Tuesday, June 3, 2008

On Thoughtless Thoughts

Kathy would like us all to put our "Miss Manners" hats on and give her some input on 21st century American manners (or lack thereof.)

I have to say, I have not had occasion to throw a big, catered bash for anyone lately; and since I have no kids, there will be no weddings, graduations, baby showers or the like in my future. Still, I perceive a change in social habits, despite all protestations to the contrary by the real Miss Manners.

I almost said that the problem must be a steadfast commitment-o-phobia among the general population…but I wonder if that’s it. Perhaps the issue is that people are chronically over-committed. With today’s technology keeping us eternally connected to everyone we know, work with, or have ever met, our time is never our own. People are loathe to commit—especially to something as far in the future as a month from today—because something better might come along. Or something dire might happen to change their plans at the last minute. Live moves so fast, and we have so many choices that we justcan’tdecide….

And then there is the growing literacy problem among Americans. I wonder…how many just don’t know the meaning of "RSVP?" Perhaps that little French acronym is beyond the ken of today’s average xenophobic, anglo-centric Yankee. Anyone under the age of thirty probably doesn’t even know where, or what, France is.

Replace those four letters with something that our ill-educated society can understand. Like, "If you don’t let me know you’re coming, you’ll be turned away at the door." Or "Anyone not responding by such-and-such a date will be seated in the living room with the rest of the folks who won’t be getting any food." Why, after all, should a social invitation affect an archaic courtesy that simply no longer exists in our society? If you want your guests to let you know they’re coming, you’ll simply have to step off that genteel pedestal, get right down in the wallow with the masses and "oink" their language.

At some point, you just have to concede that society has changed, and get with the program.

Good luck with that…


thesheatons said...

Well, we don't wear hats and white gloves anymore so something along the lines you suggested along with this invitation is for the people it was addressed to, no last minute extras just because the inlaws showed up.


mutualaide said...

Lisa ... I think you've hit many nails with one hammer.  I do want to clear up one little thing though ... I'm not angry or even annoyed ... I'm curious as to why a person just can't pick up the phone and say 'yes' or 'no'.  

But alas ... those that show without the call will get a slip of paper at the door.  

"You have been awarded last place in the buffet line.  If there's anything left you may help yourself."

thesheatons said...

Another possibility is to plan a menu that's very flexible. BBQ, pasta, something that can be stretched or you won't mind eating all week.......or sending leftovers home with guests. :-)
You know the saying about "there's always room for one more, just scramble the eggs or add another potato to the soup.


springsnymph said...

My daughter learned very quickly how to deal with the complete lack of response to her children's birthday party invitations and more adult oriented get-togethers in a simple, effective way.  She leaves her address off the invitations.  Invited guests have to call her to get directions.  It's simple.  It works.  Sad that one has to revert to this.

dsonney01 said...

Sometimes those self-addressed (and stamped) returns work but sometimes even those are not used- perhaps that time frame input is correct...ohhh, maybe something else will happen..ohh- I can't decide now...sorry, decide and unless there is an emergency we should stick to it. Glad some people still care, Dannelle