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  #1  
Old 01-26-2004, 05:12 PM
Ryle Dup Ryle Dup is offline
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Etiquette and politeness, what do you think?

Inspired by a GQ thread about rising from ones table to greet people coming / going, I decided to start this a thread about it.

Personally, I detest many social customs because of the stupidity and circular logic involved, I don't like etiquette nor the condescending attitude shown by those who follow pointless arbitrary rules. For instance, rising from ones table is silly just to do to show "respect" or whatever, the only reason it connotates a polite image is because its been used for that, it serves no practical purpose (besides shaking someones hand, which is different). I generally don't like to go out of my way to comform to something just to "show" that I respect someone, and I myself consider trying to "show" your politeness to be something rude. If you want to make a positive impression, I believe it best to just be yourself, not using archaic polite gestures to try and mask your own personality.

I don't mean this to be a rant at all, more a discussion of what you believe etiquette is, how it affects you, what you think about it. I'll admit the attitude of people who scoff and look down upon you for not wanting to stand up when someone enters the room or whatever really does infuriate me, it sincerely bothers me just how shallow it is.

One of my biggest problems with etiquette things is formal wear. I can't stand wearing 'formal' dress wear, when going out. I don't understand why it is formal wear, nor how it became formal wear. I prefer something comfortable, sweatpants and a t-shirt is fine for me to go anywhere, but it's considered 'rude' or whatever if I do wear those out.
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  #2  
Old 01-26-2004, 06:03 PM
Bippy the Beardless Bippy the Beardless is offline
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I agree in that a lot of etiquette seems to be a set of rules for people who don't know how to be polite. Rising when someone leaves or enters is not necessary, but acknowledging people leaving or entering is simply polite. Formal clothes is another fallacy in many cases, but there is politeness in taking time and effort to dress well (Jeans and tee-shirt can be dressing well in this sense, if they are well chosen for the event) there is also politeness in wearing clothes that add to an occasion, be it suit and tie at the opera, or cape and velvet shirt at the Goth club. If you are male don't like a suit and tie, but want to go to a fine restaurant, don't wear dirty jeans and tee-shirt. Wear something that takes effort, and shows that you care for both your own appearance, and the ambiance you create around yourself.
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Old 01-26-2004, 06:08 PM
msmith537 msmith537 is offline
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Etiquate is about showing respect to other people. Much of it is common sense and most of the Miss Manners crap isn't is everyday use anymore, but the purpose is still the same.

For example -
Getting up - getting up from the table when someone enters demonstrates that you acknowledge their presence. Most people don't do this at meals anymore, but it's still good etiquate to acknowledge when someone has joined the table, eithe by making room for them or grunting in their direction.

Clothes - Like it or not, clothes projects a message about who you are and what your about. I'm not sure what you mean by "formal" but in general, one shows respect for a persons special day (wedding, award ceremony) by wearing nice but uncomfortible clothes (suit or tuxedo depending on situation). Showing up in sweatpants would be considered unspeakably rude and disrespectful. It says that you can't be bothered to even try to make a good impression for just a few hours. If you are hanging out at the local bar, I'm sure jeans and a sweatshirt will be fine.

Food - There are a lot of rules (we had to take an etiquate course at my job). No one expects you to remember all of them. Basically they are guidelines for eating in public so you don't look like a slob. No one wants to see you stuff your face or

"Party" Etiquate - This is what I would describe as practical etiquate rules for young guys. Calling "shotgun", "fives" on a chair, designated driver, buying rounds, no sausaging rule, "grenade man", no "double logos" (sports, school, fraternity). Basically rules of thumb for not acting like an inconsiderate jerk or looking like a dork.


While some rules are ourdated and archaic, many rules are still very applicable. There is a diference between not following some obscure affectation and being a slob or a bore.
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  #4  
Old 01-26-2004, 06:46 PM
Eve Eve is offline
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"Miss Manners crap" indeed

Miss Manners herself--Judith Martin--writes that manners and etiquette are merely the art of making others feel comfortable and at ease. It has nothing to do with "the right fork" and never has.

As far as "being yourself," well, from what I have seen, that rarely means being your best self. It usually means being lazy, selfish and boorish. You want to wear a stinky old T-shirt and sloppy jeans when you've been invited to a formal affair? Either dress in a way that will not appall your host and fellow guests, or stay home.

Without social amenities, we are nothing but barnyard animals. You may be perfectly happy rolling about in your own swill and grabbing at my ground corn because you're hungry, but I prefer to having a nice tea at the Algonquin with people who know how to behave like civilized adults.

[Eve exits stage left, glaring through her lorgnette]
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Old 01-26-2004, 07:18 PM
fessie fessie is offline
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A friend of mine has been quite deliberate about teaching her children excellent manners, through consistant reinforcement and firm limits-setting (not shaming or shrieking, or any carrying on about forks). As a result, her children are welcomed and enjoyed. Adults smile at them and respond to them kindly and with respect. And it always occurs to me what a wonderful asset that will be to them going forward, that they know how to conduct themselves in a way that brings a positive response.
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  #6  
Old 01-26-2004, 07:25 PM
boofy_bloke boofy_bloke is offline
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Etiquette - thank you Ms Manners - is about putting other people before yourself. Given that self-interest is our driving force, etiquette becomes about lying.

Do you put on clothes that suit someone else's idea of appropriate or your own? Are you pretending to be someone you're not or are you allowing people to see you as you are? Do you put on a false front or do you reveal your true self?

See what I mean about lying?

Tying clothes to social situations (pun intended) is about social control and economic predatorialism (neologism!) rather than any inherent comment on the value of the event or its participants. Wearing a suit doesn't make you any more respectful than wearing sweatpants.

We are born naked and the rest is drag - RuPaul

Here are MY acceptable reasons for wearing clothes:
  1. It's hot. Or cold.
  2. There are sharp things.
  3. There are burning things.
  4. You have communicable diseases.
  5. You need to carry lots of little things.
  6. You are on a sports team.
  7. You are sweating on public seats.
  8. You are performing in a historically correct film/play.
  9. You are playing dress-ups.
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  #7  
Old 01-26-2004, 07:53 PM
Jervoise Jervoise is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by msmith537
"Party" Etiquate - This is what I would describe as practical etiquate rules for young guys. Calling "shotgun", "fives" on a chair, designated driver, buying rounds, no sausaging rule, "grenade man", no "double logos" (sports, school, fraternity). Basically rules of thumb for not acting like an inconsiderate jerk or looking like a dork.
Help a foreigner out here: what are "fives on a chair", "no sausaging", "grenade man" and "double logos"?

