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June 6th, 2002


Over the past few weeks, I’ve noticed that there’s something sorely lacking in society. Very simply, we’re not being very courteous and we’re not paying mind to others.

I base this statement on a few things. First, there’s a severe lack of courtesy when it comes to the service industry (surprise!) Ever go through a drive-thru and been greeted? How about having any verbal contact with the other person at all? What about at the store? Unless it’s a local store, or someone is exceptionally well-mannered, a sincere “hello” seems hard to come by.

And then there’s the whole vanishing of the phrase, “thank you”. I’ve noticed this particularly as of late. You hold a door for someone? Nothing. You give them a “gesundheit” or “bless you”? Nothing but the sneeze.

So, why is this happening? Why are manners going away and, more importantly, why are we accepting it? Sure, sure, things change – I recognize that, and I don’t want to become a fuddy duddy in some ways. But it just seems that we’re far, far more willing to give someone the finger than give them a thumbs up. We’re likely to call someone “stupid” than “resourceful”, and we’re more likely to attack people than try to understand what’s going on.

Friends, let’s bring back the manners. Please. Thank you.

Posted in Everyday Life

FROM: Diva
DATE: Thursday June 6, 2002 -- 9:38:32 am
Welcome to the real world, pal! It's everyone for themselves-no one cares about manners anymore. Parents don't raise their kids-TV and computers do, so there's your answer right there. Unfortunately, we can't change the world, as much as we would like to. It sucks. Thank you.

FROM: Sox Fan
DATE: Thursday June 6, 2002 -- 9:47:44 am
I've found more courtesy after 9/11 to be honest
with you. That of course has waned in the
past few months, but I think if there is another
incident, that will change again.
What bugs me is common courtesy towards women
(like opening doors, etc) usually gets you a dirty

FROM: Tina
DATE: Thursday June 6, 2002 -- 9:50:33 am
Manners HAVE fallen by the wayside, and I, for one, miss them! There oughtta be a law! What about phrases like "May I please" when you're ordering at a restaurant, not just "I'll have"? Whenever I witness someone exhibiting excellent manners in any situation, I make a point to praise them out loud. It's worth it to know that by calling attention to good manners that maybe someone else with lesser manners will take notice!

FROM: Chris [E-Mail]
DATE: Thursday June 6, 2002 -- 10:03:02 am
It all starts at home. And with many or most families needing two incomes just to get by, the parents aren't there to reinforce polite behavior until it becomes a habit, so it never does. If I don't remind my little league team right before snack to thank the parent that brought it, maybe 2 or 3 out of 12 will do it on their own. And these are 6-8 year olds, definately old enough to know.

FROM: Paul
DATE: Thursday June 6, 2002 -- 11:26:47 am
Diva: Unfortunately, we can't change the world, as much as we would like to. It sucks. Thank you.

The sign of a person resigned.

We can change the world - some people just don't want to. Some of those people right now are parents, and aren't passing on simple courtesy to their kids.

FROM: Ryan
DATE: Thursday June 6, 2002 -- 12:01:14 pm
I think manners are on the decline, but bad manners haven't become commonplace enough for me to not notice them... I notice when someone doesn't say "thank you" for holding a door. And I certainly noticed last night when a woman saw that a co-worker and I were both using both hands to carry a large box out a pair of doors and instead of waiting 3 seconds to hold it open for us, she let it shut on us.

We made it a point to say "Thanks! Appreciate the help!" out loud.

FROM: Monica
DATE: Thursday June 6, 2002 -- 12:24:26 pm
Speaking as one in the service industry, we have to put up with a lot, like "I need..." (when I hear that, I think oh, really?) and "I want" and stuff, like Tina said. I think it wears people down (not that that's right) and people think fine, if you're not going to be polite, I'm not going to try either. Unfortunately, people in the service industries too often are looked down on (in pay scale, too) and there's nothing like feeling underappreciated/undervalued to make someone feel bitter. (not that I am!)
But I've known lots of people who are polite... maybe it's just a Wisconsin thing. I hope not!

FROM: Robert [E-Mail]
DATE: Thursday June 6, 2002 -- 1:27:16 pm
Re: Wisconsin . . . It's hard to be rude when you're full of cheese and beer. I know from experience.

FROM: Patrick
DATE: Thursday June 6, 2002 -- 2:11:28 pm

I bet you see the lack of manners every day while driving. I think that poor driving habits is the single worst instance of bad manners in our society.

FROM: Ryan
DATE: Thursday June 6, 2002 -- 2:56:04 pm
Patrick -- Absolutely. In their cars, people don't feel as responsible for their actions because they don't have to come face to face with the person they disrespect, unlike not holding a door open for someone.

