Manners – or Lack Thereof

Francesca Silva

A few weeks ago, I read that Elizabeth Post, aka the current “Miss Manners,” had passed away at the age of 89. Elizabeth was the granddaughter-in-law of Emily Post, the original “Miss Manners,” whose book “Etiquette” was originally published in 1922 and is currently in its 17th edition.

Well, is it just me or do some of you also think that good manners have been thrown out the window these days? No, I’m not pointing my finger at the often much-maligned youth of today, although their habit of texting or talking on the cell phone in the presence of others annoys the heck out of me. However, their friends don’t seem to mind and are probably doing the same thing, so who am I to judge.

Okay, I’ll admit it – I’m one to judge. Yes, yes I know – “judge not or ye shall be judged” and all that! Okay, I’ll confess that my own manners are hardly impeccable, although having been trained by my very own “Miss Manners” (aka Mumsie), I’d like to think they’re more than adequate. I’ve actually often been told that I’m too polite because I say “please” and “thank you” a lot – this is only surpassed by my use of the word “sorry” to all and sundry, including a store mannequin that I bumped into the other day…

However, I digress (as usual). Let’s get back to good manners – are they over-rated? Do we really need them now? I’m not talking about going out of your way to open the door for someone – I’m perfectly capable of doing that myself, thank you (see, there I go again), although I appreciate it when someone courteously holds the door for me. That’s just basic good manners, isn’t it?

Doesn’t “good manners” mean showing respect, care, and consideration to every individual and treating everyone equally? Why thank someone for a gift but not thank someone for doing you a service? And why are cashiers now being treated like robots? I was at the supermarket the other day and the person in front of me chatted on her cell phone the whole time, totally ignoring the cashier except when she rudely gesticulated to let the cashier know that she wanted her eggs put in a separate bag, and then rolled her eyes when the cashier took a while to figure out what she wanted. Just as well I wasn’t the cashier because I know where those eggs would have ended up (so much for my good manners)!

Okay, rant over…except to finish off with what Mumsie told me once that has always stuck with me: “Treat everyone the way you would like to be treated.” Wise woman, that mother of mine!
[tags]miss manners, Emily Post, Elizabeth Post, Peggy Post, Emily Post’s Etiquette, 17th Edition, 1922, etiquette at wedding[/tags]

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