As to the topic: all I'll say that if you want to accrue the benefits of society--polite company, career advancement, stable relationships--then you gotta play by the rules of society. It's a game like any other--not everything in life requires a "practical purpose" and following the rules doesn't make you any less of an individual. Complaining about the unfairness of it all while still demanding the benefits is a trifle silly.
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  #8  
Old 01-26-2004, 08:35 PM
Eve Eve is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boofy_bloke
Tying clothes to social situations (pun intended) is about social control and economic predatorialism (neologism!) rather than any inherent comment on the value of the event or its participants. Wearing a suit doesn't make you any more respectful than wearing sweatpants.
Ba-nanner oil. If you show up at someone's wedding or a formal dinner or nice restaurant in sweatpants, you are showing your contempt and disdain for your "friends." You are saying, "I don't care enough about you to try and look my best. You're not worth making an effort for."

You wear appropriate clothing to appropriate occasions. Otherwise, you will be accurately typed as a boor and a slob, and you'll find yourself only associating with other boors and slobs.

Which, I suppose, may make you perfectly happy.
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  #9  
Old 01-26-2004, 08:52 PM
everton everton is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eve
You wear appropriate clothing to appropriate occasions. Otherwise, you will be accurately typed as a boor and a slob, and you'll find yourself only associating with other boors and slobs.
Perhaps it’s worth adding that “appropriate” doesn’t always mean “smart”. If you know your friends are planning to hike over a hillside to have lunch at a country inn, showing up in stilettos and a cocktail dress wouldn’t be a good idea either.
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  #10  
Old 01-26-2004, 09:26 PM
ultrafilter ultrafilter is offline
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Eve is exactly right: ettiquette isn't just a bunch of arbitrary rules, and those who decry it are only looking to justify their own crass behavior.
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  #11  
Old 01-26-2004, 09:53 PM
Hunter Hawk Hunter Hawk is offline
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Put somewhat more pedantically, etiquette is a mechanism by which you demonstrate your membership in a particular social group and function. You might want to try doing some reading on the subject of frame theory, or check out some recent books on social psychology or cognitive sociology.
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  #12  
Old 01-26-2004, 10:19 PM
LifeOnWry LifeOnWry is offline
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Madame Eve - thank you, m'dear.

There is an appalling lack of manners and common courtesy going about these days disguised as "self-expression."

The OP claims that etiquette is shallow, but in fact the opposite is true - failing to observe the niceties is shallow of YOU, and clearly sends the message that you think you are above the rules of polite society. If you continue to do so, polite society will simply stop inviting you (politely, of course.)

You probably think it's OK to spit on the sidewalk, too.
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  #13  
Old 01-26-2004, 11:12 PM
Kayeby Kayeby is offline
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I think that etiquette and politeness are positive things when used for the purpose of making others feel more comfortable. Wearing formal clothes to a formal occasion and not belching at the table reduce awkward situations. Less awkward situations = good. And really, some things are Just Plain Unacceptable. Once I was working retail and a 12 year old girl walked up to the counter, looked at me and belched. Absolutely disgusting. Some etiquette is just basic politeness and consideration, which everyone should practice.

However I felt that parts of the GQ thread were leaning towards etiquette for the sake of etiquette - if the point of standing up is to acknowledge a woman, then why is a smile/wave not sufficient? Obviously it's an arbitrary distinction; in the thread, Jervoise mentioned that he didn't stand because it would make his female friends feel awkward, while a couple of women argued that they would feel strange if men didn't stand for them. In a hypothetical dinner between a group of friends, a man standing up might seem out of place, especially if he makes a point of doing it. If his actions make others feel awkward they might technically be correct, but they're missing the "spirit" of etiquette.
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Old 01-26-2004, 11:56 PM
Ryle Dup Ryle Dup is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eve
Miss Manners herself--Judith Martin--writes that manners and etiquette are merely the art of making others feel comfortable and at ease. It has nothing to do with "the right fork" and never has.

As far as "being yourself," well, from what I have seen, that rarely means being your best self. It usually means being lazy, selfish and boorish. You want to wear a stinky old T-shirt and sloppy jeans when you've been invited to a formal affair? Either dress in a way that will not appall your host and fellow guests, or stay home.

Without social amenities, we are nothing but barnyard animals. You may be perfectly happy rolling about in your own swill and grabbing at my ground corn because you're hungry, but I prefer to having a nice tea at the Algonquin with people who know how to behave like civilized adults.

[Eve exits stage left, glaring through her lorgnette]
I disagree on several points. I was raised with proper manners and all, stand when a lady enters, treat your elders with respect, never refer to adults by their first names, etc. etc. and frankly, I quickly realized that a lot of it is ridiculous. If I believe people would be uncomfortable around me, then yeah, I will comform to their rules. But none of the people I count as friends would be offended if I wore sweatpants to a formal occasion of theirs, maybe their friends friends would be, but not them directly, because they know me.

I notice how you implied that one is lazy because they don't value fashion, well, maybe so in your opinion, but I definately have different views of what is "lazy". I don't judge people by how much time they spend on their appearance if it doesn't affect me (hygeine).

There's a large difference between basic social amenities, and self perpetuating useless social customs.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eve
Ba-nanner oil. If you show up at someone's wedding or a formal dinner or nice restaurant in sweatpants, you are showing your contempt and disdain for your "friends." You are saying, "I don't care enough about you to try and look my best. You're not worth making an effort for."

You wear appropriate clothing to appropriate occasions. Otherwise, you will be accurately typed as a boor and a slob, and you'll find yourself only associating with other boors and slobs.

Which, I suppose, may make you perfectly happy.
I disagree, you may not be saying "I dont care about you" etc., maybe this is what YOU would take from it.

