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Bad manners seem to be everywhere! Whether it’s dinner guests fielding phone calls in the middle of a meal, drivers playing chicken for parking spaces, or the idiot on the subway clipping his toenails, we are one unmannered bunch.
We Babes interviewed Henry Alford, author of Would It Kill You To Stop Doing That: A Modern Guide to Manners, to get his take on whether our manners have gotten worse….or just changed with the times. Henry is a regular contributor to The New York Times and Vanity Fair, and is the author of three other acclaimed works of “investigative humor.” Here’s his take on today’s rude behavior.
Cell Phone TMI
Rude cell phone users seems to be the bane of the mannered. While sitting on the subway, or cooling our heals in the grocery check-out line, do we really need to know about a stranger’s acid reflex issues or that the boyfriend hooked up with someone else while drunk last night???? TMI!
And what about those rude people that post Facebook picture of parties, with all their nearest and dearest friends having a rollicking good time. Did our invitation get lost in the mail… again?!
Drug Store Restraint
Did you know that it’s polite to practice “drug store restraint?” For example, if you see your neighbor at the local pharmacy buying hemorrhoid cream, it’s probably best not to make a beeline towards them to chat. Henry suggests we head quickly to another aisle, thereby leaving your neighbor with his dignity intact.
If you want to be seen as mannerly in the office — please don’t hit the “reply all” key when responding to a group e-mail with non-essential comments like “great” “thanks” or the worst, “Have a nice day.” Henry says this is like a “pixilated version of a styrofoam peanut!”
It Really Has Gotten Better
Finally, even though Henry complains a lot about the modern day unmannered, he says our manners have definitely improved, especially from the era of the 17th century German Christmas revelers. When their dinner parties really got going, and the spirits were flowing, guests would throw dog turds at one another, just for fun. Now that behavior would be considered downright rude — in any century!
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