Mind Your Own Damned Manners

While writing about Emily Post's opinions on etiquette a few weeks ago, I got to thinking about Lolitas and manners. Many Lolitas agree that putting on the mantle of faux perfect manners every time you slip into your burando is a bit phony. But there are some Lolitas out there who insist that a Lolita without manners is hardly a Lolita at all.

Many who obsess over what manners you display while in Lolita like to say that you are out there representing the style to the world, so you better be on your best behavior or you're letting the whole team down! You wouldn't want the rest of the world thinking that those girls in pink fluffy dresses are a bunch of uncivilized, swearing, monkey girls who don't know what a salad fork is, now would you? Now, I must say, as oh-so politely as I can, that that mode of thinking is a whole lot of bullshit.

I came into Lolita from goth and have been dressing like an eccentric circus reject ever since I started dressing myself. From experience I can honestly say that most strangers are going to make all sorts of wacky assumptions about you and everyone who looks like you based on what you're wearing, not how you're acting. You could be the sweetest, most charming, well mannered girl out there, but strangers who pass you on the street are still going to think you're a Satanic Vampire Worshiper™ or a Japan Obsessed Adult Baby Sex Fiend™. Sure, the occasional person might question you about it, in which case you give them the standard "It has nothing to do with sex. Yes, I know what the book Lolita is about. It's just clothes" then they nod, pretend to be having a two sided conversation and then go on their way, but they are probably not going to change their opinion of what you are, if they even cared enough to form an opinion on you in the first place.

Since when are we, as Lolitas, supposed to care what other people think about us? I thought we were dressing this way because we liked it, to hell what other people thought. Since when did dressing however you liked all the sudden burden you with weight of all of Lolitadom's reputation? Be polite because you like to be polite, because you want to be a princess, because it's shocking, because it comes naturally to you, because you want other people to be polite, because it draws less attention to you, or because you know if you don't control yourself you'll spaz out and spill tea all over your new dress. But don't start stressing out over salad forks and tea ceremonies and the correct way to invite friends over for brunch because you feel like you are obligated to, and certainly don't ever point your finger in another Lolita's direction and tell them they need to start representing the whole Lolita community.

Mind your own damned manners, not anyone else's. You're not saving Lolita's reputation by trying to enforce old fashioned restrictions on others. Lolita is about being yourself, not about proving strangers wrong.

14 comments:

  1. Agreed! Faking or overdoing manners is unneccesary; just try to treat others as you'd like to be treated, you know?

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  2. I agree wholeheartedly! I'm trying to become more and more polite over time because it's how I want to be and not because lolita-dom needs me to be... and I swear like a sailor.

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  3. I'm all for good manners, but politeness should come naturally (fer Chr***sakes!!!). I know nothing about Lolita however (except the book by Nabokov)... sorry

    see, thick but well mannered :o)

    I just came to say that I LOVE the images in your "Honeyed" archive, beautiful. I will no doubt be plundering your vaults when I next need doll costuming inspiration!

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  4. I love your blog. I agree that us Lolitas should have the self-confidence to dress as we desire and not let anyone's "put down" affect our personal choice as to lifestyle and dress. I truly do not care what others think.

    But at the same time I find that the best weapon I carry is a smile. No point in arguing with a moron who has a closed mind. But a smile can make a new friend or at least convince someone that you are not a satanic vampire worshipper.

    Lastly, always treat others as you would like to be treated. I find that practicing random acts of kindness always gives more in return. Besides that just really amazes people!

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  5. I couldn't agree more with this post.
    I come from the goth scene, too, and I've always been polite, just because I like it, even knowing that people "expect" goths to be antisocial, edgy freaks.
    I wouldn't change the way I behave according to the clothes I'm wearing. It's me expressing myself through clothes, and not clothes expressing themselves through me. ^^

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  6. I would never say "one simply must be perfectly mannerly in Lolita!", but you can't deny, good manners wear well.
    Also, as a Loli, (someone who knows how expensive and hard-to-come-by these clothes are), it saddens me to see girls spit, swear, and bitch in their finery. It just looks like they don't deserve/appreciate it.

