21 October 2009
Miss Manners, where are you?
"Dude, watcha want?"
This was the greeting given to my husband while ordering at a restaurant. Dude? My husband is a dude???
Gone are the days when manners were second nature. We can blame things such as gang culture, hoodies and many other things, but it really is society as a whole that has stooped to this lousy manner endemic that in one single generation, has turned into something that my parents wouldn't recognize.
While watching an old "To Tell the Truth" the other day on you tube, the DH and I stopped at the end of the show and just looked at each other. "Did you hear and see that?", he asked me. "Plain as day..impeccable manners." Now this was only a mere 50-60 years ago. Even the first question started with "What is your name, please". Please?
No longer do people say automatically please, thank you much less ma'am or sir. There are signs in buses that tell you to give your seat to the elderly. We need a sign? Or one of my favorites is sitting in a restaurant or movie theater only to hear a ringing cell phone. I know, they tell you to turn them off...this should just be common courtesy. We shouldn't have to be told to do so. If you complain, you're greeted with a barrage of rudeness. Then there's a little something called road rage..honking and abusive gestures. Or the doctor that keeps you waiting for an hour for your appointment. A one second response of "I'm sorry" would be nice. The list can go on and on.
Perhaps some..just a little... of this may be due in part that the new generation womens lib found it demeaning to have a door opened, bag carried, help putting on a coat or even walking on the outside of the sidewalk (if you understand that one, you are clearly over 45!). However, manners towards each other became outdated no matter what your sex, age or class was.
Many of you know that I live in a small town and I can say that manners abound in both the adults and the children. Please, thank you, sir and ma'am are all part of the speech. I think that as grownups, we need to set a high standards for our children and lead by example. Not "do as I say" but "do as I do". My parents practiced this and we, in turn did this with our kids. Manners should not be an option. They are a form of respect and common courtesy and this goes both ways for the kids as well as the adults.
"Good evening, sir. What would you like for dinner?" Aaahhh...now that sounds better!