If dressing comfortably brands me a boor and a slob to you, then you're correct, I'm happy to be one of your definition. I define a boor or slob as someone who does not bathe, sits around all day or purposefully disgusts others.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ultrafilter
Eve is exactly right: ettiquette isn't just a bunch of arbitrary rules, and those who decry it are only looking to justify their own crass behavior.
If etiquette isn't just a bunch of arbitrary rules, then what is it to you? Besides, thats quite a silly thing to say, obviously if you define crass as not having etiquette, then anyone who behaves differently and those who decry etiquette are obviously going to be crass.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LifeOnWry
There is an appalling lack of manners and common courtesy going about these days disguised as "self-expression."
Maybe, wouldn't know myself, I do have manners and common courtesy in public, I just think it's silly and pointless.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LifeOnWry
The OP claims that etiquette is shallow, but in fact the opposite is true - failing to observe the niceties is shallow of YOU, and clearly sends the message that you think you are above the rules of polite society. If you continue to do so, polite society will simply stop inviting you (politely, of course.)
Well thank god I do observe the niceties and follow them as to not make others uncomfortable. I don't think I'm above the rules of society, I think some of the rules of society are outdated and pointless.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LifeOnWry
You probably think it's OK to spit on the sidewalk, too.
No I don't, because its unsanitary.
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  #15  
Old 01-27-2004, 12:16 AM
Jodi Jodi is offline
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RYLE DUP --

Quote:
I disagree on several points. I was raised with proper manners and all, stand when a lady enters, treat your elders with respect, never refer to adults by their first names, etc. etc. and frankly, I quickly realized that a lot of it is ridiculous.
Ridiculous to whom? To you, of course. The thing that repeatedly strikes me about these anti-manners conversations is how it's almost always a person defending his or her right to make him(her)self comfortable. Me, me, me. For people who practice old-fashioned manners (which to me includes standing when a lady enters, and never addressing an adult by his/her first name without an invitation first), doing those things is a sign of respect. Remain sitting on your duff when a (probably elderly) lady who expects you to stand enters the room, and you have conveyed to her "I do not respect you enough to do you the courtesy of standing." Call the same elderly lady by her first name without her permission, and you have been overly intimate and disrespectful in her eyes. You may consider the action itself to be "ridiculous," but you must know not everyone agrees.

And almost invariably, people who claim not to see the point of manners actually do -- on several levels. They understand that other people value them, which is why when it's in their best self-interest to do so, they conform -- like at a job interview. They also practice manners of their own, which they in turn expect others to conform to -- like demanding that people bathe or practice good hygiene. But they value you "I want ME to be comfortable" above "I want YOU to be comfortable."

So I'm glad to hear you generally practice good manners in public, even if you profess to not understand them. All you really have to understand is that they make social situations smoother for others.
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Old 01-27-2004, 12:54 AM
Fionn Fionn is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryle Dup
I disagree on several points. I was raised with proper manners and all, stand when a lady enters, treat your elders with respect, never refer to adults by their first names, etc. etc. and frankly, I quickly realized that a lot of it is ridiculous. If I believe people would be uncomfortable around me, then yeah, I will comform to their rules. [b]
Question-how can you tell who is uncomfortable around you and who isn't? I'm squarely in the "manners are about making other people feel comfortable and at ease" camp. When I'm with people I don't know well, I find manners are good for making me feel comfortable, whatever they may do for other people.
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Old 01-27-2004, 02:04 AM
boofy_bloke boofy_bloke is offline
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How does standing up when someone enters a room show respect? I understand that some cultures have made this a tradition but what is respectful about standing up? Does this rule apply to people in wheelchairs and if not, why not? Does their "respect" not matter to a walking person? What if I stand up just because everyone else does it? What if I stand up because I want to go to the toilet? What if a deaf-blind person doesn't stand up - are they being disrespectful and would the walking-in person feel affronted? What if the walking-in person is deaf-blind: how will they know if anyone stood up? What if you don't respect the person walking in? Should I stand up, thereby lying about my feelings toward them? Why should old people be shown respect in the first place?

All these questions are intended to show that etiquette is silly. Men used to tip their hats to a woman as a sign of respect, now no-one does. Doesn't that mean that hat-tipping was, in fact, NOT a sign of respect but just some silly tradition?
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Old 01-27-2004, 02:05 AM
Reepicheep Reepicheep is offline
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As MomReepicheep explained to me when she was teaching me manners “Manners are not about rules they are about making the other person feel comfortable.” She used the following story as an illustration of two people using “good manners”. A finger bowl is shallow bowl, which looks like a saucer without the indentation for the cup. It is filled with scented water and during a meal one dips ones fingers into it then wipes them on a napkin between courses.

Story: A hostess was giving a formal dinner party to which she invited the house guest of one of her friends. The house guest was from another county. During the meal the house guest did what any well mannered person does when unfamiliar drink is served to them, smiles at the hostess picks up the finger bowl and drinks it. The hostess, not wishing to make her guest feel uncomfortable, then smiles at the house guest, picks up her finger bowl and drinks it too.
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Old 01-27-2004, 02:43 AM
BlackKnight BlackKnight is offline
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I've heard said that manners are about making people comfortable. Therefore, any actions you take to make others comfortable should be considered, by definition, good manners. This may include wearing a tie, or not wearing a tie. Belching, or not belching. Swearing, or not swearing.

Some may think I'm joking. I'm not.

At work, I swear a lot. It makes my coworkers more comfortable around me. If I talked the way I do in most other situations, my coworkers would probably be very uncomfortable.

If I were to stand when one of the three females who work in the factory with me entered the break room whilst I was sitting there, they'd be remarkably uncomfortable.

Anyone who says that action X is good manners is probably wrong. What they mean is that action X is good manners in situations where it makes others comfortable. In other situations, action X could well be very poor manners.
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Old 01-27-2004, 07:29 AM
Rashak Mani Rashak Mani is offline
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Do you like seeing women chewing gum with their mouths wide open ? People picking their noses in front of you ? Spitting on the floor ?

If you answered YES to these then you are ettiquette concious too.

We tend to think of ettiquette and politeness as only which fork/utensil should be used to open the lobster... but in fact we shake hands with our friends. We call people to say Happy Birthday... we send them Get Well Cards. I think of these as part of being polite and educated.

Consider this scenario: 2 candidates for a job. One gets up to greet you... the other doesn't... its an instant bad impression. You might think people judging your manners as elitist... but what else can they judge until they have had time to know you ? Would you chose an unpolite employee ? I doubt it.

