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2009-06-03 02:24 pm (UTC)
I think you may underestimate the barriers which people who haven't been immersed in the privileged culture of formal etiquette feel they encounter when they start trying to learn that etiquette. It can be difficult even to know who to ask, what kind of books to look in and what search strings to use, partly because there's an element of not knowing (or being able to articulate) what it is you don't know and partly because of a sort of anxiety or mental block. I remember encountering this a fair bit when booking external speakers for some of the Cambridge societies I was involved with. One conversation with Rabbi Sheila Shulman still stands out, in which she tried to explain to me how nerve-wracking she found it to be invited to Formal Hall.
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