When you’re at a seated dinner party, and you notice a cockroach climbing the wall, it’s best to handle this situation by turning to your hostess and saying, “Oh my, Mrs. -------, but I do declare that you have an uninvited visitor!”
When you visit a market-area bar, and your tennis shoes get stuck to the floor because of the old beer, it is acceptable to go barefoot. The same applies when Market Street is flooded -- that is to say, when it rains.
When addressing comments to an elected official during a public meeting and when the speaker’s opinion on the issue differs from the politician, it is unacceptable to refer to said politician as, "Most honorable pointy-head.”
Don't think about changing the color of your house unless you are on good terms with your neighbors, your neighborhood association and your municipal government.
When asking a neighbor for permission to use his narrow side yard in order to get access to the side of your house so it can be painted, remember first to return the soup tureen that belonged to his great-grandmother.
When seeing a child dangerously clambering over a cannon in White Point Garden, avoid sneaking up behind him or her and yelling, "Fire in the hole!!!"
When somebody blows the horn at you, feel free to get out of your car, walk back to the offending driver’s window and ask, "I beg your pardon. Did you summon me?"
It is impolite to correct tour guides, even when you hear one say, "This is the house where Rhett Butler used to sit naked on the porch of."
During high tea, it is permissible to pour a dash of alcohol into your cup, so long as you are able to subsequently maintain a standard of behavior that does not damage the porcelain.
It is never proper to crash a ball, gala or other formal party, even if you’re dressed up like Elvis Presley.
In the misery of the Lowcountry summer heat, short sleeves or no sleeves are proper clothing options and you are permitted to amble. Humidity means never having to say you're in a hurry.
Golf balls hit to alligators are out of bounds.
We do not eat roasted peanuts in the Lowcountry. They are for birds, squirrels and Yankees. Peanuts must be boiled at home or bought from Tony the Peanut Man or another proper outlet.
All rules of proper behavior and expression are off whenever a pluff-mudder is forced to drive in the snow.
You must never put sugar on your hominy grits. Hominy grits take two toppings - shrimp or butter.
On all occasions where you are the guest, you must say: "I had a wonderful time!" "The food was divine!" "Your house is so lovely!" "Oh, that was grilled rabbit? I loved it!" whether those things are true or not.
On all occasions where you are the host, you must say: "I'm so glad you came!" "I so enjoyed having you!" "It was no trouble at all!" "You must come back!" and "Your children are delightful!" whether you mean those things or not. If lightning strikes on the last one, try this: "Your children are so energetic!"
On all occasions in which you are pulled over by the police, you must 1) smile 2) cry 3) wait patiently. While you’re taking these steps, you may also 1) memorize the officer's name and use it in a meaningful way. 2) make eye contact and 3) accept blame for hitting the cow. You hit it. You can't deny it.
In all situations in which you are caught firing a shotgun at squirrels in your neighbor's yard, you must not pretend it wasn't you. Acceptable responses are: "Oh, is this your yard?" "I thought this thing had a silencer!" "I thought it was New Year's Eve!" and "I thought I saw a panda!"
GMLc also recommends George Washington’s Rules of Civility & Decent Behaviour In Company and Conversation.
...GMLc gladly accepts any suggestions you may have for additions to this list. Just e-mail it to us, gentle reader...