Mind your Manners


bf657fc487dd5a032f7f66ac14f1a766Being a chivalrous type, Boethius was only too pleased to step forward and open the door to a restaurant he was poised to enter for a young lady a step ahead who had her hands full with the day’s shopping. It just seemed the right thing to do and I did it unthinking – it was what I had been brought up to do.

‘Thank You’ the young lady gushed, ‘it’s no nice to know there are still some gentlemen in the world.’

It’s been some time since Boethius has been called a ‘gentleman’ but I accepted the compliment happily. In hindsight, I’m glad the lady concerned didn’t turn out to be a 21st century femi-nazi direct from some ‘safe space’ on campus. If so she might well have responded to my gesture of politeness with a volley of abuse and vitriol leaving me in need of a ’safe space.’ I’ve had that unfortunate and unpleasant experience before too!

Oh for a world in which men were gentlemen, I thought, when in a reflective mood some time later with a the very pleasing bottle of red wine on the table in front of me nearing the end of its contents. When manners, courtesy and being polite were social norms expected of all and shunned only by the uncouth and ill-bred. Where grown men did not put on a dress and make-up and ask to be called Caitlyn, and are then bizarrely feted for doing so.

Oh for a world when it is quite possible to dine out in a public place and not have some moron on the next table rehearsing his catalogue of foul-mouthed expletives in conversation that can be easily overheard. You just didn’t do it once, and if you did, you were suitably shamed in public by some tartar on the next table, and desisted thereafter. Nowadays the fellow diner asking for less F bombs in the presence of their children is likely to end up with a fist in the face or a perforated chest or worse.

I suppose that world of ladies and gentlemen and social manners and etiquette and common courtesy is gone now. It lives on in some select places. But it’s largely gone. Is the world any better for it? I think not.