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16 August 2007 @ 09:15 am
"Yet sadly, accidental rudeness occurs alarmingly often."  
I'm going to rant a bit.  I feel I should I should warn you ahead of time.

In my travels about the country in the past week, I've noticed that good manners in the American culture are slipping.  No, not even slipping.  Horribly absent.  I'm not even talking about using the wrong fork here, folks, but things that should be second nature, and aren't.  It seems that in this "me" society, that no one thinks of others before themselves.  What has happened to please and thank you? (I've trained my husband now.  He didn't bother with it when we were first married.)  Those are the barest essential elements of good manners and it appears that it has become passe to use even those niceties.  Don't even get me started about chivalry, or the people in the airport barrelling over you with not even an apology thrown over their shoulder as they race to another gate.  Opening the doors for other people?  Helping someone struggling with a load?  It might be a little more prevalent in the south of the United states, but not much.  

Due to the training I've been giving my own sons, the qualities in them that I'm trying to make second nature to them, I've noticed that, aside from their father, they don't have very many good role models in men.  Their little friends don't open the doors for their mother, they don't help unload groceries from the car, and they have attrocious table manners.  

Table manners!  Good heavens above!  I know formal American table manners, like where to put your knife and fork when you're finished eating to signal the waiter that you've finished your meal, as well my way around a place setting, but I'm talking the basics.  For children, for adults, for everyone.  Put your napkin in your lap.  Close your mouth when you chew.  Don't talk with food in your mouth.  Sit up straight (Posture.  Don't even get me started.) and bring the food to your mouth, don't hunch over your plate like someone might take it from you.  Keep your elbows off the table.  Don't salt the food without tasting it first.  You do not belch, burp, or anything worse at the dinner table.  EVER.  Don't begin eating before the host does, unless directed otherwise.  When someone asks you to pass the salt, you pass it hand to hand, down the table, and you do not hold it hostage and use it first before passing it. (This is a pet peeve of mine.)  Blot with a napkin, don't smear.

I'm not going to go in to how to eat soup, because we'd be here all day.

In short, having good manners nowadays sometimes means putting up with someone else's bad manners.  But, if people were more aware of others and their feelings, it might come more naturally.  Think of someone else first, for a change.  And for heaven's sake, chew with your mouth closed.
I feel:: crankycranky
I hear:: Embraceable You
Kate: Snoopy: blahmugglechump on August 16th, 2007 03:00 pm (UTC)
When James and I went out to dinner for the first time I couldn't look him in the face for most of the meal because he would talk with his mouth full. Eventually I managed to train him out of that habit (for the most part), but I totally agree - how do people not know that's inappropriate? I mean, for heaven's sake, if there is absolutely no way you can manage to hold back your enthusiasm for conversation for the 10 seconds or so it will take to chew and swallow at least put a hand in front of your mouth so I don't view the feast!
Carrie Leigh: snark of warcarrie_leigh on August 16th, 2007 03:09 pm (UTC)
*nods* I agree wholeheartedly. Nolan used to say, for example, "Get me a Dr. Pepper." Or "I'll take some of that (whatever)." My response was just to look at him and blink, eyebrow raised. He had manners with other people, just not me. It didn't tkae long for him to realize that "please" and "May I" go a loooong way to making me happy, and he ends up getting exactly what he wants.
shady121 on August 16th, 2007 03:14 pm (UTC)
-is a neanderthal-
Most of my table manners are good, but I could improve graetly. Thank you for pointing it out though. Otherwise I'd be a troll :P
Carrie Leigh: get the cowcarrie_leigh on August 16th, 2007 03:58 pm (UTC)
Re: -is a neanderthal-
I'm sure you aren't. Everyone gets lax, though, and I know when I watch T.V. while I eat, my manners go out the window, because I'm not thinking about what I'm doing.
kristibisci: People Piss Me Off- by Shoe_Gal/Pink-Coskristibisci on August 16th, 2007 03:25 pm (UTC)
Glad to see your raising your sons to be gentlemen. The world needs more of those! My parents are big on table manners. I remember being the recipient of many "Elbows elbows on the table, stand up and say you're sorry" when I was little but it worked! I hate it when people say "but that's so old fashioned" when talking about manners. No, it's just common decency! When I read your bit about posture, though, I straightened up in my chair. That's something I still need to work on (and my mom's biggest pet peeve, although I'm not as bad as my sisters)!
Kate: Charlie Brown: applausemugglechump on August 16th, 2007 03:31 pm (UTC)
Hear! Hear! Old fashioned and outdated are not synonymous! There are a lot of 'old fashioned' ideas that we'd be better off if we still followed.
(no subject) - carrie_leigh on August 16th, 2007 04:04 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - carrie_leigh on August 16th, 2007 04:00 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - kristibisci on August 16th, 2007 04:34 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - carrie_leigh on August 16th, 2007 09:42 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Elleelvishly on August 16th, 2007 03:29 pm (UTC)
I rarely use my table manners, because I sit at behind my own desk most of the time. :P

