Old fashioned dating rituals

But by extending a right hand, it was a way of saying, “I’ve decided against stabbing you.” For more etiquette advice, check our Sophisticated Man’s Guide to Fine Dining.

Pretty much every culture is anti-pointing; some countries just consider it rude, and others consider it a moral offense.

Pointing intensifies the sense we all have at times of being known and yet not-known—of helpless exposure to uncomprehending eyes that imagine they comprehend us.” The Ancient Romans set the precedent for wearing black while in mourning—they had a dark toga called a “Toga Pulla” that was worn for funerals and occasional for protests—and the tradition continued in the Middle Ages in Europe, where black clothes were not just worn to demonstrate your sad feelings but to show off your wealth.

Who else but a fabulously wealthy person could afford to walk around in a fancy black outfit just because somebody in his family had died?

Ancient knights had to lift their visors to prove that they were nice guys who weren’t looking for a fight, and that’s more or less the reason that wearing hats inside is still frowned upon. About 1,500 years ago, the Justinian plague (or “Black Death”) swept through Europe and killed about 25 million people, roughly half the world’s population.

Pope Gregory I, the Catholic Church pontiff whose predecessor had been forced into early retirement by the plague, was understandably a little nervous about the situation, and so he decreed that when anybody was heard sneezing—one of the first signs that they’d been infected with the plague—they should be told “God bless you.” It was the “thoughts and prayers” of its day.

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