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 However, manners towards each other became outdated no matter what your sex, age or class was.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!
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briannelee said…
I was in class a few years ago and a guy's cell phone rang and he then decided to take the call in class... didn't leave the room or anything. That was really strange.
Snap said…
Amen, Amen, Amen!

(I'm beginning to believe that *common sense* and *common courtesy* are traits carried in the genes -- Oh, My!)
Alicia: Oh yes! Manners are (or used to be) our sign of respect for the beingness of the human in front of us. Now, one can feel so brushed off - so discounted when lack of manners are displayed. Manners are like the oil that quiets a squeaky hinge. The squeaks are now a roar.

Love the subtitle of the book in your image!
Renee Khan said…
Manners are hugely important to me. I think they are to society too.

Love Renee xoxo
Sandra said…
It's not surprising the youth are not civil....... look at the behavior of their examples. The adults in their lives. With lack of civility comes lack of any form of courtesy. I've met more rude 30 -40 year old people than I have young people. Perhaps those 30 - 40 year olds have just had more practice. : )
Divine Mrs D said…
My mom raised us to always be polite and it's unconscious for me now...I just do it.

But I do have to ask...the outside of the sidewalk? Yeah...I'm under 45...

When my husband and I walk, he always walks beside the road. In case of a rogue car.
Delena said…
I couldn't agree more, manners leave much to be desired. It has become a "me me" world. The lack of respect is another subject. My son who is a foreman where he works approached one of his employees and told him to start working as this fellow was just sitting in his truck looking around. The fellows response was, "chill man, I"ll get to it". Needless to say we are now in the day when heaven forbid you don't fire anyone, so my son just had to "write him up" and in a couple of days the fellow was just transferred to a different land fill in another area of the city. He then became another foreman's problem. Sad but true of today's society.
Emmy said…
I completely agree! I teach my kids to say sir and ma'am. It is funny to hear my two year say "they are sirs, and they are ma'ams", figuring out the whole gender thing.

But then I will hear people say, "someone called me ma'am the other day--it made me feel so old"

So what are we supposed to call people then, hey you?

I didn't grow up in the south, but I think we all need a little down south charm and grace and it really would make the world a better place.
Sarah said…
Whoooot..yes yes yes!!! Wonderful post hon!! I worked in a deli.bakery for a bit some years ago and people would walk up, talking on their cell phones and point at meat they wanted cut..I would have to wait until they got to a break to tell me how much..as other customers waited. So I made a sign (my boss liked me) that read.."If you would like my service ..please be considerate to me and the other customers..get off your phone." If they ignored the sign..I ignored them and went on to the next person..they figured it out fast. Oooooo I hate rudeness!!! K got me goin' - pet peave!!
Hugs, Sarah
I really agree with you on this post...its so sad how people young and old are...I live in a small town too and yet the manners are something alot of people still forgot to teach their children. One day my youngest and I was walking out of a store and my 11 yr old held the door open for me and for another woman walking out. The woman gave my son a hug and said thank you young man and she reached over to me and gave me a squeeze and said you did a good job mom. That made my day. It felt good knowing that even in this day and age where alot of people have forgotten what manners are...my children were still capable of showing them and some people were capable of noticing.
If only we could fix this problem. It almost seems too late to turn back now, the manners are gone and the slang has replaced them. I wait tables and sometimes I slip and say "yeah" and I always think about my dad saying "yeah, what?" .... "yes, sir". It's sad to see what my generation has become in the manners department, I only hope when I have kids things don't get progressively worse!
Diane said…
I am a stickler with my kids. I don't need to be called ma'am but I do appreciate eye contact and full sentences headed my way instead of grunts and abbreviations. :O)
Barbara said…
Alicia, When I went to France, I learned that they really do think of us as Ugly Americans. Manners. It's so simple. They don't ask much. When you speak with someone French, you begin with, "Bon jour, madame, or monsieur." If you start with that simple greeting (politeness) they turn to you and happily answer you. If you don't, they just ignore you. Or scowl at you. Can you imagine if everyone did that here? So simple and basic a courtesy. Sigh. America has forgotten what it's like to be simply polite. Great post, Alicia. You're so, so right. xo B
Vicky said…
Our elementary school has implemented a new little incentive program that recognizes when kids use proper manners. They are trying not to "reward" the kids but bring attention to the behavior they want exhibited. I'm glad its being addressed, but its also a little sad that it has to be addressed :)
Amen! And, teaching kids manners is so hard!! To get the please and thank you is like pulling teeth sometimes. Very frustrating!
TheChicGeek said…
Thank you for posting this, Alicia. I agree with you 100 percent! I always say yes, please and thank you...I try to be polite. People are often shocked. They say, "Wow, no one ever does that anymore. How nice."

Manners make our days so much more lovely. Manners make people feel cherished and respected. Manners make people smile.

We just have to keep doing our part by being polite and hoping it rubs off on others.

I love this!

