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Dos and Don'ts in Photos


First Lady Elizabeth Ford standing on a table in the white house

Smithsonian,  June 2008

Do not stand on tables
Above we have Elizabeth Ford, wife of then President Gerald Ford, First Lady of our country, standing barefoot on a White House meeting table. While many soldiers were giving their blood on the battlefield, Mrs. Ford didn't find anything better to do than indulge in this extravagant breach of propriety.

Posing this way, she was only trying to be popular among us. There is a saying that each people has the government it deserves. Did Americans deserve to have such a flagrantly ill-bred First Lady?

If we look at our own American customs, we see that often - against all rules of civility - we casually put our feet up on coffee tables, desks or even dining tables. To do this supposedly expresses relaxation, casualness and intimacy. Actually, I believe it expresses a return to barbarianism.

Our feet and shoes come into constant contact with the floor and ground. Care should be taken to keep them as clean and neat as possible; nevertheless, we should follow the custom which teaches that if something touches the floor, do not let it touch anything else - especially a table where we are about to meet or dine!

Let us keep our feet under the tables where they belong, so that in future this bad habit of ours will not justify another First Lady following that unfortunate example.

Do not stand on tables.

Alexis Reyes

Posted November 7, 2008
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