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 just…can’t…decide….
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…