America, the….mannerless?

My husband and I had a date night today.  We started out at an afternoon movie.  Behind us sat a group of 50 something women.  From the minute they arrived they spoke loudly, laughed even louder and were just generally disrespectful as far as movie theater etiquette goes.  There were times we couldn’t even hear the movie!  I thought about a time in my life when I would have acted like that with a group of friends.  I think I was 12.  Now I am all for girl time, laughter and fun at any age, but these were grown women acting like 12-year-old girls.  In a movie theater, not at a bar, or in a home!

Next we decided to go to a nice, up-scale steak house called Ruth’s Chris.  It’s a pretty fancy place.  As I sat at my table, looking at all the silverware, and trying hard to sit up straight and not put my elbows on the table, I thought this must be what it was like for young girls, fresh out of Etiquette class, afraid to pick up the wrong fork.  “I am so not a fancy girl,” I said, as I wiggled in my seat, feeling slightly uncomfortable, “maybe this was a bad idea.”

Then I looked to my left.  There I see a black, velour sweat suit, complete with zip up hoodie reading “Be Be” across the chest.  “Wow,” I mouthed to my husband “I don’t feel so bad about not being fancy anymore.”  Then he gestured to me to look again.  There is was, written in rhinestone, “Be Be” across her ass.  We had a nice chuckle at the poor girl’s expense.

Don’t get me wrong, I own a black, velour sweat suit myself.  I don’t want to judge or be a mean person.  My sweat suit doesn’t say “Be Be” on the ass and, I would NOT wear it to a place like Ruth’s Chris.  I’m sure she was probably a very nice person.  So what made her think it was “ok” to wear a velour sweat suit to an upscale restaurant?  And what about the girl next to us shouting “Can you hear me? Hello? Are you there?  I don’t think he can hear me,”  into her phone.  Not to mention the countless men in jeans, women in “hooker” boots, oh, and the man in the “fancy” Civil War reenactment coat.  Why was I sitting there feeling like I should be sitting up straighter, hands in lap, ankles crossed and picking up the right fork at the right time?

What has happened over the years?  Have we all become so comfortable, so casual, that we have lost our manners and our sense of social etiquette?  Somewhere along the line it became ok to wear pajamas to fancy restaurants and speak as loudly as possible on our cell phones in public.  We don’t speak in full sentences, we write in “text message” code, we put our elbows on the table.  Oh how inappropriate all these things would have been for a person 100, 50, or even just 25 years ago!  Small children were punished for lesser offenses.

I’m not sure whether to laugh at what we, as a society, have become, or to cry in embarrassment!  All I know, is it makes me want to stand a little taller, sit a little straighter, speak a bit quieter and keep my elbows off the table!

I think my sweet Kaiya Rae would have had better manners and more proper social etiquette at almost 8 months old, than the majority of the adults I came across today.

Ponder that for a while, as I leave you with this:

“One of the greatest victories you can gain over someone is to beat him at politeness.”  Josh Billings
Kaiya Rae’s Momma


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Jen
    Feb 12, 2011 @ 21:37:45

    Hey Andrea,
    Ok, first, aren’t you proud of me? I read your post 🙂 I am so sorry that you both had this experience today. I thought of you both, how you needed to get out. Maybe..maybe..this was to get your mind onto something besides grieving..not sure but I will tell you Derek and I have experienced the same kind of crassness when we have been out.

    It’s not very often, anymore, that we get to have an expensive night out and when we do, we are sometimes floored that people just don’t know proper etiquette anymore. Turn the phones off at the table, enjoy the company you are with and dress up! I always feel so much more special when I dress up and I do think I act differently. Too bad we can’t pull some of these people aside and say, take care..not just of your mouth and what comes out of it but show some class.

    One thing that I think is appauling is that men, at places like Ruth Chris, I believe have to wear a shirt a tie or sports jacket but women are allowed to wear what they want. Hence, the issue. Maybe they should have requirements for hoe

    I think you both should go on a cruise :):) You were not premitted after 6 pm in the dining room without a sportcoat. no shorts, no jeans and it was suggested that women wear dresses. There should be occasions where you don’t feel badly for dressing up.

    I am sure you still had a great time and I can’t wait to hear about it


  2. Morgan
    Feb 12, 2011 @ 21:59:21

    Haha I liked this one A LOT!!!! “I’m not sure whether to laugh at what we, as a society, have become, or to cry in embarrassment! All I know, is it makes me want to stand a little taller, sit a little straighter, speak a bit quieter and keep my elbows off the table!” –I can relate!!


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