Friday, 14 June 2013


Book, Conduct, Manners, Bienseance, Propriety, Behaviour


Noun. Late 17th century.
[French, from bien well + séant, from seoir befit.]


Oh for crying out ... another bien word! Having wearily plodded the platitudinous path of bien entendu, gandered gaily through the gladsome gardens of bien-être and challengingly charged into the conservative courtyard of bien pensant, we arrive at the last stop on the well-trodden path of Franco-wellness: bienséance.

As weary as one might be from such prodigious wellness, one still offers a polite smile and welcoming handshake to bienséance, fully understanding that it's a fascinating word in its own right and neither weariness nor familiarity with its bienish brethren should sully the occasion. It's propriety, darling; it's what one does.

For this reason, I for one am very pro-propriety, defensive of decorum, mindful of manners, encouraging of etiquette and wont to shout out "Bully for Bienséance!" at the flimsiest of excuses. It's what makes us all that little bit nicer to each other and the world that little bit more pleasant.

Bully for bienséance!


  1. That's some applause-worthy alliteration.
    Bully for Mr Ed!

    1. P.S. It would be interesting to read that Etiquette book!
      The times, they have changed, and not all for the better!

    2. Thank you Jingles! And yes it would - I have a guide to etiquette somewhere that my Mum gave me, though it's not quite old enough to be really funny. If you go back *really* far, then things can get really bizarre:

      "A young lady with whom one is courting should always be greeted with a gift of fresh fish."

      OK I made that up, you get the idea : o )

  2. So yesterday I was returning home after a month away at uni (I know in some countries students don't go home very often while they're away studying, but here most students return home every weekend, so a month is a very long time).

    Anyhow, I was lugging all my bags with books and notes and dirty laundry, loaded like a donkey! At the train station (last stop!) struggling to open the door, until an older lady held it for me, I was so glad she helped me out. It reminded me of how much these small polite gestures actually mean. I could've still been locked up in that station!

    1. Yes, Bibi! That's what I'm talking about : o )

      Holding doors open for people, encumbered or otherwise, is a definite mark of good-manners, as is the saying of 'Thank you!' upon having the door help open (you did say thanks, didn't you??).

      Great to see you here, Bibi : o )

    2. It's great to be here, too :)

      Sure did. A nice "thank you" and one of my trademark ear-to-ear smiles.

    3. That is lovely! It is uplifting to hear the stories of those who still possess a sense of kindness and helpfulness towards strangers!