Manners & Misdemeanors

Why You Must Always Keep Your Composure in the Age of Social Media, By the Truly Rich Lady

There is now the court of public opinion, a dour, unwinnable arena you never want to find yourself in.
ILLUSTRATOR SANDY ARANAS
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Who hasn’t been in a situation where the intensity of emotion explodes into something else?

Before you know it, as you do your darndest to contain a stupid heart that just wants to leap out of your throat, your voice reaches a shrill quality, vicious words fly out of your mouth, and your two hands reach out toward another party, the one you feel is doing you wrong.

Anyone, however many noughts her or his bank account holds, can succumb to the madness of anger. But it is much more terrible when this happens to the Truly Rich, because an angry Truly Rich Lady just verifies the stereotype of the mercurial Scrooge (or Scroogette) hell-bent on getting whatever he or she wants.

Or maybe the angry is just having a bad day?

We can’t judge a book or, in this case, a short video clip (you know what I’m talking about because everyone in Town is talking about it) by its cover. We don’t have all the facts or all the nuances that led up to the blow-up, but we do know one thing: The whole thing was caught on candid camera.

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I am only recently catching up with the wonders of technology and, realizing how tiny cameras have become, how easily a picture or video can be taken because of the recording device on mobile phones that everyone carries everywhere, and how readily these materials can be shared over the ether of the Internet, I can only conclude that these are absolutely dangerous times to do anything out of the ordinary.

It’s not a good time to be angry (to be clear, it is never a good time to be angry unless, of course, your deli ran out of Reblochon), snort out your Prosecco through your nose because your friend made a funny comment, eat pasta, complain about service, or confront someone about whatever.

Acceptable behavior is malleable. Manners adjust to the times. Who here still kisses a lady-stranger’s hand in greeting?

It is the new reality that everyone watches always, and when digital eyes can record what you think is an unguarded moment, it is even more important to double down on keeping your composure.

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Sure, when your drunk neighbor forcibly opens your garage gate and then rams his muscle car into your sedan, you are allowed to get really angry.

But should you do it on the street, in plain view of the neighbors who have very wiggly-wriggly tongues? Maybe it’s better to lock yourself in the powder room, call your brother who was asleep, and then scream unintelligible things until you calm down.

Then, ask your assistant to call the lawyers, the police, the insurance people, the car dealer, and the gate-menders (I don’t know what they are called). Let them do all the angry bits.

Remaining calm during the storm, despite the whiplash, and amid that irritating feeling of being treated unjustly or rudely or whatever else ills you feel you have suffered is what will render you invisible from the Eye of Sauron, the beast that is social media.

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Yes, it is very, very difficult to just clam up, but doing otherwise results in consequences that are just too horrible to bear.

And I'm not only talking about regret. There is now the court of public opinion, a dour, unwinnable arena you never want to find yourself in.

Here's a trick from a French relative: Whenever she finds herself in hot water (and she always does!), she does the weirdest thing: The pretty little croissant sucks in her breath, pauses, and then says nothing.

Actually, it's not a trick. She just doesn’t know how to articulate her anger because she can’t speak a lick of English or Filipino. That’s all well and good, because that beat of silence is enough to dampen her emotions. There will be no baguette sword fights in this house today. (Tell me, please, if this works.)

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About The Author
C.C. Coo
The Truly Rich Lady
C.C. Coo—also known as Town&Country’s Truly Rich Lady—is not a professional seeker of leisure as many people wrongly assume, for she has a real-life occupation: a SHE-EO of Important (Sub)Company of an Empire, for which she works very hard to make sure that the people in her care are not left wanting. She believes that manners are utterly important: “If society is like one of those costume jewelry pieces worn by Jackie O or Diana, manners would be the glue that keeps the veneer of a most beautiful thing from falling apart,” she says.
View Other Articles From C.C.
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