Wayne James’ Manly Manners Receives Coveted “Starred Review” from BlueInk Book Reviews

BlueInk Reviews

To reflect the changing mores of young men in 21st century society, Wayne James has written a refined, yet topically edgy etiquette book covering not just table settings and wardrobe essentials but once-taboo sexually charged topics.

James, a Virgin Islands native, notes that he was “long groomed in the intricacies of polite society” from an early age. He attended Georgetown law school and, soon after, became a prominent New York fashion designer of upscale women’s clothing. In 2008, he was elected senator of the Virgin Islands.
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Written in a sophisticated, yet conversational voice, much of the book (first of a trilogy) offers engaging information covering everything from table manners and wedding planning to building a gentleman’s wardrobe, with asides on the history of ties and skivvies. Other subjects range widely, from having an audience with the Pope to avoiding multicultural faux pas to proper etiquette when detained by the police and incarcerated. (It should be noted that James has personal experience, having been indicted in 2015 for allegedly embezzling funds and committing wire fraud while serving in the legislature. In the book’s Acknowledgements section he thanks his “fellow inmates” for their friendship.)

Most eye-opening, perhaps, is James’ willingness to address in frank detail sex-related subjects, such as proper hygiene for the genitals (gently wash the glans and inside of the foreskin with a mild soap and water) before inviting fellatio and considering a cleansing enema before engaging in anal sex. He also clarifies etiquette in gay bathhouse cubicles, where one can participate in anonymous, noncommittal sex. A cubicle’s door position is key, James explains. While a closed door means “do not disturb,” a wide-open door means  “Voyeurs welcome (to observe from the threshold.) And the more, the merrier!”

The book is highly informative and enhanced with detailed diagrams of place settings and the like. While the index offers quick reference, the table of contents is too spare, excluding the complexity of topics—but that’s a quibble.

The book’s explicitness regarding behind-closed-doors behaviors clearly marks this as a read most geared to open-minded young men. They will find a wealth of solid advice that is variously sophisticated, amusing and entertaining.

BlueInk Reviews

 

Wayne James’ Manly Manners Receives Five-Star Review from Foreword Clarion

Foreword Clarion Review–5 Stars

This exhaustive guide brings back the gentleman’s code for a generation in need of a refresher.

Manly Manners, by notable designer, lawyer, and bon vivant Wayne James, is a refreshing reminder that manners can be sexy and exciting, and are mandatory for a man who hopes to move up in the world. Instead of belaboring old points such as which fork to use or whether to hold the door, James focuses on what manners are for: not only to make things fair, but to make good things even better.

 

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Emily Post, considered the defining voice of modern etiquette, would likely tremble in her petticoat at some of the subjects James takes on. For example, “If a man is about to actively engage in anal sex—a subject that would never have been discussed in a book of etiquette of the last century—is it impolite for him to offer his sex-partner a disposable-bottle enema?” James also covers wedding planning, entertaining at home, job interview etiquette, and wardrobe essentials. At more than eight hundred pages, Manly Manners is exhaustive, but not exhausting to read.

“Where there is possibility to help, there is a responsibility to help,” James writes, which is a good motto for any aspiring gentleman. Goodness, honesty, and correct action are his watchwords. Manners, he says, are not a sign of subjugation or inferiority; rather, they convey respect when they are used, in any situation.

The writing is lively and fun, more reminiscent of Peter Post than Florence Hartley. James observes:

It is easy to be on good behavior at a baby shower, a funeral, or the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club; but when rushing to work on a blisteringly cold February morning, or when exhausted at the end of a rigorous day at the office, or when trying to get through a long, slow-moving queue at a security checkpoint at an international airport, many people tend to “relax” their normal standards of good manners and assume personalities somewhat like food-aggressive animals.

Manners as presented in this guide stand to ease difficult times for everyone. The book is designed for a generation of men who were not taught etiquette—a generation eager to read the latest how-to-get-laid guide while skipping over the basic nuts and bolts of human relationships. James knows that there’s more to relationships than just carnal knowledge, and he eloquently lays out the best paths to improving communication and conviviality.

Is it rude to suggest that Manly Manners be required reading? Wayne James brings back the gentleman’s code for the young man who knows that being a gentleman is more than simply wearing a suit.

CLAIRE FOSTER