The Art of Civilized Conversation by Margaret Shepherd ~ Just sweetly encouraging and compact enough to toss in your bag should you have to wait somewhere. Terribly adorbs topics include "Small-Talk Saboteurs," "Disagree in a Civilized Fashion" and "Everybody Blunders."
"Sometimes you may meet a person who just can't seem to help himself; he flirts shamelessly. It may be the only way he knows how to relate to the opposite gender. Conversations always seem to return to the discussions of looks or are infused with sexual innuendo. [...] Women seem more aware of how to keep a conversation 'on track.' If you want to block or slow down a flirtation, use 'I' a lot, 'you' and 'we' never."
Thinking of You by Marjabelle Young Stewart ~ I tried the act below once with a boy. Even if romantic notions aren't their taste, you'll usually get a sweet laugh for the effort. Plus, who doesn't like thoughtful gifts?
"Tuck a perfume- or aftershave-scented handkerchief (barely scented, not drenched) into your partner's suitcase when he's leaving town on business, along with a note that says, 'Think of me.'"
How to be Lovely: The Audrey Hepburn Way of Life ~ Audrey Hepburn and how she lived the way she did, 'nuff said.
Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen ~ OK, not a modern etiquette book per say, but good golly molly did men and women know how to treat each other with such niceties (letter writing just to say hello, anyone?) And Austen offers such a lovely presentation on how sexual tension could be bottled up into neat, cordial interactions. Not that is still doesn't take a dedicated eye to learn how to "read" people's emotions. Indeed, handy even a century later.
The Fabulous Girl's Guide to Decorum by Kim Izzo & Ceri Marsh ~ These Canadian journalist wrote a three-book collection on social decorum for the modern-day gal. Tips are hilar and randy, with topics like "Sex & Courtship," "Promotion Etiquette" to "The Zen of Hostessing."
"For the single girl, 'Chapsticks' (those platonic chaps who stick by you through thick and thin) make great escorts to events. They're also there to shoulder the burden of sometimes having sex and hearing about breakups, crushes who won't call and bitter fights with boyfriends. [...] Benefit from the Chapstick's insight into male libido."Now remember, there is no book out there with the perfect rules to get you going through life flawlessly and without any social gaffes. Instead, look at it from the perspective that you're learning a new skill, or brushing up on one (gardening or cooking, for instance) and the more information you get, the better it is for you. There are many guidelines, but the best guideline to follow is remembering to express your true voice and style, proper fork or not.