FROM: Old-timer at 27
DATE: Thursday June 6, 2002 -- 4:16:31 pm
It's not even between strangers. Last Saturday I was walking in downtown Portland, ME and there were these two girls in prom dresses hiked up to their knees huddled under an umbrella walking in a downpour to their restaurant. Their two dates in tuxedos walked ahead of them by at least ten feet. When they got to their destination, a sort of swanky-ish cafe the young men opened the door and let themselves in. The girls followed. Not only did their dates not even hold the door ajar behind them, but just as the girls reached it, WHAP!! right on the shoulder the first girl gets hit by the door which shoves her into the girl behind. I couldn't believe the lack of courtesy. Then the girls went into the restaurant like nothing amiss occurred. That wouldn't have happened in my day!!

FROM: Oldtimer at 27
DATE: Thursday June 6, 2002 -- 4:20:43 pm
I should have mentioned that in my day the girls would have had the door held open for them completely by someone who would then follow their date in--in fact, the man would have driven the car as close as possible to the entrance, let his date out, held the door until she was inside, then go back to park the car, instead of letting them trundle along behind in the rain for blocks. What a couple of sorry slobs.

FROM: Ryan
DATE: Thursday June 6, 2002 -- 4:28:31 pm
That's just awful.

FROM: Matt
DATE: Thursday June 6, 2002 -- 11:57:00 pm
Ryan and I were discussing this last weekend during our trip to Jersey. I had gone to the Leesburg outlets, and while at a store the register-idiot didn't say a word to me. The whole time he talked to another employee in the store about video games. I wanted to smash him in the face, but then remembered this was probably about as high as he would climb in society.

FROM: jim
DATE: Friday June 7, 2002 -- 1:28:42 am
Out here in spud land people are courteous to each other and 'thank you' is heard a lot.

Maybe manners are disappearing faster in large cities than in small towns and rural areas?

FROM: Greg
DATE: Friday June 7, 2002 -- 10:30:01 am
Matt - Try this next time...

The last time I was at the worst store ever opened (Best Buy), the woman at the register didn't say a word to me either... that is until I didn't give her the money. I would have stood there well passed store closing until I heard a total and "please". I mean, how am I supposed to know how much the total is?

FROM: Tina
DATE: Friday June 7, 2002 -- 10:41:03 am
Monica, I agree. We Wisconsinites ARE more polite than your average American. We're just too durn nice, ainahey!?

FROM: Amber
DATE: Saturday June 15, 2002 -- 5:35:52 am
i think slot of the lack of manners is due to the feminist movements and such. for example, almost all of my friends will actually get upset when you hold a door for them, thinking that you're only doing that because you think that they are unable of opening it.

FROM: Paul [E-Mail]
DATE: Saturday June 15, 2002 -- 1:21:29 pm
i think slot of the lack of manners is due to the feminist movements and such.

Oh, I strongly disagree with that.

The feminist movement at large isn't gunning for everyone to simply bow down to women (although there are certainly women and men who want that); in my experience, it's been charging for more equality and respect amongst both genders.

I do agree with Chris on this.

DATE: Thursday June 20, 2002 -- 3:37:29 pm
I've heard the argument that holding the door is a symbol of man's dominance over women in society. Any self-respecting woman should refuse to walk through a door held by a man. The argument runs deep.

As I remember from college (not from class--I dated a few feminists), it goes something like this:

Holding the door symbolizes female weakness. By holding the door a man tells a woman she is physically weak and cannot fend for herself. This is insulting.
Holding the door makes every woman a prostitute. Holding the door is in effect advance payment in good conduct which the man expects to be rewarded with sex. A woman who accepts payment for sex is a prostitute. Whether or not the woman responds by rewarding the man with sex is irrelevant--she is treated as a prostitute and this is degrading.
Holding the door is but one act orchestrated by the male conspiracy to subjugate women into inferior roles in society by treating women like weak prostitutes. A door does not need to be too heavy for a woman to open, but is purposely designed by man to be so. As such the door alone represents male dominance.
If your mother taught you to hold the door out of courtesy, it's because she was acting in denial of the truth: courtesy is a code word for "male conspiracy." She blindly perpetuated subservient female roles.
If you thought you were holding the door out of courtesy, it's proof of how ingrained the conspiracy is, we don't even think about it.
If you thought doors weren't too heavy for women, thus proof of courtesy, the answer is that it's not that doors are too heavy anymore, but the symbolism remains.

It was difficult for me to imagine that the hundreds of doors I held for women in church was a come on, much less a disgusting solicitation. If the women for whom I held the door regarded it as such, how could I have never known? Had I been insulting women I cared about all my life by holding doors for them? On the other hand if the feminists are right many women do reward me with a polite smile for holding the door (which I formerly thought was reward enough). Perhaps they were actually communicating acceptance of an untoward proposition, or at least the very least, an unabashed come on. Had all these innocent looking elderly women for whom I'd been holding the church door for almost all my childhood really been encouraging wanton prostitution themselves? with an eleven-year-old altar boy? Hey, they didn't refuse to walk through the door.

As you can see it caused my head to spin.

