I’m about to rant about something which makes me sound (and feel) really old. I’m not going to rag on the most recent music (I love ALL music), I don’t particularly care what the younger generation wears, and I don’t really care if they spend all day with their noses in their phones on their personal time, but a lack of manners and decorum really pisses me off.
I know that times have changed and blah blah blahdy blah blah, but good manners never go out of style. Look, I was raised in the projects. My parents had no social skills and certainly didn’t pass them on to us. My grandparents were immigrants. But I knew better than to show my ass in public from a very, very young age. I knew the difference between my inside persona and my outside persona. (Forget voices. I’m Italian…I have no inside voice.)
When my kids were at that “magic” age when they began to flex their potty mouth muscles, I made sure to have a conversation with them about their different personas. I explained that I knew they would be trying on expletives to see how easily they rolled off their tongue and while that was perfectly normal, there was a specific time and place for that behavior, i.e. only with their friends and only out of earshot of adults. Who could be lurking around any corner. So be careful. Very careful.
I made sure they understood that they were a reflection of me and that no matter how “good” they were, a foul mouth and rude behavior would have people thinking poorly of them and that good manners, kindness and a polite demeanor would cast the impression that they were trustworthy, mature and well behaved…even if they were the heathens I knew them to be. I also made it clear that a poor first impression was very hard to overcome and a good first impression would pave the way for forgiveness of future sins.
In other words…don’t fuck up and make me look bad.
No…of course I didn’t actually say that. My foul potty mouth is reserved only for this blog and my husband’s ears (and a few close friends). Otherwise I have daisies and rainbows flowing from my mouth on a regular basis.
It worked. I am consistently complimented on my kids and their behavior and they make me proud everyday. They have an excellent vocabulary. Wouldn’t think of cursing outside of their inner circle. They open doors, pull out chairs, say please and thank you and blah blah blahdy blah blah.
Here’s the thing though. Yes, my kids are well-behaved adults but I honestly think the reason I get complimented so often is that the rest of the world has lost their freaking minds!!! Since when is it acceptable to drop the f-bomb every three minutes within earshot of perfect strangers? Strangers with toddlers in tow? Or at a work function? Or directly to your boss?!
Again…I must be geezing. I know they are just words and that, as I told my kids, they only have power if we give them power. But the fact remains that society has given them power and we have to respect that. Or not.
We recently took a group of our trainees to a community service function. We were asked to leave. Let me type that again. This group was asked to leave a VOLUNTEER function because they didn’t know how to behave. From the time they walked in the door they were rude, foul-mouthed and not helpful at all. These are young adults – not high school or middle school kids. We didn’t accompany them because we thought they were adults. We were wrong. And let me assure you, they knew what was expected of them.
And let me also assure you that they heard from me upon their return. But digress.
On what planet is it EVER okay to be rude, foul-mouthed and disrespectful? I’m no Emily Post but damn people, it doesn’t cost a dime to be kind and respectful. But it costs a lot for my company to have their reputation drug through the potty because of a few obnoxious frat boys and girls…yes girls…even they were in on it. I think that pissed me off the most because, in a male dominated industry like mine, I expect more out of the women. I expect them to be better than their male counterparts because that is what they’ll have to do in order to get ahead. Is it right? Hell to the no! But it’s a fact so get over it.
What I do not expect is for them to show their ass while wearing a t-shirt with the company logo on it. Show your ass in your own clothes…not mine. And while you’re at it, bring me a bar of soap because I’ve got a line of people who need their mouths washed out.
See…told you I was geezing.