Thank you DrummerBoy and ClareBear for being the epitome of well brung up progeny. (Apart from your colourful language, I can’t fault either of you). I can’t tell you how often people say I should be proud of such fantastic, well mannered young adults. Brings a tear to my eye and makes me realise that all those hours, locking you in the shed and making you face the wall with a pointy hat have paid off. I’ve even got DrummerBoy eating Broccoli and Fish and ClareBear tidying her room on Saturdays.
I have drilled good table manners and the P’s and Q’s into my own children and despair of those who take a treat without saying thank you – ask for a drink without saying please or don’t give up their seat on public transport for the elderly, disabled or heavily pregnant. I have been tempted to purchase one of those inflatable hammers that you can get in a Royal Easter Show Bag just to throttle inconsiderate laptop hammerers and teens plugged into their “I’m-ignoring-you-pods”
It’s not necessary for someone to open a car door for me, or pull out a chair . . .but it is appreciated. Much as I’d hold a door open for someone coming the other way regardless of sex. The price we’ve paid for women’s lib is having to make some sacrifices but politeness shouldn’t be among them. I shake hands with people I’ve never met, it seems polite. And if I ask someone how they are, I make eye contact and genuinely wait for their response! If I accidentally bump into someone, I apologise. I smile at security guards and I acknowledge check-out kids as human beings even if they are stricken with a glumness that only a 16 year old can express facially. I am courteous and polite and expect it of others (silly woman).
I also have impeccable table manners. I know how to hold a knife and fork. I know to start with cutlery from the outside in and even as a left hander, I can lay a table appropriately. I have great difficulty in understanding why so many people are either not taught manners at home any more or more particularly those who choose to ignore them – this is is always noticable when visiting restaurants, attending functions or being in the public eye. So it comes as some surprise (well not really) that the Australian Football League has instigated an ‘etiquette’ course for it’s first division players because they:
- Have never been taught how to greet someone appropriately. “G’day, har ye garn” is no way to treat a dignitary
- Don’t know that burping after swigging a schooner of beer is inappropriate at the dinner table
- Similarly lifting a leg and farting at the opposition is just a tad rude
- Slapping the waitress on the arse is not a sign of food appreciation
- Bread rolls are not for wiping your plate clean
- Licking your knife is a no-no
- Serviettes shouldn’t be tucked into your shirt collar
- Elbows should not be on the table
- Knives and forks should be held between the thumb, index and third finger, not held with a fist and used in a stabbing motion
- You don’t slurp your soup, tea, coffee,
I was stunned that out of 13 teams, so few of these young men had any idea about what I took forgranted - simple manners.
I have a ‘test’ for new boyfriends and girlfriends that enter my domain. Nope, I don’t care about their tats or hairdo, their piercings or speech (well actually I do care that they say ‘thing’ not ‘fing’). After the third date, when things are starting to look like an ongoing relationship, they must attend a family dinner. Nothing super formal but usually involving me scrutinising their table manners. Do they scoff or nibble. Do they know the difference between a red and white wine glass. Do they sip or guzzle. Do they burp at the table. Do they know how to use a serviette and most importantly, do they offer to wash up or clear the table! (Rarely pass that one).
Seriously though, I hate it when someone brushes past me on the travellator without a backward glance, crashes into me with a baby stroller or elbows me out of a queue. I get really irritated when people eat with their fingers in semi-formal situations (Eating ribs, prawns, tacos, burritos and pizza doesn’t count of course). I can’t stand the way Americans cut their food into baby pieces then stab at it with their forks instead of using the knife to gently push their food onto the fork. It grates on me when people hold their spoon with a fistJust look at the way those girls in Sex in the City eat their lunch . . it's disgusting!
Do manners maketh man? Probably not but I think it’s a sign of a good and disceplined upbringing, respect for food and wine and of course for the host/hostess - I like people to grace my table instead of slobbering all over it!