The proper use of embarrassment is as a conscience of manners. As your conscience might trouble you if you do anything immoral, your sense of embarrassment should be activated if you do anything unmannerly. As conscience should come from within, so should embarrassment. Hot tingles and flushes are quite proper when they arise from your own sense of having violated your own standards, inadvertently or advertently, but Miss Manners hereby absolves everyone from feeling any embarrassment deliberately imposed by others.

Judith Martin (b. 1938) American author, journalist [a.k.a. Miss Manners]
Miss Manners’ Guide to Excruciatingly Correct Behavior (1982)

Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
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