority; rather, they convey respect when they are used, in any situation.
The writing is lively and fun, more reminiscent of Peter Post than Florence Hartley. James observes:
It is easy to be on good behavior at a baby shower, a funeral, or the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club; but when rushing to work on a blisteringly cold February morning, or when exhausted at the end of a rigorous day at the office, or when trying to get through a long, slow-moving queue at a security checkpoint at an international airport, many people tend to “relax” their normal standards of good manners and assume personalities somewhat like food-aggressive animals.
Manners as presented in this guide stand to ease difficult times for everyone.
The book is designed for a generation of men who were not taught etiquette—a generation eager to read the latest how-to-get-laid guide while skipping over the basic nuts and bolts of human relationships. James knows that there’s more to relationships than just carnal knowledge, and he eloquently lays out the best paths to improving communication and conviviality.
Is it rude to suggest that Manly Manners be required reading? Wayne James brings back the gentleman’s code for the young man who knows that being a gentleman is more than simply wearing a suit.
Disclosure: This article is not an endorsement, but a review. The author of this book provided free copies of the book and paid a small fee to have their book reviewed by a professional reviewer. Foreword Reviews and Clarion Reviews make no guarantee that the author will receive a positive review. Foreword Magazine, Inc. is disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.