Can excessive ettiquette seem false and insencere... for sure... but overall having ettiquette is a plus with girls and with bosses. Snobbery is too much... but being a redneck and proud of it won't cut it in certain levels.
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Old 01-27-2004, 07:45 AM
LouisB LouisB is offline
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If everyone were to be guided by Eve, the world would be a better place.
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Old 01-27-2004, 08:09 AM
Excalibre Excalibre is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by msmith537
"Party" Etiquate - This is what I would describe as practical etiquate rules for young guys. Calling "shotgun", "fives" on a chair, designated driver, buying rounds, no sausaging rule, "grenade man", no "double logos" (sports, school, fraternity). Basically rules of thumb for not acting like an inconsiderate jerk or looking like a dork.
Care to share an explanation of "fives on a chair", "sausaging", "grenade man", and "double logos"? Either I have very bad manners or these customs are not observed around here . . .
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Old 01-27-2004, 08:13 AM
Eve Eve is offline
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Originally Posted by boofy_bloke
All these questions are intended to show that etiquette is silly. Men used to tip their hats to a woman as a sign of respect, now no-one does. Doesn't that mean that hat-tipping was, in fact, NOT a sign of respect but just some silly tradition?
Well, you failed, I'm afraid. All those questions merely showed you to be silly. And yes, I have had men tip their hat to me, quite recently, in New York. I found it charming.
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Old 01-27-2004, 08:14 AM
Eve Eve is offline
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Originally Posted by LouisB
If everyone were to be guided by Eve, the world would be a better place.
Oh, but darling, how do you know I wouldn't guide you off a cliff? I can be very perverse sometimes . . .
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Old 01-27-2004, 08:18 AM
Rashak Mani Rashak Mani is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eve
Oh, but darling, how do you know I wouldn't guide you off a cliff? I can be very perverse sometimes . . .
but you would do it NICELY... that is the difference.
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Old 01-27-2004, 11:11 AM
Bippy the Beardless Bippy the Beardless is offline
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I still must reiterate the etiquette is a poor substitute for politeness. It may be etiquette to stand when a lady enters the room, and it would be polite to do so should someone who would enjoy the action enter the room, someone like Eve perhaps. But it would be boorish to stand when someone whom you know would be embarrassed by such attention entered the room. If you think of etiquette as a set of rules, you must understand that those rules are at best guidelines for dealing with people you don't know, and knowing when to break them in order to be polite is of great importance. Anyone who uses etiquette as a way to make others uncomfortable is a true boor, much worse than someone who through laziness makes others uncomfortable.
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Old 01-27-2004, 12:10 PM
CrazyMonkey CrazyMonkey is offline
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Not to be circular, but isn't the pointlessness of etiquette the point? Standing up to acknowledge someone's presence typically has no practical value, which is why it serves so well to convey respect. If there was some tangible benefit to be gained from standing to acknowledge someone's presence, then doing so could be seen as just an attempt to gain that benefit, and wouldn't be useful for conveying mutual respect.

Tipping your hat, wearing a tie, and saying "please" and "thank you" have no practical benefits, which make them perfect ways to show respect.
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Old 01-27-2004, 12:32 PM
Elret Elret is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryle Dup
...pointless arbitrary rules. For instance, rising from ones table is silly just to do to show "respect" or whatever, the only reason it connotates a polite image is because its been used for that, it serves no practical purpose (besides shaking someones hand, which is different)...
I find it strange that you consider certain actions which happen to be considered polite in our society to be pointless and arbitrary, while others, such as shaking hands, you call practical. Huh? What made you draw that line?
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Old 01-27-2004, 01:58 PM
FaerieBeth FaerieBeth is offline
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Originally Posted by Bippy the Beardless
If you think of etiquette as a set of rules, you must understand that those rules are at best guidelines for dealing with people you don't know.
So, it's not really a code....it's more like guidelines

I'm sorry, I couldn't resist. As to my feelings on manners:

I am married to man who has them, and wouldn't give the time of day to anyone who doesn't. It's one thing to decry certain customs as outdated or unnecessary, but please believe me, if you* show up at a formal wedding wearing sweatpants and a t-shirt, one or both of the following things will happen:

1) You* will be asked by someone to leave (by the wedding director, mother-of-the-bride- someone who is appalled that you obviously don't have enough class or consideration to dress for an occasion)

2) Someone will assume you* are mentally ill (because what person in their right mind attends a wedding in sweatpants?)

Not one single person will be congratulating a sweatpants-wearing wedding guest on their show of individuality and refusal to conform to silly manners.

* intended as a generic 'you' and not toward any one poster

FB
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Old 01-27-2004, 04:46 PM
Scuba_Ben Scuba_Ben is offline
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Originally Posted by CrazyMonkey
Tipping your hat, wearing a tie, and saying "please" and "thank you" have no practical benefits, which make them perfect ways to show respect.
Actions such as these that make other people feel comfortable around you, and think better of you, have the practical benefit of increasing their self-interest of enjoying your company.

The essense of politeness, courtesy, etiquette, etc. is that it is in your own self interest to increase other people's self interest of associating with you. This applies whether the association is five seconds at the sales counter, an ongoing friendship, or what have you.

("You" is used in the generic sense, of course.)

Going back to what boofy_bloke said, if the courtesies are taken without sincerity, then of course it is lying. The point, of course, is to be sincere about treating the other person with courtesy, so that they will return the favor. It's all too Human to treat someone poorly once they've treated you poorly. So why start the vicious cycle in the first place?

IMHO, I feel more comfortable in a tuxedo than I do in sweats. Anybody up for a formal DopeFest?

Aside: FaerieBeth, you rock! Excellent timing and delivery with your movie quote.
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Old 01-27-2004, 04:48 PM
Beadalin Beadalin is offline
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Originally posted by boofy_bloke:
How does standing up when someone enters a room show respect? I understand that some cultures have made this a tradition but what is respectful about standing up?
In the same way that extending your middle finger with the others folded down displays aggressive disrespect: because everyone in your culture has agreed that’s what it means. There is nothing inherently disrespectful about flipping someone the bird – it’s just a finger, for heaven’s sake. But you know, because of the culture in which you were raised, that such a gesture is intended to offend. Just as gestures like standing to greet someone are intended to display respect.

We humans are immensely visual creatures. Body language conveys more meaning than mere words. Much of the guidelines of etiquette are ways of establishing a commonly-understood language of movement that everyone knows how to interpret, even though it doesn't come naturally, the way smiling or folding your arms does. How you behave non-verbally, including how you dress and actions you choose not to take, speak volumes about you no matter what your intent.
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Old 01-27-2004, 05:16 PM
Iteki Iteki is offline
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Originally Posted by fessie
A friend of mine has been quite deliberate about teaching her children excellent manners, through consistant reinforcement and firm limits-setting (not shaming or shrieking, or any carrying on about forks). As a result, her children are welcomed and enjoyed. Adults smile at them and respond to them kindly and with respect. And it always occurs to me what a wonderful asset that will be to them going forward, that they know how to conduct themselves in a way that brings a positive response.

