Is There Such A Thing As 'Manners' Anymore?
I'm Living A Confused Life
Listen. It's time for someone, anyone, to take the microphone and stop all this "sugarcoating" and pussyfooting" around such a sensitive issue: MANNERS. That's right, America! Manners. Remember those? Today in 2011, manners are as relevevant as the moon. Remember how the moon was once the focal point of most discussions on major talk shows and coffee houses across our great land. But thanks to Neil Armstrong, Salute!, the first man to walk on the moon, those days of the moon being important are gone from sight and now just a fading memory. And that's sad.
I bet Armstrong used manners on, during, and after his flight to the moon. It shows on person if they have had a background in manners training. They have a certain 'look' about them in their walk, talk, and the way they carry themselves down the aisle of the grocery store. "Yeah, Nedd, there goes a man with manners," people comment about Armstong even today. See what I'm talking about? If Armstrong had been a brutally-raised man without manners, he would have hogged the microphones, flew the capsule 'his way'--not listened to Houston Control and instead of slowy descending down the stairs of the capsule, The Eagle, when it sat down on the moon, he would have jumped in a vulgar fashion--yelling, "Yeah, man! Whoo-hoo! I did it!" But he didn't. He was all class. All American Neil Armstrong. May he live long and have fruitful grandchildren.
Before I continue on the importance of manners and maybe talking you into helping me form our own revolt in our country. Hey, The Tea Party did it, why can't we? The Manners Monopoly would be great name for our group. We could travel about holding rallies in major cities--getting noted senators and congressmen to make talks about manners and how they help to hold together the fabric of our democracy. Hey, until now, you thought the the passing of the candied yams to Aunt Sissy at the Thanksgiving dinnner table was a simple gesture. Don't feel bad. Millions of people are just like you and I--people who were swept away in a dark cloud of apathy years ago when manners mysteriously got lost from the late 1960's when JFK was assassinated to when Disco, curse that name, came onto the scene in New York. We can fix this, America.
Now let me finish what I started in above paragraph. I have this addiction to starting a subject then following it for several different trails until I get back to home base and explain my thinking. Like I said I wish I had been born of a family like famous gangsters, Clyde Barrow and John Dillinger who never had the use of manners or had to use them. People automatically gave them the best tables in cafe's and the front-row seats in theatres. You see, 'some' fearful-but-mannerable people used good manners and possibly saved their own skins as well as the skins of those sitting nearby. Or people like the late, great writers, Hunter Thompson and J.D. Salinger. These men always did what they wanted--anywhere, anytime. Thompson was not only a brilliant writer, but an alchoholic and drank openly when he was interviewed on television. Talk about guts. Salinger was like Dillinger and Barrow in the fact that his face was instantly recognized and he was given 'the best' seat in the house or first choice of meats at the local butcher shop. Manners are not for everyone, but my point is this, and I hate to beleager you, but average people like you and I need manners. We are not famous people. At least I am not. If you are a Justin Timberlake, Ryan Seacrest, then ignore my story, but consider how much more you would be adored by society 'if' you chose to exercise manners.
Time was . . .men opened doors for the ladies. That was until a thing called ERA, the Equal Rights Amendment came on the scene and then disappeared--women across the country are libertated. No need to be nice to liberated women who snarl at you when you are only being nice, not suggesting that they are weak and cannot open the door. This is, in a word, stupid, for us menfolk to be put into such a icy situation when we cannot even be nice to the opposite sex. Think about this. There was also a time when a lady entered a room, any room, men rose to respect her. Not anymore. We men are now afraid that we might be shot or worse tackled by the lady's bodyguard and thrown to the tile floor. And get this, buddy. And at a dining event, when lady rose to leave the table, all the men, not just some, rose to respect her leaving. Why can't these gestures be reimplemented into 2011? What is stopping us, men?
Manners are outward gestures that speak to the fact that those who use manners, can be trusted. I mean those who sincerely use manners just to show respect and show a nice image to others. Now I am not so dumb as to have myself hold the door for a buddy. Although that isn't a fau pax, it doesn't seem right either. Manners show dignity without climbing the Empire State Building and proclaiming that you are Superman and jumping off to prove it. It costs nothing to be mannerable. Did you catch that? Nothing. No loans to take out. No new clothes to invest in. Just use some common manners. That's all. It will not hurt you. And I happen to catch an interview on the WE Network, (Womens' Entertainment network) one evening where several powerful, liberated women were in a roundtable discussion on how they felt if a man were to open the door for them and other mannerable things. I couldn't believe my ears--most of the 'persons' at the table said that they really missed being treated like a lady and having men let them go first in line or into a building. While others held firm to the idea that letting men show manners made them feel weak. I thought. You can't have it both ways, ladies. It's an either or situation or a fielder's choice for men who want to make the call in the field whether or not to be mannerable to women.
