“Never downplay your intelligence. Dumb is not cute. Integrity, dignity, and wisdom are the true indicators of beauty.”
–The #356 Rule of a Lady from Etiquette for a Lady
I’m currently reading What Would Jackie Do? and decided to share a few of my favorite points in each chapter. This post features Chapter One. Stay tuned in for the rest.
- Shift the spotlight. “Self-promoters, Jackie once said, ‘really get my back up.'” This serves as a double-whammy. Not only will people be “thrown (and delighted) when you transfer some of the attention you command,” you can also shift out of an unwanted focus on yourself — “You don’t really want me in that profile, because people will only remember me, and you’ll just be forgotten completely.”
- Be a master flatterer. The point is “to remind someone how special he or she is, while also hinting at your utter dependency on them.” Jackie found it especially handy when wanting to save a professional relationships or if she had something very specific to request of someone (like a $250,000 painting she received from big-time publisher Walter H. Annenberg for free).
- Coddle bit players. “It’s terribly wicked not to give props to all of those people who make your path smoother in life.” These include people such as the doorman or mailman. Greet and thank them properly.
- Turn the other silken cheek. When former director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Thomas Hoving, demanded that a doorman be fired for disclosing his whereabouts, an astonished Jackie said, “You suffered a man’s livelihood because of that?”
- Don’t be an Interchangeable Woman. “An Interchangeable Woman is neither memorable nor original. She talks a lot and may even have an MBA — yet manages to say precious little…she is quick to please, slow to question, and often overstays her welcome (especially where men are concerned).”
- Be riveted, not just riveting. Be engaged and gracious to everybody, “even buffoons.” With Jackie, “people always went away thinking, ‘She quite liked me, yes, she was impressed by me.’ It was a very endearing quality.”
- Snip! Cut people off. When close friend Ben Bradlee published Conservations with Kennedy, Jackie wouldn’t acknowledge him anymore. When Arthur Miller portrayed ex-girlfriend Marilyn Monroe as a “suicidal floozy,” Jackie considered it betrayal and stated, “I won’t have anything to do with that theater because of the way he treated Marilyn Monroe.” When famous Washington hostess Perle Mesta criticized the Kennedy couple’s dress at a party (specifically, JFK’s brown shoes and Jackie’s bare legs), she never stepped foot in the White House again.