THANK YOU! And have a Beautiful Day, Alicia :D
Hugs :D
Hello Lindello said…
Bravo. I agree. I HATE it when people use their cell phones in public. UUUgh its the worst.
Teacher's Pet said…
OH! Don't get me started!! Love this post!!
Let's have a month's worth of this kind of posting...(we could, you know!!)
Thank you!! Thank you!!! Thank you!!
We need more Mr. Rogers-type programs on TV (since a lot of the parents aren't parenting their children and apparently the TV babysits) (I hope I don't get ugly comments for saying that....but I did say 'a lot'...and not 'most'...and as a former teacher, I stand on that...with evidence. Soooo, IF they are going to let the TV be the babysitter, programs like the old "Captain Kangaroo" (remember)....where 'please' and 'thank you' were always used...and Mr. Rogers....sigh....would be most beneficial for learning good old-fashioned 'manners.'
I learned mine at home....and that is where I taught my children theirs. I always thank the children at school for manners and follow it up by this comment: "Your manners are wonderful. Please, go home and give your Mama or Daddy (or Grandmother or Granddaddy, etc.) a biiig hug from me, and tell them that they have done a fantastic job of teaching you manners.
(What about getting onto an elevator before the ones that are about to get off can even take a step toward the door to get off. Has no one taught people to WAIT before getting on until those that are getting out do so..????
A waitress was going to remove our dishes from our table, and reached across us and said, "Let me get that outcha way." I had to listen TWICE!
"Outcha way?...outcha way?...Did she mean...out of your way...?? Really.....don't get me started. I'm usually miles and miles of smiles...but this one really 'rings my bell.'
Love this post!
Hugs and smiles,
Kelly Muys Wood said…
You used to live down here, right, Alicia? When I address people as Sir or Ma'am they think that I'm being rude.

Go figure.

This is so true! It seems everywhere I go the service people just have this I don't care attitude.
Great post! I do see that people's opinions of manners do differ though and that's interesting. Simple basics is all I ask. I think a lot of it comes from what children see their parents model. They may stray a bit in the rebel years, but as they mature you start to see them return to what they saw you do as an adult. I am sure there are exceptions - this is painting with a broad brush. I do think the whole women's lib, don't hold the door open, I can carry it myself (now my back is killing me as I age!) probably had a hand in it, but much in our culture is to blame -- including some parents along the way. Now the internet enforeces short, abbreviated speech - which I am sure shows back up when actually talking!

Yes, my husband walks on the outside near the cars also . . it always makes me feel special and cared for. :)
drollgirl said…
manners are a good thing. they go a LONG way to making things more pleasant!

i always feel like a goon in restaurants as i thank the hostess, the waiters, and the busboys profusely. it is a nice thing to do, and i don't want them messing with my food! :)
amyg said…
Amen, sister!!! We try and try to teach our children these simple, oh-so basic life skills. It kills me when their friends laugh at them for being polite. Whatever. It builds character, right? Nice to know there are others out there with similar views!
"How do you do this evening Mrs Alicia Boylerpf?

I complete have to agree with you. Lately some of my younger girlfriends even call me dude as well...I'm quite disturbed by this trend! Firstly, I don't surf at all?! Oh well, 'kids' these days!!!
You know, you are completely right!!
I wonder if, like with the changing times, the time of manners is over?
Of course it's common curtsey, but less and less are being educated in that curtasy.
It's just sad is what it is =/
Liss said…
Manners what are they again?

At my sons school the instill good manners in the children even the senior students open door for you. There is respect at all times.
It astounds me though that we see the need to teach manners to intellectually disabled children (who learn their manners well) yet there is little value placed on manners at mainstream school. To me there is no excuse if kids with disabilities can manage the concept of manners so can normal developing children. Maybe it's not the school maybe it's the parents fault.
I drum manners into my kids and they get it right most of the time.
Could not agree more! Manners are sorely lacking...but on occasion they pop up. Just the other day, the gentleman who was my waiter in a restaurant helped me on with my coat. Wow! We need to start a revolution...a 'nice' revolution.

p.s. always a pleasure reading your comments on my blog, thanks so much!
Alisa said…
I couldn't agree with you more!

The confused/shocked look on people's faces, always surprises me, when my teenage son holds the door for people when we are out.

Manners are just nice... why wouldn't you use them?!
Rose said…
Great Post! Manners are so important and should be practiced no matter where you are...at home, at work, in school, in a restaurant or public place........just everywhere.......we were all raised to have good manners!

What has happened to these rude people?
Britwife said…
Luckily, we live in a small town and MOST of the kids/people practice good manners.
Don't even get me started on tailgating. Have you noticed how many tailgaters there are out on the road nowadays? When I started driving, we were told to stay (many car lengths) distance behind the car in front. I don't think they teach that in school anymore. Rudeness abounds in many forms.
Nancy said…
I couldn't agree more. And remember the "get your elbows off the table!" And "quit hunkering over your food!" - I watched a man at a table nearby do both things yesterday. I often wonder if my children are happy they were at least taught good manners?
Noble Beeyotch said…
I really agree with everything you have said about manners here and it was a treat to read everyone's comments as well.

I have to tell you how great your blog looks in this layout and i am totally loving the banner. So very artsy!
Good manners are so important, and it really takes no effort at all to simply be polite to others, yet so few make even that small effort any more.
Chrisy said…
Yes the world is much nicer with good manners...and re the waiter...well he obviously wasn't taught manners at home...and he hasn't been trained by the restaurant employing him...maybe we all need to speak up more so that these young ones know what's acceptable...
Kate said…
Thanks for discussing this subject !! I am so proud of our children and their spouses...they are teaching our grandchildren manners !! They live in a small community...and these values are reinforced. I think that is helpful !

I wonder why manners are not important to people anymore?
Now mind you, neither of us is eloquent (in fact we're very lazy talkers). But at our age, when a youngster squats down by our table & says "What would you guys like to order?", we both cringe thinking "we are not "you guys"... we are "ya'll".

Haddock said…
Please and thank you has gone out of the window.....well almost.

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