Manners can be used by young people below the age of 12. It's called respect for elders. Let me explain to the pre-teens of 2011 what the word 'elder' means. It simply means someone older and wiser than you are. They have earned your respect. Believe me,preteens, they have worked, sacrificed, suffered many things and went without a lot just so you could have a roof over your head and a warm meal in your stomach. Be different than your non-caring friends, preteens, show your parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, teachers, policemen and policewomen, even your teachers, respect. I promise you that the dividends are outstanding.
Men, I am back to you now. Take some time to watch some vintage westerns o TVLand and you will see a common thread of manners being strung throughout the early shows that captivated audiences on westerns. Take Bonanza for istance. Adam Cartwright (Parnell Roberts) and Little Joe (Michael Landon) were the frontrunners on that show for showing ladies of all walks of life--nurses, teachers, dance hall girls and girls who were poor, lots of manners. From a tip of their hat to pulling chairs out for them to sit down, these two Cartwright brothers paved the way for how men should treat women. Now I could make the arguement that in pre-westerns-on-television shows, movie and theater stars like Van Johnson, William Holden, Eddie Cantor, Clark Gable and George Pappard, also sowed some manners seed into their various characters and made the average woman audience member swoon with desire. They knew to succeed in life, they had to start showing females and elders as well, the respect and manners they deserved.
Now there are times NOT to show manners. Such an example is this: you are driving down the road and see a woman lying in the grass. You stop, but conventional manners say that you and her have not been properly introduced, so you need to just stand still until someone arrives who can introduceyou to her, but, she is bleeding from her head and trying to yell 'help,' then, you need to disregard chivallary and manners and jump into action. You first call the authorites on your cellphone and make the lady as comfortable as you can until help arrives. And while you are waiting for help to arrive, DO NOT dominate the conversation (if she is aware of herself and can talk) with things about YOU for goodness sake. It's not you on the ground, but an innocent person who has been hurt. So show some discipline and keep your comments to a minimum.
A Manners Pop Quiz: Bet you thought all you had to do was read my story, huh?
1. IN A RESTAURANT ON A DATE WITH A LADY, YOU SHOULD: A.) pull out her chair B.) sit down and start reading the menu C.) Yell for a waiter or D.) Bow to her before you pull her chair out.
2. WHEN YOU AND A LADY APPROACH A BUILDING WITHOUT AN AUTOMATIC DOOR, YOU SHOULD: A.) Run ahead of her as if she didn't matter B.) Wink at her and then run ahead of her C.) Allow her to go first or D.) Act like you don't see her--then run on into the building.
3.WHEN TAKING YOUR DATE HOME, YOU SHOULD: A.) Kiss her on the cheek--if it's a first date B.) Get out and light up a Marlboro cigarette C.) Go to her side of the car and open the car like a civilized man or D.) Glare at her impatiently until she gets out of car (NOTE: this one is a dead give-away that YOU WILL NOT get a second date with this modern woman).
4. IN A BUFFET LINE IN AN UPSTANDING RESTAURANT, YOU SHOULD: A.) Let ANY lady go ahead of you, but watch her to see that she doesn't swipe all the Southern Fried Chicken B.) Smile like a hungry wolf at her and try to get her number while fumblng with the meatballs C.) Allow this lady to go ahead of you-and take her time while YOU act like a man who has some manners in his lifestyle or D.) Barge ahead of her and other patrons and huff at them, "Hey, it's a free country! Broads are liberated now! I can do this all day!"
5.IF YOU ARE A PRE-TEEN AND AT THE ANNUAL CHRISTMAS DINNER, YOU SHOULD: A.) Wait for the elders to serve themselves with food B.) Jump up like a wild man and start dipping food like there wasn't going to be any left C.) Put your feet on the table and take a nap or D.) Show ailing grandparents and other ailing elders respect and let them go first. Hey, you will have many more holiday dinners. This might be their last.
6. MEN, YOU ARE AT A RESTAURANT WITH MEN AND WOMEN. ONE WOMAN HAS TO LEAVE, YOU SHOULD: A.) Continue your sports joke as if nothing was wrong B.) Yell to the other end of the able for the A-1 Sauce C.) Stand to respect this lady or D.) Act impatient and to make her feel humiliated, say, "Hurry up, doll! You sure you know the way to the litter box? We having an impotant meeting here!"
Tally up your scores and see how you fared on this Manners Pop Quiz. I have to say in closing, that the televison show, The Odd Couple with Jack Klugman and Tony Randall, makes my point to the letter. The show is actually a study in one spectrum of sloppy, non-mannerable Oscar Madison, (Klugman) and neat, orderly, mannerable Felix Unger, (Tony Randall) and you know what, Tony Randall should have won an Emmy not necessarily for the show, The Odd Couple, but for his immaculate and pristene way of living---respectful to others and always being mannerable.
If you want to discuss this story, I can be reached at 1-205-921-4159, or by post office, Kenny Avery, P.O. Box 201, Hamilton, AL 35570 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks and Peace!