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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!