Huge gift to them, you never know where life will take you and it is brilliant if you have the tools in advance. Hope she is also teaching them to be laid back enough that they won't have a heartattack if they go to somones house and they put a wet teaspoon in the sugar bowl too If I ever have kids I want them to be equally comfortable eating beans and toast in somones flat as in a tailed coat at a formal function. They should be equally able to converse pleasantly with a strangers wife as laugh at a loud fart on the way home from the pub.
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Old 01-27-2004, 10:55 PM
boofy_bloke boofy_bloke is offline
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When Clinton visited Oz he flashed a two-finger V for victory sign, recalling the days of Churchill. Unfortunately it means "Get fucked" so everyone here had a good laugh. Likewise The Bird, until it became common in USA movies and TV no-one here knew what it meant (specifically). And the OK circle gesture can mean "You're a homosexual who enjoys anal sex" in non-Anglo countries.

This says to me that any gesture to show respect because it is etiquettially correct is silly*. Getting annoyed at someone for not standing up is silly. Expecting someone else to behave according to one's own guidelines is silly. If one wants to express one's respect for someone, go right ahead, stand up, tip the hat, say it out loud, but don't expect the same behaviour from anyone else. That's not only egocentric it's probably rude.

If etiquette is the art of making other people comfortable, whose comfort gets precedence - the old woman walking into the room or the boofy bloke sitting on the couch?

My point is that we should all just get along with each other, treasuring each new discovery as a chance to grow and become a better person.


*Silly: adj. not sensible, illogical, serving no purpose.
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  #34  
Old 01-28-2004, 12:36 AM
Jodi Jodi is offline
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BOOFY --

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When Clinton visited Oz he flashed a two-finger V for victory sign, recalling the days of Churchill. Unfortunately it means "Get fucked" so everyone here had a good laugh.
So you, apparently, understand that gestures and actions convey meanings, as when Clinton provoked a laugh by meaning to "say" "victory" but instead "saying" "get fucked." What does that have to do with manners?

Quote:
Likewise The Bird, until it became common in USA movies and TV no-one here knew what it meant (specifically).
But you know what it means now, right? You understand that when an American flips you the bird, he or she is disrespecting you, right? It is disrespectful because there is a social understanding that the gesture is rude. Now you, as a literalist, may refuse to invest a physical gesture with any meaning, just as you might insist on refusing to invest the mouth noises we all call "speech" with any meaning, either. But you can hardly expect the rest of society to ascribe to your view, which boils down to willful obtuseness of social custom.

Quote:
And the OK circle gesture can mean "You're a homosexual who enjoys anal sex" in non-Anglo countries.
. . . So it would be rude to do in those countries, where it is given a rude meaning by society. What does that have to do with manners? Biting one's thumb was rude in the time of Shakespeare (see Romeo and Juliet: "Do you bite your thumb at me??") but isn't now. So what? Who said "rude" wasn't dependent on the society and time one is in? It obviously is.

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This says to me that any gesture to show respect because it is etiquettially correct is silly*.
You have singularly failed to explain why it is silly. It's like you think that if a gesture or action doesn't have some immutable, set-in-stone meaning, it can't have any meaning at all. This totally disregards the fact that no form of human communication is that immutable. People in China will not understand an English request for a bagel -- probably won't know what the hell a bagel is. Does that mean the English speaker isn't making any sense at all, to anyone, anywhere?

Quote:
If etiquette is the art of making other people comfortable, whose comfort gets precedence - the old woman walking into the room or the boofy bloke sitting on the couch?
The one who isn't you. Hence the term "other people."

Quote:
My point is that we should all just get along with each other, treasuring each new discovery as a chance to grow and become a better person.
With respect, it's hard to imagine how you could make many new discoveries when you're so clueless about human behavior that you refuse to acknowledge the existence of non-verbal communication. But to a certain extent, you're right, because IME most people who are negligently rude (as opposed to willfully and maliciously so) eventually have the new discovery that their behavior is alienating people in ways big and small and they themselves are losing by it (like when the girl won't go on a second date because of atrocious table manners, or when the job is lost because the interviewer found your style or manner "too casual"), which gives them a chance to grow and become a better person by acquiring some manners.
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  #35  
Old 01-28-2004, 01:01 AM
CrazyCatLady CrazyCatLady is offline
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Originally Posted by boofy_bloke
If etiquette is the art of making other people comfortable, whose comfort gets precedence - the old woman walking into the room or the boofy bloke sitting on the couch?
The one who ain't you, silly. You know, the other person. If you're the boofy bloke, you stand up, greet the lady, help her find a seat (if no others are available, you offer her your seat on the couch), and if you're the host you offer her refreshments. If you're the lady, you thank the boofy bloke for his kind attentions, and refrain from commenting on his sweatpants, even though the desire to ask him whether he's so fat he needs elastic waistbands, or if he's just too lazy to bother with a zipper and buttons is slowly driving you insane.
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Old 01-28-2004, 06:38 AM
msmith537 msmith537 is offline
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Originally Posted by Jervoise
Help a foreigner out here: what are "fives on a chair", "no sausaging", "grenade man" and "double logos"?

fives on a chair - If you and your friends are watching tv or performing any other seated activity, you may call "fives" when you get up to go to the bathroom or get a beer. That will reserve your seat for 5 minutes. After that it becomes up for grabs.

no sausaging - If your friend is talking to a girl at a bar or party, you do not go over and butt into the conversation (also called "swordfighting" or "cockblocking").

grenade man - A courtesy of distracting or hooking up with the fat or ugly girl so that your friend can pursue her hot friend. (also called being a "wing man")

double logos - Wearing more than one article of clothing that has a particular logo, be it sports team, your fraternity, or college. You want to let people know you are a fan, not Super-Fan #1.



For those people who insist on not following any etiquette, I ask you - are you receiving the reaction you desire from other people? Are you a welcome addition to the party or do people always seem to be on your case? It never ceases to amaze me when people act or dress in an outlandish or inappropriate manner and then are surprised by the negative reactions of other people.
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Old 01-28-2004, 09:35 AM
Eve Eve is offline
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Originally Posted by msmith537
For those people who insist on not following any etiquette, I ask you - are you receiving the reaction you desire from other people? Are you a welcome addition to the party or do people always seem to be on your case?
. . . Do society dowagers glare at you through their lorgnette and say, "well, really?"
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Old 01-28-2004, 09:54 AM
Scuba_Ben Scuba_Ben is offline
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Originally Posted by msmith537
double logos - Wearing more than one article of clothing that has a particular logo, be it sports team, your fraternity, or college. You want to let people know you are a fan, not Super-Fan #1.
Does this apply to wearing the same logo, or all logos? Is it okay to wear college-logo sweat pants, a fraternity letter T shirt, and a pro sports team cap?

