Simon Doonan Says We Should Just Ask People What They Paid for Things

Simon Doonan, a writer, fashion commentator, and Barney’s window-dresser, notes in Slate that he has noticed more people picking their noses in public and wonders if “the topsy-turvy whirligig of contemporary life has clearly begun to erode modern manners.” He considers if we should update our etiquette books with some amendments — including asking people about their money:

New Rule No. 1: Shout-outs for shekels = good manners.

Nose-picking may be gaining wider acceptance, but posing blunt questions about money — How much do you earn? What did you pay for that asbestos-riddled ranch house? — remains totally verboten. This reticence has never made any sense, and now that everything is so bloody expensive, it needs to be jettisoned ASAP. It’s time to ditch the coyness about what things cost and open the record books.

The world of high fashion is the biggest culprit, as exemplified by those on-page photo credits that announce “price available upon request.” There is something intrinsically bad-mannered about dangling delectable schmattas in front of our eyeballs while simultaneously withholding the most critical info: the price. If that simple knee-grazing pique business skirt is $3,000, then for God’s sake have the decency to warn us. Henceforth, I decree that fashion models, while waddling down the runway, be obliged to carry placards bearing detailed pricing info.

I think it has always been easier to discuss how much our clothes cost than what we earn and how much our houses cost. My mother does this especially: “I love your dress! Where did you buy it? How much was it?” And more often: “Look I got this [brand] and it was only $[x] because it got it for [x] percent off!”

Photo: Viva Vivanista