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Wednesday, August 5, 2015

The Mystery About Manners

From http://fearlessmen.com/opening-a-door-for-a-woman/
Manners. They are little actions that seem so small they can hardly be expected to make a difference. Some are simple niceties, such as a man opening the car door for a woman, and some are signs of respect, such as when a man removes his hat as a funeral procession passes. Actually, most acts attributed to  manners and etiquette are born out of a respect for others.

Women don't wear white to weddings so as not to draw attention from the bride. We dress nicely for church out of respect for God.  

These days, manners are considered old-fashioned. Stand when a lady enters the room? First, you've got to find a lady. But manners - or the lack of them - are the driving force behind Edward Harlow in Civility Rules.

Edward writes advice books on etiquette under the pseudonym Aunt Civility. He limits his public appearances to groups of like-minded people, because he thinks that the average person is a cretin. There are times when I'm inclined to agree. Somewhere along the line, society decided that manners were pretentious. Fake.

Not so. Not only are they necessary for civil discourse, they raise the image of the person using them.
That's why parents teach their children manners on a daily basis. They have hopes that their precious pearls won't turn out to be slobs. Don't chew with your mouth open. Don't swear. Wait your turn. The payoff is an adult whose company others are happy to share.


Nicholas, Edward's brother and the more cynical of the two, believes that Edward is fighting a losing battle. People have become crass and lazy. They are more interested in self-satisfaction than in any discomfort they may cause others. However, he does admit that manners, when they are present, are contagious.

Think about it. If  you are conversing with someone who is polite and keeps foul language out of the conversation, sooner or later you're going to catch on and do the same. If you've ever dressed up for the opera or a play or even dinner, don't you find your that your behavior rises to the occasion?

Of course, when Edward's routine is disrupted by murder, he's stymied. Etiquette experts never addressed sudden and violent death.

Who is the rudest person you've ever encountered? Did you respond civilly? I'd love to hear about your triumph!





4 comments:

  1. Jackie, excellent post!! I'd add coughing without covering your mouth. Caught a horrible flu like that from a grocery line I couldn't escape from. I have no triumphs when it comes to rude, inconsiderate, and not so nice people. And my solutions are quite uncharitable (smile). Must say, living out in the middle of the desert down a long dirt road limits my exposure--which suits me just fine these days. Of course one has to go to store occasionally.

    Again, excellent post.

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  2. I often think about going off to live in the desert, in the woods, or some other isolated spot. I have to admit that the one that gets me is talking on the cell phone while in line, especially at the counter in front of the clerk. If I was a clerk, I would stand still until the person asked me what was the matter, and then I would say, "I had a question, but I didn't want to be rude."

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  3. Richard still opens the car door for me when we go someplace. And he always paid for the meal when we dated. My dad did the same thing. Only once I remember getting up from the table at Jack in the Box to tell some loud mouthed girls to tone it down. They were so shocked, they left. Richard and I were very glad they didn't come back with guns. I am sure I wouldn't try it now. And as for cell phones... where is Miss Manners or Miss Civility to write the etiquette on using an intrusive, loud, annoying cell phone? Am anxious for your new book to hit the shelves.

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  4. Love this post... and the anticipation of actually reading CIVILITY RULES soon. I grew up without a dad - from age 5 till after I was married when my mom married my step-dad. We were kind of on our own. Somehow I learned the - don't talk with food in your mouth, elbows off the table, burp softly etc., but I never got used to car door opening. I'm very independent and I guess to impatient to wait, if my hubby thought of doing it. Hey, I might even still be sitting in the car when he sits down at a restaurant and wonders where I could have gotten to. HAHA. But I like well mannered people, and confess to reading Ann Landers (and prodigy) and others to see just what IS the correct thing to do, say, or write in a thank you note. Thank YOU, Jackie for this post and for the upcoming book!

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