IN an unassuming brick office building in a well-heeled Washington suburb, Dorothea Johnson teaches how not to make a fool of oneself. 'I don't mind jeans,' said the director of the Protocol School of Washington, an authority on etiquette. 'But if you're going to wear them, put on a jacket.' And what might a lady do about a bad hair day? 'Put on a nice hat,' said Ms Johnson, a petite woman and a model of proper grooming in a beige and black-trimmed suit. A teacher of manners for more than 40 years, Ms Johnson is now at the forefront of a counter-revolution against three decades of denim, disrespect and, like, you know, disintegrating grammar. Good manners are making a surprising comeback. 'A lot of parents grew up during the social revolution of the 1970s, a time of free sex, bad conduct and me, me, me,' said Letitia Baldrige, former chief of staff to first lady Jacqueline Kennedy who is America's leading expert on etiquette. 'Now, they want their children to have manners and are realising that they can't [teach them].' The cotillion, which began as formal ball, a means of introducing young ladies of marriageable age to young gentlemen with proper pedigrees, is back. The North Carolina-based National League of Junior Cotillions now has chapters in 25 states. Adam Boggs, 17, said his cotillion experience was invaluable. While he once was hesitant to converse with adults, he said he now felt more comfortable around his elders. He also thinks having manners gives him an edge when applying for a job. Brandi Kottka, 12, does not know about edge. But she does know what looks good. 'I learned in the cotillion that you're supposed to break off a piece of bread, butter it, then eat it,' she said. 'My sister took a hunk of bread, buttered the whole thing and shoved it in her mouth. Yuck!' Manners seem to be taking over even on TV. Now there is a gadget that will do away with offensive words and let the show go on. A small device attached to the set can monitor all programmes and videos. It works by reading script embedded in all programmes, comparing each word to its dictionary of foul language, muting the bad words and flashing a neutral substitute on the screen. 'This has liberated us to stand up for our convictions and still enjoy great movies,' said the Reverend Jonas Robertson, president of Curse Free TV.