My father and brother, both, don't use just ... general manners though. =/ When I'm being forced out going out with them I usually have to talk to the person or whoever they're talking to just so I can clarify what they want and add a couple of 'pleases' and 'thanks's in there. It's really embarrassing.
Carrie Leigh: It's exhaustingcarrie_leigh on August 16th, 2007 04:06 pm (UTC)
Ooh. Sorry. Sitting in (nice) restaurants in NY last week, I noticed people chewing with their mouths open all over the place. It's an epidemic.
sue_bridehead on August 16th, 2007 04:07 pm (UTC)
We have always preached manners in our house. The kids still need reminded now and then, but my husband is quite good with 'please' and 'thank you'. Even 'you're welcome' - a dying phrase in America that is giving way to "No problem" and "Uh-huh." We're very polite, and when he asks me to do something, he's usually appreciative.

But when he eats, he often tries to talk, like what he has to say just can't wait 30 seconds. Of course, no one can understand him, so I'll say, "Finish that first and then tell me." He also tends to 'smack' his food noisily, which really gets on my nerves. I don't think he even knows he does it! He has a hearing problem, so maybe he can't hear it and doesn't think anyone else can either(?). Luckily, restaurants are so loud these days, I usually don't hear it when we're eating out - but at home, it's a bit disgusting.

P.S. I recently read that 'No problem' is not a good substitute for 'You're welcome' because it basically means, "I didn't have to put myself out on your behalf." ^_^ When I thought of it like that, I decided to stop saying it.
Carrie Leigh: I beleive I can flycarrie_leigh on August 16th, 2007 04:19 pm (UTC)
Goodness, I do say that. I think I'll stop. My husband has the habit of scraping his fork on his teeth which I don't let myself think about, or I might implode. He does stop if I say something, which is nice of him.

In other news, I'm re-reading Mala Fide, before embarking on the beta - I printed it out so I could take it to the pool. Do you have any idea how thick that sucker is? It's impressive, I'll tell you that. I'm halfway through, so It shouldn't be too much longer. :)
(no subject) - sue_bridehead on August 16th, 2007 04:25 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - mugglechump on August 16th, 2007 04:25 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - carrie_leigh on August 16th, 2007 04:32 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - sue_bridehead on August 16th, 2007 04:36 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - kristibisci on August 16th, 2007 04:37 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(Anonymous) on August 16th, 2007 05:08 pm (UTC)
so my predilection to paranoia caused me to wonder while reading this if I slipped while we were together and prompted any of this rant?? M.
Carrie Leigh: Chicago - happycarrie_leigh on August 16th, 2007 09:38 pm (UTC)
Re: guilt
No, it's not you. *smiles sweetly*
Cydney: Munch Munchalittleredhood on August 16th, 2007 07:19 pm (UTC)
I feel really gross because all this week after surgery, if I don't chew with my mouth open, I will suffocate.

It's grosssssssssssssssssssssss. D8
Carrie Leigh: daffy robincarrie_leigh on August 16th, 2007 09:41 pm (UTC)
I think I can forgive the after-nose surgery recouperation time. Are you okay?

Dr. Who is officially on my netflix queue. :)
(no subject) - alittleredhood on August 17th, 2007 07:12 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - carrie_leigh on August 17th, 2007 01:45 pm (UTC) (Expand)
dragonsangel68dragonsangel68 on August 16th, 2007 11:37 pm (UTC)
You know, I think it's a worldwide slip in the etiquette department. How many families have time to sit down to a family meal these days? That's where manners start to be learned.
Carrie Leigh: janitorcarrie_leigh on August 17th, 2007 01:45 pm (UTC)
So true. Family dinners are very important, and are becoming a thing of the past.
seegrim: look after my heartseegrim on August 17th, 2007 02:07 am (UTC)
How about this one?

My battery died the other day in the University parking lot. I had my own jumper cables, asked two people and neither one would jump my battery. Finally, after I had called AAA, someone drove over to me and offered.

So yes, there are definitely rude, rude people out there, but at least there are a few nice ones left. Ones whose mom taught them manners. :)
Carrie Leigh: Dean handcarrie_leigh on August 17th, 2007 01:44 pm (UTC)
How awful! I cannot believe two people told you 'no'. Maybe the next generation (the one we're in charge of rearing) will be better!
Cydneyalittleredhood on August 21st, 2007 12:25 am (UTC)
You know what else is rude? When you borrow the car of your daughter, who is inside with gauze strapped to her face because she just underwent an operation, and then you leave the car unlocked in the driveway all night. Especially when you make a big deal of making sure said daughter locks her car up every single night, which she does diligently because you tell her to.

But what MAY be just a LITTLE BIT ruder than that is spotting an unlocked car in a driveway at four in the morning and deciding that it would be a splendid idea to open it up and steal the entire middle console, including the 15-20 CDs that were inside it.

Carrie Leigh: daffy robincarrie_leigh on August 21st, 2007 12:28 pm (UTC)
Who are you more mad at? Your mom or the theif that stole your CD's? That sucks, Cyd. Sorry.