Most of us would like to think that if we saw a pregnant, elderly or handicapped person on the train or subway, we would offer up our seat in a jiffy. But a nifty social experiment done on the New York City subway by Elizabeth Carey Smith of Brooklyn, New York, during her recent pregnancy found that while she was offered a seat the majority of the time, good manners were not guaranteed. Keep reading »
Tag Archives: manners
It’s Women’s History Month, sisters, but you wouldn’t know it based on one women’s group’s plans. The Network of Enlightened Women, a conservative group, is hosting its annual Gentleman’s Showcase on college campuses during the month of March. The Gentleman’s Showcase seeks to honor young men who “behave like gentlemen” based on a set of criteria — both general and specific — explained on NEW’s web site. Young men have been nominated in the past by women because they carried groceries, shoveled snow, opened doors and other so-called “gentlemanly” behavior. There is no prize, per se, but the accolades of conservative women everywhere!
While I don’t know why NEW has to co-opt Women’s History Month for their Gentleman’s Showcase, nor do I agree that traditional gender roles should be enforced on anyone, I don’t inherently think the idea of positively acknowledging “nice guys” on college campuses is a terrible idea. Keep reading »
My freshman year of college, I went on a date with a guy to a fancy restaurant in Manhattan. It was the kind of place with a white tablecloth, where a busboy scraped the crumbs off the table with a comb once your plates were removed and the maitre’d pulled out women’s chairs for them. That’s where I made my big statement: the maitre’d pulled out a chair for me and I walked around to the other chair, pulled it out for myself and sat down. I wasn’t just being rude; I thought I was making a point about how I — and by extension all women — didn’t need to be treated with chivalry. Keep reading »
Ah, Thanksgiving. When you’re a kid it’s all about the mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie. When you’re an adult, it’s all about rude inquisitions from your nosy aunts and your dad getting horrifically, embarassingly wasted. I don’t know anything about stuffing a bird or making a perfect cranberry sauce. But I do know a thing or two about dealing with family, seeing as I have a huge, colorful one. Gather ’round, children, and take in my wisdom from awkward family holidays past! (Also, I’m a full-blooded WASP, so take my stiff-upper-lip swamp Yankee suggestions with a grain of salt. Maybe in other parts of the country, you solve problems differently!) Keep reading »
Teacher Cord Ivanyi, a Latin instructor at Gilbert Classical Academy, was tired of seeing boys physically push aside girls as they rushed through the classroom door. So at the beginning of this school year, Ivanyi told his students the new classroom rules about chivalry: boys would hold doors for girls; boys would ask girls if they would like to be seated; boys would offer to take girls’ backpacks before they sit down; boys would stand if a girl leaves the room; and girls would be served first if food is in the classroom.
“All boys will understand chivalry,” Ivanyi told The Arizona Republic. “It’s teaching them social grace. It’s things they should know when they do go out on dates.” All the students, boys and girls, were reportedly awkward about the mandated chivalry at first. But Ivanyi, as well as girls quoted by various media outlets, say girls seem to be enjoying the chivalry and some chivalrous behavior is even extending beyond the classroom.
Mandated chivalry may be a well-intentioned idea. And it may well have taught some kids to be conscious of the basic concept of good manners, which is to be considerate of others’ well-being. But mandating chivalry in the classroom could not be a more misguided set of rules. Keep reading »
Thanksgiving is a time to spend with family and friends. Sometimes this family event may have an unexpected guest: a cute, single guy. When such a treat comes your way, seize the moment in a feminine, ladylike fashion.
Seating. Right away, you will want to be seated next to this hottie; however, this is a bad idea. A major part of flirting is conversation and body language. Both of these are difficult to display if you’re sitting side by side. Try positioning yourself across from him for the best effect.
Introductions. If introductions have not been made before reaching the table, take this as an opportunity to place yourself on his radar. Before you take your seat, introduce yourself and offer him your hand to shake. When he shakes your hand, hold his gaze and smile. You should disengage from the handshake first so you don’t come on too strong (a girl who won’t let go is creepy). Glance down as you take your seat, then back up again at him with a slight smile on your lips and in your eyes. Keep reading »
Last week, I had the pleasure of sipping Earl Grey at the Russian Tea Room while listening to Anna Post (Emily’s great-great-granddaughter) and anthropologist Genevieve Bell discuss etiquette as it pertains to technology. The event was hosted by Intel, which just completed a study on tech etiquette that shows that people believe there are unspoken rules when it comes to technology use, but we haven’t been able to agree on what those are.
Anna and Genevieve spoke to these differences in opinion, agreeing that we’re in a transitional period. There’s no clear-cut answer to the question, “Can I use my phone in the bathroom? just yet. Mobile devices and programs, like Facebook and Twitter, are still relatively new, and society needs a little more time to figure out how to be polite about using them. But Anna did share some advice. … Keep reading »
One summer during college when I worked at coffee shop, a man with special needs—I think he had Down’s Syndrome—used to come up by the cash register and chat with me all the time. We were shooting the breeze one day and I was standing with my pelvis leaning against the counter, sort of slumped forward. He looked down at my stomach and asked me, “Jessica, are you pregnant?” My eyes widened and I stood ramrod straight, sucking in my belly. “Nooo! I’m not pregnant!” I shrieked. His face flushed with embarrassment and he apologized profusely. And I, of course, felt like an ass for making him feel bad.
Flash forward to Sunday afternoon on a shopping trip to Sephora, when the cashier ringing up my Bliss Spa Best Of Skintentions moisturizer looked down at my stomach and exclaimed, “Awww, are you pregnant?”
Cringe. Keep reading »
A few months ago, I accidentally shoved my foot in my mouth on a listserv I participate in. I got a bunch of irritated emails and issued numerous apologies. What did I do? I addressed the women as “ladies.”
Some women hate to be called “ladies,” I came to find out. It’s an outdated word, they said, which brings to mind white gloves, tea sandwiches, and balancing a book atop one’s head for good posture. (Betty Draper on Mad Men, for example.) The directive to “be a lady” or “act like a lady” usually encourages women or girls to become more like a retro gender construct—polite, smiling, quiet, compliant, modest, presentable—and they want nothing to do with it. I just assumed that because the word was so outdated, it meant nothing—and I was wrong.
So now I’m wondering, of course, about a lady’s counterpart. If “being a lady” has a stigma attached to it, does “being a gentleman” have a stigma, too? And what does “being a gentleman” even mean these days, anyway? Keep reading »