No, but it is moving to extinction.

Gone are the days when a man would open a car door for a lady, tip their hat, stand when a lady enters the room, or cover a puddle with their cloak to allow a lady to walk over it (ok, I’d have a problem with that last one cause with my luck it’d be my husband who does the whole cloak thing, then I’d have to wash it – better she just walk through the puddle,,,,,, She should be wearing boots anyway)

Granted some of these were extreme but it seems even the simplest niceties have gone by the wayside. You will not see a man give up a seat on a bus for a lady anymore. In fact, too often you will not see a man hold a door for the lady behind him either. Why, and when, did we lose our basic sense of consideration for others? Everything seems to have its’ price, even courtesy.

You know, it isn’t limited to just men. I have no problem giving up a seat for a man if he is in need (if he’s not then sorry pal, it’s back to the whole’ first come, first served’ thing) I will, and do, hold a door for the person behind me, male or female, just as a kindness. It isn’t hard, but I fear the upcoming generations don’t see these little niceties as necessary.

At the grocery store recently a produce clerk inadvertently sent a few oranges tumbling from a display and he scrambled to gather them.  A couple rolled under the cart of a woman nearby and rather than stoop to help pick them up, she moved her cart aside and kicked them toward the clerk. Really? How nice.

Rudeness isn’t limited to acts of kindness toward others. It encompasses respect for our surroundings as well. While out walking one day, a car whizzed by and a McDonald’s bag came flying out the window just ahead of me and I was startled by the complete lack of disregard for littering. Garbage cans are everywhere. And I bet you’d have a problem with someone tossing that bag onto your front lawn. (if I had any athletic ability at all I would’ve picked up that bag and flung it right back in his window,,,,, but I throw like a girl)

Yesterday I went to the bank, arriving at the doors at the same time as a middle aged man. I stepped aside to let him open the door first, which he did, then he walked through leaving the door to close in my face. He repeated this with the vestibule door knowing full well I was behind him both times. (where were you raised,,,in a barn?) This encounter didn’t leave me angry, just disappointed.

At a dinner party recently I was recounting a story when suddenly one of the guests interrupted me to read an email they’d just received recapping the score of a hockey game. Needless to say the conversation was lost and I felt foolish (could it be I’m not as interesting as I think I am?) This one angered me. How rude.

Often the lack of manners is due to distraction. (It’s hard to see the person behind you when you’re eyes are glued to your hand held device). Too often though, it’s just ignorance. We learn what we live and if we don’t practice the basics of common courtesy at home, how could we be expected to demonstrate them in public? Is this a symptom of a society that no longer cares about manners or are we so caught up in our own distractions that we just don’t see that we’re turning into boors? Neither is an acceptable excuse and the only hope we have is that those of us still aware of etiquette practice it religiously.

I will continue to hold doors for others. I won’t interrupt you when you speak because I know how insignificant that would make you feel. I will stoop to pick up something another has dropped, just to be nice and because it costs me nothing, and here’s the kicker, I’ll even do it with a smile. Who knows, maybe it’ll catch on.


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