The definition of manners is a person’s outward bearing or way of behaving toward others:
his arrogance and pompous manner | a shy and diffident manner…
polite or well-bred social behavior : didn’t your mother teach you any manners?
• social behavior or habits : Tim apologized for his son’s bad manners.
I’d like to take this time to apologize for the world’s bad manners in general since they seem to be lost possibly never to be seen again.
This essay was inspired by a book I’ve recently read by Henry Alford called Would it Kill You to Stop Doing That?
Alford’s book made me realize, manners are virtually absent across the board.
In New England, where I’m from, etiquette was as important as personal hygiene. My mother drilled them into me where they still live actively I’m happy to report. The only downside is my shock that they’re not complemented more often by others.
To sum it up, most people are fucking rude.
The last time I went to my neighbor Trudy’s for a fish dinner she kept taking phone calls… not short and sweet ones either. As a matter of fact I actually left while she was on the phone without as much as a good-bye from my not so courteous hostess. I couldn’t handle being so blatantly ignored any longer.
Her behavior especially galled me since she complained all evening about how awful her daughter-in-law behaves. If you don’t mind me saying, the elder is the example.
That’s just one incident to elaborate on. I have many.
How about inappropriate cell phone use in general like on the bus or in a check-out line. Do you really need to know what someone had for dinner that’s been causing all that morning tooting?
How many doors slam in my face on any given day? Men think just because women got the vote means they should get the door too.
We mustn’t forget how the term thank-you seems to be at large.
I’m a big gift giver and have trained myself to glean joy from it – receiving is in the giving as they say. I never give anything expecting it returned in kind…EVER.
But I would like to know that you’ve received it. Oh I know, such an outlandish expectation, right?
There’s a woman up the block I’ve known for a good fifteen years who always struck me as being lonely. When I tap into this I can’t help acting on it in some way to try to make things a tad nicer since it takes so little. It’s that Catholic residue still lingering.
Trouble with this lady whom I’ll call Ann is, she never acknowledges anything I do that usually entails leaving whatever it is with her doorman.
I’m constantly wondering, did she get it?
If I see her on the street I will have to ask and she’ll say as innocently as can be, “Oh, haven’t I seen you since then?” It’s rather embarrassing at this end since it appears that I’m looking for praise when it’s merely delivery confirmation.
Is she brain dead I’ve often asked myself? She’s very rich, I know that much, but there could be a part missing. Camille, the voice of little bullshit, thinks she’s just insanely cheap and is afraid she’ll be expected to reciprocate if she acknowledges my attentions.
If any theory called for a drink it was that one. Make it a triple.
Finally, two-hundred gifts later, she presently only reaps a Christmas card.
I need manners, I do. I find civility very comforting in a very discomforting world. I need you to be polite.
Because it’s a gentler, kinder way to be that lessens my fear of the general planet.
I want everyone to act as if they work at a good hotel. If you’ve never had that experience please, go have it.
You’ll hear please and thank-you…can I help you, so much the seeds of courtesy will take root in your brain.
Doors open till you’re safely through them with a smile thrown in for good measure.
A little cheer goes a long way even if it costs 400 buck a night. I say it’s worth going into debt for and you can take home all the stationary 🙂
While we’re on the subject, I find animals to be better mannered than most men. Have you ever seen a dog leave a woman at the curb by herself while he hurries along? Don’t think so.
Take Anthony the pit for instance – he waits for Jennifer, his mistress, no matter what. He may show a little impatience by licking the area where his balls used to be, a subtle hint to his mom to get a move on, but he’d never abandon her for his own park needs, I can tell you that.
I’ve had dates leave me after throwing money on the table before rushing out to go get the car. When I think about it I was lucky, pulling up at the curb, they came to a full stop.
This is why once in a while I have to cross the Connecticut state line to get my bearings back.
That aroma of good breeding invades my nostrils the moment I hit Greenwich.
Come to think of it, maybe I’ll catch the 10:05.