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Do Manners Make The Man?

Aug 17, 2007
The three, little words I heard most growing up were, "Mind your manners"; but manners change. Women no longer expect doors to be held for them or chairs to be pulled out for them. Men are no longer expected to take their hats off inside or even in restaurants.

In restaurants I was taught that if there were two knives, forks or spoons, you used the one farther from the plate first. That's not a problem at MacDonald's or Denny's.

However, if waiters at any restaurant had asked my grandmother "How you guys doin?" or "Are you still workin on that?", the tip she would have left would have been, "Ask customers if they are enjoying their meal".

My grandmother didn't enjoy my pointing. Over and over again I was told the staff at Ritz Carlton Hotels wasn't allowed to point. Staff gave directions verbally or escorted the guest to the desired location. Today when I find myself pointing, I realize I didn't get the point.

However, I do get a gift for the host when invited to someone's home; and Grandmother would be proud of me - I write a thank you note the next day. Writing thank you notes is a dying tradition; and if my sons are any example, their generation isn't trying to resuscitate it.

My sons' idea of good manners was leaving milk and cookies for Santa, but we left store-bought cookies. The boys wanted to make sure Santa Claus came back the following year.

Although Santa was allowed to eat all his cookies, my sons were told never to take the last one. They'd ask why and I'd say because it's rude. Then they'd ask why it was rude. Because I didn't know, I'd break the cookie as equally as possible for them to share. If I'd known about Feng Shui, I could have explained taking the last of any thing causes an energy of poverty.

Grandmother would have loved Feng Shui. She could have explained pointing sends a negative energy toward the person you're pointing at - but she would have explained it without ending the sentence with a preposition.

Today respecting one's elders requires explanation. With sixty being the new forty, who's elder is a gray area covered by Clairol.

It's said manners make the man; but I think women made the manners - to stop men from dragging them by their hair.
About the Author
KNIGHT PIERCE HIRST takes humorous looks at life.
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