The rule (I mean, guideline) may vary depending on the place. If the college / pro sports team is playing a major game, I would expect to see the fans attending the game (or a game-watching party) wearing as many team logos as they wish.
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  #39  
Old 01-28-2004, 11:16 AM
Hedda Rosa Hedda Rosa is offline
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What I find interesting is that all the anti-etiquette folks on this thread are nonetheless using proper capitalization, punctuation and grammar in their posts. All of which are also arbitrarily agreed-upon, arguably outdated rules that one might say no longer apply in modern communication. After all they come from the days of hand printing presses and quill pens, no?

Occasionally some kid comes on here to argue that they are more comfortable typing in that leet nonsense or in all lower case (because reaching for that Shift key is such a chore ). They invariably get lectured that conforming to the rules and style of conversational writing is important because it shows a respect for the reader - and we’d probably all agree that it is inviting just such respect back. It is also an acknowledgement that we care enough about getting the message across to go about sharing that message in the way the most people will understand.

So that presumably agreed upon, etiquette and manners is simply what we call the grammar and style for social conversation. Of course if you wear clean, neat, and pressed sweatpants and t-shirt to a formal wedding very good friends might understand. But should the burden be on them and their other guests to magically understand that your heart is in the right place and you are thrilled about their marriage? Or should you use the tools at your disposal, (i.e. dressing suitably to the occasion) to let them know you respect the importance of the day? If you do not rise when an elderly woman enters the room, she may with effort and thought and time realize that you mean no disrespect and that you do acknowledge her status. But why should she have to take the effort to figure it out when there are socially agreed upon ways for you to let her know, in a way you both clearly understand the meaning of?

Like in writing there are ways to make it easier on your audience to know what you are getting at - and ways to make it harder - and most reasonable people see the value in making it easier and so adhere to the rules. If you choose not to participate in the social grammar you are making it as difficult to be understood as if you used poor grammar in your writing. You apparently do conform to proper grammar, punctuation and capitalization. Why is one social construct something you cheerfully adhere to and another foolish and dismissible?

Finally, truly good formal wear should be comfortable, maybe not as comfortable as your sweats but certainly not torturous.


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Old 01-28-2004, 11:59 AM
msmith537 msmith537 is offline
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Originally Posted by Scuba_Ben
Does this apply to wearing the same logo, or all logos? Is it okay to wear college-logo sweat pants, a fraternity letter T shirt, and a pro sports team cap?

The rule (I mean, guideline) may vary depending on the place. If the college / pro sports team is playing a major game, I would expect to see the fans attending the game (or a game-watching party) wearing as many team logos as they wish.
It's generally the same logo - ie you can wear a fraternity cap with a Mets T-shirt and Adidas sweatpants. I'm a little hazy on the rules of brand labels. Generally you don't want to mix an Adidas sweatshirt with Nike pants. On the other hand, ayou don't want to dress head to toe in one obvious brand. It's a delicate balance between looking like you are sponsored by one company and looking like a walking Nascar (because they are covered with sponsers logos).

Allowances can be made for Superbowls or college rivalry games. Stuff like that where want to acheive superfan status.
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  #41  
Old 01-28-2004, 02:18 PM
overlyverbose overlyverbose is offline
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I was taught manners for a variety of reasons, which included making it so I wouldn't look like a jackass in public, which would make me very uncomfortable, and so I would make other people at ease. The most logical sounding reason I was given when I took those etiquette classes, though, was this: it takes a lot more effort to convince yourself that society's rules don't matter than it does to display a little decorum. In other words, if I know all the proper manners already and can be gracious and comport myself in an admirable manner (table manners, dress, actions, speech, etc.), it takes a hell of a lot more effort for me to fly in the face of that knowledge and act like an ass just for the sake of making a point about how stupid society's rules are.

For example, if I showed up at a friend's wedding in kahkis or sweats, even if my friend didn't think I was an asshole for doing so, his family and their friends no doubt would. It'd be a lot easier for me to put on a smart cocktail dress and enjoy myself while playing by the rules than it would be to have other guests glancing me up and down as I attempted to pretend that I don't give a shit that a bunch of people I don't even know are sending malicious glares my way. My friend or his or her family would probably be mortified by callousness. I would feel horrible being the center of such negative attention. And I would look like an utter moron trying to get people to agree with me that society's rules are stupid while standing there in sweats while everyone else is in semi-formal. All of this could be avoided by taking two minutes - the same time it'd take me to find my sweats and put them on - to find a dress and put it on. It's all about efficiency.

And as far as standing up when a lady enters the room, it is antiquated and unnecessary, but if I walk into a restaurant by myself and my fiance has already been seated to secure us a table, it helps a lot for him to stand up so I'm not forced to walk through the whole restaurant, peering down at everyone else's table. It also makes him look polite, and prevents him from feeling like an idiot if he were to frantically wave his arms to get my attention and a crowded room.
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Old 01-28-2004, 04:40 PM
Cat Whisperer Cat Whisperer is offline
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I submit to all you generic you's that manners/etiquette/common courtesy are the grease in the wheels of society, and are becoming more important than ever as our lives become more crowded and we are constantly dealing with people, people, everywhere.
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  #43  
Old 01-29-2004, 08:18 PM
boofy_bloke boofy_bloke is offline
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Okey dokey, here we go...

Quote:
And as far as standing up when a lady enters the room, it is antiquated and unnecessary, but if I walk into a restaurant by myself and my fiance has already been seated to secure us a table, it helps a lot for him to stand up so I'm not forced to walk through the whole restaurant, peering down at everyone else's table. It also makes him look polite, and prevents him from feeling like an idiot if he were to frantically wave his arms to get my attention and a crowded room.
His behaviour is moving away from "standing up because it's a woman" and toward "standing up because it's the most efficient way to communicate my location". This is a good thing. Etiquette BLOCKS effective communication because it requires certain behaviour irrelevant of the truth (e.g. "Dinner was lovely", "No, your bum doesn't look fat in that dress" - hee, hee).

Most of my friends are already married so I don't have the opportunity to investigate the cargo pants question.

Quote:
What I find interesting is that all the anti-etiquette folks on this thread are nonetheless using proper capitalization, punctuation and grammar in their posts. All of which are also arbitrarily agreed-upon, arguably outdated rules that one might say no longer apply in modern communication. After all they come from the days of hand printing presses and quill pens, no?
Hey, I can be just as anal as anyone!

Seriously, folks, there's a difference between RULES of communication and GUIDELINES of behaviour. ROC are part of the machine itself, like the laws of physics that let the engine in your car convert petrol into motion. GOB are overlaid onto the machine, like paint (although adding stripes will make your car go faster!).

PS People who can't use apostrophe's should be shot!