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  7. Victoria Suzanne- Indeed, treating others as you would like to be treated is about the only manners that should ever be required!

    Candiesandlace- Aw I swear like a sailor too XD Hmm, would swearing and drunken gruffness be the perfect attitude for a Sailorloli?

    Yve- Thank you so much! I know it's just a silly Tumblr account but I get all blushy when people say they like mine.

    Loliandrea- A polite smile and a friendly attitude is one thing (and a very good thing at that), but thinking that fake over-the-top manners, and insisting that other people need them, is going to balance out any "weirdness" that other people see in you is just silly.

    q-of-clubs: I was always a polite (most of the time) goth as well, but that never stopped strangers stopping me in public to question me about my religion or how much I liked vampires. Totally agreed about expressing through clothes. Because clothes expressing themselves through you is just a costume.

    Anonymous- This is actually the attituted I'm talking about, who are you (not you specifically, but a more general "you") to tell other people what they deserve to wear and what they don't? Almost every girl out there in Lolita has bought it themselves, so they are well aware of how expensive and sometimes hard to get it is. Who is anyone else to tell them that they don't deserve it? Maybe it's your opinion that good manners wear well with Lolita, I personally think that acting like yourself is the best accessory. As a P.S. I've been around a lot of different Lolitas, and I've never seen one spit.

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    1. I agree, that people should not expect someone to act in some kind of way based on their clothing style, and should stop basically telling others how they should behave, for any reason. For me, people who are acting snobbishly posh with their forced perfect manners are a much worse picture to connect with loli community, than normal girls, who swear time-to-time or only use one kind of fork with all of their meals. But to be honest, I have to admit, if someone's extremely unmannerly (like shouting out every details of their sexual life, on the bus), it just doesn't go well with loli, at least for me.

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  8. OMG NO LOLITAS SHOULD BE SUPER POLITE LADYS U GAIS!!!111! ALL THE TIEM!

    Just kidding. I'm all for the basic good manners, (thank you, you're welcome, etc) but acting straight out of an Emily Post book won't make you more lolita.

    You don't have to change your whole personality and self to wear lolita, you can be who your are. Now let's go eat some fucking cake.

    And anon-sorry, lolita clothes are not a system of merit.

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  9. Still, it's a lot more pleasant to see someone act as refined as they're dressed, at least when with people who understand your weird ways.

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  10. thank you for adding the part about using good manners to shock. part of the way i explained my love of old fashioned behavior systems and clothing to my mother was by saying that the world we live in today puts an incredible amount of negative stigma on any type of manners, even basic ones, and encourages us to be plain, casual, and often blunt to the point of rudeness. i am not delusional and know we don't live in a victorian society, but sometimes i like bringing out antiquated customs because they're pretty, but also as a form of rebellion. no one else seems to understand what i mean when i say this. that said, even though i believe this i can't keep it up all the time!

    i don't think lolita clothes are a system of merit, but many people get some sort of fame or respect for looking good in their clothes or for owning certain popular prints, and although i don't think people should have to be perfect angels, i wish those items and that respect would not go to people who are massive bitches. by that i mean that they are outrightly mean, judgemental, and pretentious about lolita clothing and life in general. i wouldn't take away the clothes they paid for with their hard-earned money, but i wish people would stop singing the praises of these people and behaviors.

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  11. I love how you bring your opinion out! It all sounds very true, and reasonable.
    I totally agree with you, but I think (most) Lolita's have such a fascination for the Victorian/Roccoco era (at least I have), that the manners are already natural to us.

    Better said, girls who behave like hobo's usually aren't interested in Lolita, I think?.

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  12. Wow! You're out giving value teachings! I always follow your blogs!
    Wow!

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  13. I agree that if you choose to obsess over manners it should be because you want to and not because you're worried about misrepresenting lolita. I don't see what's wrong with one person who likes to do serious research on traditional manners because they're interested in it to decide to utilize it while in lolita. That happens, we lolitas have our obsessions.

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