Sunday, November 6, 2011

Things I've learned today.

1.  New Yorkers are apparently the arbiters of the level of politeness in the South.

2.  Telling a woman she looks good in tight jeans is a 'rape-like' comment.*

As to the first, yankees don't know a damned thing about the South.  I am in and out of people's homes all day long and it never fails that I'm asked, "Is there anything I can do to help you?  Would you like something to drink?" or told "Sit down, there is no need for you stand while you're waiting."  If it's around dinner time and I'm still working I'm often asked to stop and have something to eat.  Oh, and even though it's not necessary I quite often get cash tips most of which have been $20 and up. 

Outside of work I see men offer their seats to women everyday.  I see people holding doors for each other.  I hear please and thank you (and use them) along with 'yes, Sir' 'no, Sir' yes Ma'am' and 'no Ma'am.'  And it's not just from older people, either.  Even people my age and younger act politely.  It's not true of everyone, and there is enough rudeness to go around.

Are kids assholes in schools?  You're damned right.  You want to know why?  Because they get away with it.  If manners are failing in the South it's a direct result of the bullshit children get away with in schools.  Teachers used to be able to do something about students being rude in their classrooms.  Now?  Not so much.  Can't kick the little crotch dumpling out of your class room, he's got a 'right' to an education.

That said, I don't really see the decline.  Facebook and social networking sites, cell phones, etc. make it a lot easier for the rude and insulting things people have always said behind others' backs to get around more (and usually back to the last person the people saying them want them to get back too) but that doesn't so much show a decline in manners as it does a failure to adapt to change. 

As to the second, I can see how the comment could be creepy coming from the wrong person.  But 'rape-like'?  That's a bit much, if you ask me.  Let me let you in on a little secret ladies.  Chances are pretty good that if a non-relative male is giving you a compliment he probably wants to fuck you.  Won't be true in every case, but it's a good bet.  And just because a guy may want to fuck you doesn't mean he wants to force the issue.  If he was, he would, and we'd be having a totally different conversation. 

While the comment in question wasn't made by me I've made similar one's often enough to a smiling, "Thank you!" to feel comfortable with my position on what is generally an acceptable compliment.


Anonymous said...

My grandmother always said, "Find something to complement every woman you meet. If she's having a bad day, you just made it better, and if she's having a good day, you just made it better".
Doesn't mean I'm looking to jump every woman's bones, most of the time I'm trying to be gracious.

Borepatch said...

Well, I grew up in Maine, with those same values and manners. Maybe politeness increases with distance from New York City?

RobertM said...

As I said, won't be true in every case.

Borepatch, it could be.

Kris said...

Pffffft. I am sorry, but I find manners to be pretty much the same all over the country. If anything, I have noticed the most polite people reside out here in the West. At least, that has been my observation so far. I do not buy into the Southern hospitality thing, not because I do not see hospitality in the South, but because I also see it plenty in the North and now here in the West.

I LIKE compliments. Please do not put restrictions on them. I will handle the totally inappropriate ones I do not like as they come. Some of us need all the compliments we can get.

That is all.

RobertM said...

I've been welcome in every part of the country I've been in. I've also found that people seem to be more polite in the rural areas rather than urban areas. The South does have a culture of formal manners and hospitality. That reputation did not get created in a vacuum. But that doesn't mean people are capable of it elsewhere.

The problem most of us run into in the South and everywhere else is that hospitality tends to run out quick if you challenge that culture's mores. Go into a small Southern town and people will generally be polite and nice. Start talking loudly about how religion has no place in schools and businesses that you'll soon find yourself facing a lot of angry looks. Pretty much the same as if you walked into San Francisco with the attitude of, "I have gay friends, but being gay is just wrong and icky."