Quote:
If you do not rise when an elderly woman enters the room, she may with effort and thought and time realize that you mean no disrespect and that you do acknowledge her status. But why should she have to take the effort to figure it out when there are socially agreed upon ways for you to let her know, in a way you both clearly understand the meaning of?
Ah, but why should I be the one to make the effort to understand HER ways? Surely if she has an issue about me not standing up she should (in a perfect world) come over and ask me why I didn't stand up? Anything other than mutual understanding is offensive.

Quote:
Finally, truly good formal wear should be comfortable, maybe not as comfortable as your sweats but certainly not torturous.
I don't actually wear sweats, I'm just using them as an example, but you're right about clothes being comfortable - in fact that's most of the reason why I wear casual - but because formal wear is used so infrequently it is often not the same fit as it was when it was first purchased (it always seems to shrink, somehow). Likewise, capitalism has ended the days when everyone wore hand-made (and usually tailored) clothes so the old suit and tie don't fit people who have not-in-that-size bodies (co-incidentally, people like me).

Quote:
The one who ain't you, silly. You know, the other person. If you're the boofy bloke, you stand up, greet the lady, help her find a seat (if no others are available, you offer her your seat on the couch), and if you're the host you offer her refreshments. If you're the lady, you thank the boofy bloke for his kind attentions, and refrain from commenting on his sweatpants, even though the desire to ask him whether he's so fat he needs elastic waistbands, or if he's just too lazy to bother with a zipper and buttons is slowly driving you insane.
But why isn't SHE offering me the same level of "respect" - in the end NEITHER of us will be sitting because we'll both be offering the couch to the other person. ONE of us might as well sit and it might as well be me. Unless there's some reason why women should be sitting while blokes stand... are they weaker or something?

Quote:
The fingers, the finger
My point is that these "rules" of behaviour were misunderstood. The "fingerer" thought that they were making a completely comprehensible sign with a clearly defined meaning. They weren't. Miscommunication. "The President of the USA leaves Australia saying 'Fuck you'" - how would that have gone down in Cold War Russia? Using body language as the primary means of communication can backfire.

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Who said "rude" wasn't dependent on the society and time one is in? It obviously is.
Thats my point: we shouldn't take offense or provide opportunities for people to offend us in this manner because it's too easy for people to offend us without intending to. Isn't that why some genius invented smilies - because pure text was to easy to misinterpret?

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You have singularly failed to explain why it is silly. It's like you think that if a gesture or action doesn't have some immutable, set-in-stone meaning, it can't have any meaning at all. This totally disregards the fact that no form of human communication is that immutable. People in China will not understand an English request for a bagel -- probably won't know what the hell a bagel is. Does that mean the English speaker isn't making any sense at all, to anyone, anywhere?
Silliness is not asking a Chinese for a bagel, it's expecting them to provide it. Silliness is not having guidlines of behaviour but expecting someone to behave according to your GOB.
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Old 01-29-2004, 10:01 PM
Jodi Jodi is offline
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BOOFY BLOKE --

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Etiquette BLOCKS effective communication because it requires certain behaviour irrelevant of the truth (e.g. "Dinner was lovely", "No, your bum doesn't look fat in that dress" - hee, hee).
What "truth"? And why is the truth the most important thing? If dinner sucked, what do you gain by truthfully advising your hostess of that fact? Neither statement is an example of etiquette or manners, BTW, and neither is required. Etiquette arguably requires you not to unnecessarily hurt someone's feelings or fail to acknowledge their efforts (i.e., "thank you so much for dinner," "since you asked, I'm not sure that horizontal stripes are your best look," etc.), but it does not require you to lie.

Quote:
Seriously, folks, there's a difference between RULES of communication and GUIDELINES of behaviour. ROC are part of the machine itself, like the laws of physics that let the engine in your car convert petrol into motion. GOB are overlaid onto the machine, like paint (although adding stripes will make your car go faster!).
Wrong. If the mechanism of communication is the engine, then the social compacts of behavior we use while communicating is the oil that makes the engine run more smoothly. Manners are not merely decorative; they smooth the way through society by making people more receptive to our communications and raising their opinions of us. If we do not know each other well, then we judge each other on externals -- how you dress, how you behave, how you treat other people. And we interact with each other based on those thousands of tiny judgments, conscious or subconscious. If you think the ability to affect such judgments is merely the "paint" of communication and social interaction, you are simply wrong.

Quote:
Ah, but why should I be the one to make the effort to understand HER ways? Surely if she has an issue about me not standing up she should (in a perfect world) come over and ask me why I didn't stand up? Anything other than mutual understanding is offensive.
Hilarious. The refrain of the manner-impaired: Me, me, me. Why should I make the effort? Why isn't the burden on her?

Quote:
My point is that these "rules" of behaviour were misunderstood. The "fingerer" thought that they were making a completely comprehensible sign with a clearly defined meaning. They weren't. Miscommunication. "The President of the USA leaves Australia saying 'Fuck you'" - how would that have gone down in Cold War Russia? Using body language as the primary means of communication can backfire.
What does this have to do with manners? And who said anything about manners being the primary means of communication? And surely you see that ignorance of local custom or etiquette is a pretty good excuse for failing to follow either, so long as the failure is not willful? So it's all pretty irrelevant to the question of the worth of etiquette in a given society, where pretty much everyone can be presumed to know the general rules.

Quote:
Thats my point: we shouldn't take offense or provide opportunities for people to offend us in this manner because it's too easy for people to offend us without intending to.
On the contrary; it is without manners -- without an unspoken agreement about the broad rules of social discourse -- that we risk offending each other continually. If each individual decides what is in his or her own mind acceptable behavior, that leaves everyone else at sea in determining how to approach and/or communicate without giving offense.

Quote:
Silliness is not asking a Chinese for a bagel, it's expecting them to provide it. Silliness is not having guidlines of behaviour but expecting someone to behave according to your GOB.
What? This makes no sense. If it is silly to not have guidelines of behavior yet expect people to abide by your (non-existent) guidelines of behavior -- which goes beyond silly to being nonsensical -- that by inference it is NOT silly to expect people to abide by broad existing guidelines of behavior, decided not by some single "you" but by societal consensus. And that's what manners are.

If you truly do not understand why making other people comfortable and connecting with them makes life easier, then I doubt very much I can explain it to you. But as you consider the question, ask yourself how often you are asking or expecting something of the people with whom you communicate -- whether it's prompt, hot food from the waitress to accurate directions from the passerby to a date from that cute girl or guy. Even if a person is so self-interested that manners must be justified in terms of a positive payoff -- there is one. You may not see it but it's there. Who do you think has an easier time in this life -- the rude person, or the polite one?
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  #45  
Old 01-29-2004, 10:27 PM
Guinastasia Guinastasia is online now
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A character in a V. C. Andrews novel once said that proper etiquette is simply the Golden Rule put into practice-teach other people as you would want to be treated.

