January 29, 2010
It's my understanding that Canadians are the most polite people on Earth. As far as stereotypes go, that's not a bad one to have. Plus, I can corraborate it with first-hand evidence. So it comes as a bit of a surprise that Olympic organizers would produce and distribute a 120-page etiquette manual to Vancouver city employees to ensure proper behavior at the Games.
Just about everything you can imagine is covered in the document that was first leaked by City Caucas. There's the typical stuff like how to display flags, where to sit people at an official dinner, and the location of various event sites. And then there's the good stuff.
Highlights are after the jump.
In the 'Self-Care' section there are rules for proper attire.
"It is important to wear clothing that fits properly. Never dress in clothes that are too tight, they may make a slim person look gaunt and a large person look heavier.
Avoid wearing short socks. If they are too short, they may show bare leg when you sit down. Wear knee-high socks or stockings that reach above the calf. Socks should match pant colour."
That's not bad advice, really. Matching your socks to your pants elongates the leg and lets you show off the shoes that you spent so much money on.
How about smiling? That would seem to come easily enough, right? Well to some people, it comes a little too easy.
"A smile denotes warmth, openness, and friendliness. Smile "gently" and with sincerity. Be careful not to overdo it. False smiles can look artificial, and never-ending smiles may invite suspicion."
Seriously, don't try to pull any of that fake smile nonsense around some foreign dignitaries because they will catch on so fast.
However, fake smiling is better than staring, I guess.
"Looking into the other person's eyes shows your interest in the conversation. Do not however, stare too intently. Staring can be perceived as threatening."
Yeah, Creeps-a-Lot, don't be staring all up in some Prime Minister's face, lest you be considered a threat.
The whole thing is available online, and it is quite a riot. Just remember, "While words are a primary method to communicate with one another we cannot overlook or underestimate the impact of non-verbal signals." Sound advice.