I just skimed through an article in the Style section of a major metropolitan newspaper. Though I don’t live in the city that this newspaper is written in, I do happen to like the insite it affords me to those who live in a more hectic world.
To my surprise, this article was about etiquette. “Would the demographic of people that read the style section of this newspaper need to know on the new world of manners?” I asked myself. It turned out that, yes indeed we do. The article cited the reasons why people gravitate to the more gentile and self-confident polite person. Aparently the citizens that read a Sunday paper need to be reminded that rude people suck, overbearing ungroomed people don’t get laid, and you can’t get ahead without acting professional.
In all honesty, I don’t think that my manners are all that bad. Then again, I do not sup with royalty or captains of industry. What good are manners when you just want to come off as a ‘regular joe’ in this relaxed-fit flat-fronted world of reality-tv? The sources quoted in the article blame this sloppy trend on rushed-parenting and the faceless interactions we have in the highly abreviated colloquial exchanges on the Interweb.
According to this article, sales of etiquette books and seminars on manners are on the rise. While there are no concrete numbers on the subject, I don’t think that this is a phenomenon in middle america. We have big cities in America’s heartland, but we’re not overcrowded to the point that we don’t smile at strangers once in a while.
I do like the stuffy event served on fine china and an array of flatware, but knowing which water glass to drink from, and which fork to use doesn’t have any bearing on how I am as a person. I don’t blame my hard-working immigrant parents for not teaching me the compenents of a dinner table like the article suggests. Manners and refinement should be of your own choosing.
If the universe that you choose to live in is a white-linen service 4-course meal followed by a rousing power-suit wearing business meeting, go and spend money on etiquette books and lessons. If you choose to live your life in a blue-collar world full of people who just live by the golden rule, then stay away from the formal trappings of this neo-Victorian ‘movement.