I couldn't agree more.

People who say, "But being polite is snobby and boring and I don't want to do it-I just want to be comfortable," are simply showing their selfishness.

It's not about the right fork or whether you serve white wine with lobster or not. It's about being pleasant and considerate of the other person.
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Old 01-29-2004, 10:31 PM
CrazyCatLady CrazyCatLady is offline
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Originally Posted by boofy_bloke
But why isn't SHE offering me the same level of "respect" - in the end NEITHER of us will be sitting because we'll both be offering the couch to the other person. ONE of us might as well sit and it might as well be me. Unless there's some reason why women should be sitting while blokes stand... are they weaker or something?.
Look, she's old and you're presumably not. You give up your seat for the elderly because they are indeed often weaker and tire more easily. You then stand, or park your ass in the floor. You do not invite the elderly person to sit in the floor because they often have trouble getting up and down. The issue in this particular instance isn't that she's a woman, it's that she's elderly. It would be nice of you to give up your seat for a younger lady, especially if she's wearing a skirt and will have difficulty sitting in the floor without flashing the whole room, but people won't be quite so likely to think you're a jackass. It is, in fact, polite for a young healthy person to offer his or her seat to any guest, regardless of age or gender.

And no, she won't say, "Oh, no, please, you sit while I and my arthritis stand." For one thing, she's probably quite glad to take a load off, and for another it's rude to make a flap when someone offers you something.

(And yes, there was a perception of women as being weaker than men that spawned the tradition of making sure ladies were all seated before gentlemen. Even though that perception is fading, women's clothing and shoes tend to be ill-suited to standing around, and thus it's still considered that men are better-equipped to do the standing.)

The well-mannered elderly lady would also not call attention to your lack of etiquette in not standing to greet her, as it is rude to call public attention to someone's faux pas. People capable of shame would feel uncomfortable if they were accosted regarding their behavior in public, after all. It's the same principle as not remarking on the previously mentioned sweatpants, even though the honest truth is that said sweats are thoroughly inappropriate to the setting.
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Old 01-30-2004, 12:11 AM
dangermom dangermom is offline
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And yes, there was a perception of women as being weaker than men that spawned the tradition of making sure ladies were all seated before gentlemen. Even though that perception is fading, women's clothing and shoes tend to be ill-suited to standing around, and thus it's still considered that men are better-equipped to do the standing.)
And hey, those corsets and 40 pounds of yardage probably were more than a bit tiring to carry around. AFAIK that's why women had the reputation of fainting a lot--because, frequently having their lungs confined so that breathing properly was impossible, they did faint a lot.
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Old 01-30-2004, 05:08 AM
Snooooopy Snooooopy is offline
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Originally Posted by boofy_bloke
When Clinton visited Oz he flashed a two-finger V for victory sign, recalling the days of Churchill. Unfortunately it means "Get fucked" so everyone here had a good laugh. Likewise The Bird, until it became common in USA movies and TV no-one here knew what it meant (specifically). And the OK circle gesture can mean "You're a homosexual who enjoys anal sex" in non-Anglo countries.
Boy, you hear that all the time in bars ... "Jesus Christ, would you stop acting like a homosexual who enjoys anal sex! Why do you have to be such a homosexual who enjoys anal sex?"
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Old 01-30-2004, 10:11 AM
Stonebow Stonebow is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jodi
If you truly do not understand why making other people comfortable and connecting with them makes life easier, then I doubt very much I can explain it to you.
I wholeheartedly agree with this. I'll state my bias up front- one of my sidelines is doing speaking engagements at colleges and professional conferences on basic etiquette. I don't claim to be Ms. Manners, but I cover most 'common sense' stuff- eating, mingling, dressing, etc.- the sort of things that young professionals need to know to 'grease the wheels' in communicating in the business world.

At the end of my talks, I always end up with this- "if you leave this room and immediately start pointing out where all of your friends have breached rules of etiquette, then you haven't been listening. The worst breach of etiquette that you can commit is to point out the failings of others.

Etiquette isn't about YOU. It is about everyone else. If you get into that frame of mind, it all makes sense. Sure, there are some archaic rules that have stuck with us- mostly because whatever their origins, they are either not harmful, or still helpful, if only as a standard that people can expect.

A lot of the anti-etiquette camp seems to boil down to 'you're not the boss of me!' mentality. Guess what? You're right. No one can force you to be polite. Etiquette must be an internalized process, or it's worthless. Of course, being the boss of myself, I can refuse to associate with you. And that is your loss.
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Old 01-30-2004, 11:22 AM
overlyverbose overlyverbose is offline
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I think etiquette makes a lot of things a lot easier. Consider this: you have dinner at a friend's house. The dinner tastes horrible. You're given the choice of lying and saying that it was lovely or telling the truth and saying it tasted like shit. Which is easier? A little white lie that makes the hostess glow with pride and thank you profusely with the side benefit of you feeling good because you made someone else feel good, or having to soothe your hostess because you've just told her that her cooking tastes bad and having the disadvantage of wasting a lot of time because you said something so callous you really offended her and everyone else at the dinner? I'll bet that if you go with option two, you will have hurt your hostess' feelings considerably. If she starts yelling at you or starts crying, you'll have to take the time to make her feel better. If you look at it from a practical point of view, this is a waste of time. You could be having enjoyable conversation with the people at the dinner, but, no, you're wasting time because you made a mean, thoughtless comment.

While I may think that etiquette is what separates us from the animals, it can be considered from a more practical point of view. Using proper manners and etiquette is much more logical and efficient than not. If you use poor manners and throw etiquette out the window in social situations, you wind up wasting a lot more time trying to get people to stop being angry with you for your boorish behavior than you do if you were simply polite in the first place. You also have a lot more friends using proper etiquette than you would otherwise.

It's also invaluable in business situations. No matter what anyone says, a lot of business is based upon who you know and who knows you. Good relationships with people equal better jobs. Business relationships are created and improved with proper etiquette. Also, I have yet to see someone who is self-employed get work by appearing unprofessional or being an asshole to the people he/she works for. That includes wearing a business suit during the first meeting, not acting like a slob if it's a lunch meeting, saying please and thank you, telling this potential client that you had a wonderful time and look forward to developing the relationship even if you think he's the biggest jerk in the world, etc.
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