Monday, April 08, 2002

The Derb (err...Mr. Derbyshire) has a good column on manners in today's NRO. I have to agree. I've been told that I have very good manners before, but I don't think I'm doing anything that a normal person wouldn't. I'm certainly not doing anything that people in books I read don't do, unless they're some Democrat evil villain or trying to make a point. Derbyshire asserts that the South is probably the last remaining place that holds to the ideal of the Christian gentleman, which is good because that's what I try to shoot for as well. At Virginia Tech, students are generally pretty polite, as they were to a lesser degree at my high school in Northern Virginia (the blue part of the red Commonwealth). We hold the door for each other, generally at least fake attentiveness, and say "please" and "thank you." While this seems normal to me, I've had professors who've lectured elsewhere say that you can always tell Virginia Tech students by the way they act. I'm baffled, but I'd love to hear from people in other places (not just colleges, but other parts of the country, or even ferners) about the state of manners in their area. Here's a short list of general manners it seems to me that everyone ought to know:
1. Say "please" and "thank you."
2. Hold the door for people following a reasonable distance behind you.
3. Help other people carry things if they're struggling, especially girls.
4. Hold the door for girls and allow them to pass before you.
5. Knock before you enter a bedroom, office, or other private space.
6. If you're a guy, walk on the street side when walking with a girl.
7. Guys should at least offer to pay for a date.
8. If you're escorting someone to a dance, even just as a friend, you need to bring a corsage and pay for the food and your ticket.
9. Never just brush someone off. If it comes down to it, make something up, but you have to at least excuse yourself.
10. Do not swear in mixed company. Ever. Or tell dirty jokes. Especially if you're a girl.
11. Don't try to force people to do something they don't want to do.
12. Treat others as you'd like to be treated.
13. Never try to make someone feel uncomfortable without reason.
14. Think of others once in a while.
15. Guys do not wear hats indoors or during the national anthem.

I suppose if you've been brought up to stand when a lady enters the room or to tip your hat, then you can do that. However, you shouldn't fake it.

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