Then I remembered that I often don't limit my door-holding to women. Have men for whom I held the door thought that I was soliciting gay prostitution?(not that there's anything wrong with being gay, I just hate to be misconstrued, especially for soliciting any prostitution). Worse yet, I could be guilty of really sick behavior. I've held doors for little girls and boys, too--and even family members. Was I a gay incestual child prostitution solicitor merely by holding the door?How truly sick I must be--but parents who hold the door for their own children at least, were even worse than my sick self.

As you can see, my well developed Catholic guilt response to such insidious thought-crime based arguments was a volotile mixture indeed. Needless to say, I was glad when my relationship with the feminist ended and I could go back to obliviously thinking that I was simply motivated by the desire to be courteous and to spread a little sunshine. On the other hand, I have noticed that these days some women hold the door for men. Hmmmmm. What's that all about?

FROM: Ryan
DATE: Thursday June 20, 2002 -- 4:16:08 pm
Jed -- That's interesting...

I've never had anyone refuse a door I've held open... the general rule I go by is: if I get to a door just before someone else (male, female, or jackelope), I'll hold it open for them. The same if it's a group of people.

Of course, I try to avoid saying, "You first, whore," so perhaps that helps.

FROM: King Random
DATE: Monday July 1, 2002 -- 1:46:49 pm
I have an interesting story to tell. I was at an elementry school the other day, and as I was going in the door, a kid and his mother were coming down the hallway, both loaded down with backpacks and papers and projects from the last day of school. So, of course I held the door for them. Neither of them says anything till I was about to let the door closed after them, and then the kid says "thank you". The mom did not say a thing. I think it is sad when our youngest generation has to show up the older people in manners. I do think this shows that little kids are best at being appreiciative. And a belated thank you is better then no thank you at all, so I think the mom should have at least said so. Some role model for the kid. I guess he got his manners from his dad.

DATE: Monday July 1, 2002 -- 2:14:19 pm
Hey, I was just at the movies (Hoyt's Auburn, ME) and this six-year-old kid backs into me and almost knocks the popcorn out of my hand. I'm thinking this kid is going to turn around and give me a dirty look, or pretend nothing happened. He turns around and very politely says, "Excuse me." I couldn't believe it--then I was racked with guilt because I was all set to give him a dirty look for bumping me and I already concluded that he was a rotten little rat. I was so taken by surprise at my own prejudice that I could only squeak out a weak "No problem, ya little rat." Then I told him not to hold the door for his sister if he knew what was good for him.

FROM: Anthony Liguori
DATE: Tuesday July 30, 2002 -- 1:14:37 pm
I'm a day late and a dollar short. I don't have a door story, but I want to comment about rude people in cars. J'ever notice how brazen people can be when they're wrapped inside 3,000 pounds of steel? Pretty darn bold. Walk up to me on the sidewalk and give me the finger, and I'm liable to pop you one. But with that 3000 pound steel buffer between us there's a good chance you can run away real fast.

When a woman flips me off, I think it's pretty darn near-sighted on her part. Suppose that right after flipping me off, a little further up the road, I see this same woman being attacked by a mugger? Now you know she would expect me to pull over and help her unfortunate ass, but lady, you shoulda though about that before flipping off your knight in shining armor.

And if you wouldn't cut me off with your shopping cart at the checkout in the grocery store, why would you cut me off at the toll booth on the freeway? You got a 3,000 pound steel buffer, don't you?

And if I'm on the sidewalk, and I can't walk because I'm out of breath, do you come up behind me and yell in my ear to get out of your way? No, but if I stall at a traffic light, you'll lay on the horn, like it will do any good.

Next time you blow the horn at a stalled car, don't crap in your pants if the driver comes walking over and asks you to roll down the window and explain your malfunction. Hey, did you ever cosider that possibility?

FROM: Jeani
DATE: Tuesday July 30, 2002 -- 9:15:23 pm
I thought it would be good to respond as a self-avowed feminist to Jed's door-holding dilemma. Like Ryan, I try to remember to hold the door for whomever is entering immediately after me. In doing so, I have had men look at me strangely, attempt to wrest the door from my control, and blatantly refuse to go through the door before me. In those cases, I am offended on the grounds that those men seem to think there's something horrendously wrong with going through a door being held by a woman. Me, if anyone holds the door, I go through it, say thank you, and chalk it up to common courtesy. While as a feminist scholar I can see the points of Jed's former girlfriend, I'd also like to point out that not all feminists think the same way.

Also, in response to Anthony -- I find it interesting that you're not concerned about saving some man from a mugging after he's flipped you off. To me, that kind of thinking, as automatic and innocent as it may be, is born of society's feeling that women need men's help.

FROM: jk
DATE: Tuesday June 6, 2006 -- 2:53:50 pm
My friend Daisy, who is 6 months pregnant, was slammed in the gut by a woman's huge purse in an elevator. The woman was completely oblivious to the fact that her purse had even touched someone else, muchless baby girl Bailey.

What is this then?

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