Monday, November 8, 2010

More on Manners


Last time I posted, I was thinking about manners particularly in relation to our culture’s growing tendency toward casual apparel.  I appreciate the responses and I thought that each one brought something valuable to the discussion.  I really enjoyed the consideration you put into your answers! 

I am so grateful for the tender heart expressed by Nichole, and wish my heart were as big as hers.  The last thing I want for myself is to become Pharisaical, judging others on their outside appearance.  I hope that having good manners and having a loving heart are not polar opposites or mutually exclusive.  Does having good manners oneself necessarily require that in others?  Can you be mannerly without caring if others are?

I don’t think so.  I think it is a societal contract that, if one accepts it, leads to the expectation that others do, also.   Maybe the day has gone by that societal standards for apparel are commonly accepted.  My goodness, in  the 1950’s I remember the “rules” that white shoes were only to be worn from Easter to Labor Day, and after that, it was your black patent leathers.  To wear white shoes in winter was definitely tacky.  Then in the 1980’s “winter white” came out, muddying the waters.  Now we wonder ‘who made those rules, anyway’?  But perhaps we internalized them and carry them with us.  I know I don’t wear white shoes in winter!

These cultural norms seem small and faddish compared to having an open heart to people.  The most important  “Good Manner” is having a genuine care for the comfort and well-being of others.  I hope, ideally, that this caring can coexist with a courteous attitude on all sides towards our apparel, and that includes standards of modesty, too! 

That is another huge subject, modesty.  The day camisoles became outerwear was a day confounding the older folks and young people alike.  I know that it is a problem for young men to have nearly-bare breasts thrust at them and not regard women sexually.  I have noticed the office apparel in TV shows such as CSI: New York and CSI, and wonder if women in official capacities really expose so much cleavage.  Really?  It’s like seductive evening wear and I don’t think it belongs in the office or lab.  Inappropriate!

I was going to address some behavioral issues today such as how to sit through a concert or church service politely, or even a school assembly.  And then there is cell phone usage, and texting while you’re having a conversation with someone else. 

Changing technology has raised a whole new area for a new code of manners to emerge, and I believe the same basic principle applies: caring for the comfort and well-being of others.  Being aware of our setting, who is around us that may not want to participate in our personal phone calls.   Being engaged with the person you are with and not half there because you are texting with someone else.  Not inflicting your spousal fight on the phone with the person sitting beside you on the bus/train/plane.  It’s being aware of other people in the world and cooperating in a ‘what’s-good-for-you-is-good-for-me’ way. 

That is good manners no matter what you are wearing.


Confessions of a Plate Addict said...

Good manners do seem to be a lost art, don't they? I remember discussing manners with a particularly bad class of 9th graders and one mom told me that her daughter came home and asked her..."Who decides what is good manners anyway?" lol At least I had her thinking! The cell phone thing drives me CRAZY! Thanks for giving us some food for thought! Happy week!...hugs...Debbie
PS...I am planning on using tarnished silver with my mercury glass for sure!

Gilly said...

Good manners and modesty seem to have disappeared among the young people that I see. And yet maybe some of what appears so rude is just "going along with the crowd". People on their own, whether old or young can be polite and kind.

Cold weather here has put paid to some of the rather obvious fleshy sights - but I am sure they are not far away!

I'm waiting for fashions to change to longer skirts and woolly tights and high neck sweaters! Some of the skirts the girls wear look like wide elastic bands around their hips!!

Lovely photo, too!

FireLight said...

Hollace, so glad to see you stop by.

A quote from my mother...and the most important lesson I learned form her:
"Good manners are always in style."
Regardless of what I witness each day, I still
believe this and practice it each day.

FireLight said...

...learned FROM her....sorry