Gayby’s Guide to Manners

I nannied for a kid once.  Sometimes he would grab my watch and not give it back to me.  It made me furious, but I was the adult in the situation and I knew I had to keep my cool.  So, I would say things like, “Bobby, you need to give me that watch back or I’m going to hang you out of that ten-story window by your ankles.”  For some reason, this would make him laugh hysterically.  I even said this in front of his mother once.  “Want to hang out the window?  Is that what you want, Bobby?  It’s really high up.  You’ll go splat.  I’m counting…1, 2, 3…Give me the watch back…”  Maniacal laughter from Bobby and then I would yank the watch out of his little, meaty, fist.  I didn’t care.  I wanted that feckin’ watch back.  Sweet Mother was going to get respect by hook or by crook.

I also wanted this kid to gain some manners.  It was lesson time.  I mean, as far as I could see, his parents were raising a little a**hole.  So, I wrote him a manual called, “Bobby’s Guide to Gentlemanly Conduct”.  I wrote steps in it for him at whim, which means I would write new steps whenever he annoyed me.  The manual always contained two sensible points and then a nonsensical one because you have to keep their attention, you have to keep them on their toes – they’re kids, after all.  Step 1 would say, “no hitting,” then step 2, “only 1 soda after school,” and the kicker, step 3, “NO ALCOHOL.”

The “NO ALCOHOL” would send Bobby into hysterics again.  And then he would scream, “I’m 8.  I’m only 8!  I don’t drink alcohol!  I don’t drink alcohol!”  – as if I were the stupidest person in the world.  It was gorgeous.  I had control via absurdity.

Thinking about Bobby, got me to thinking about my future-Gayby.  When I think about Gayby, I think about the world around me.  It seems, these days, we could all use a little manners.  So, I’ve written some first steps.  Feel free to photocopy this list and paste it on your fridge or better yet, give it to someone you love – someone who, maybe, is on the verge of becoming a little a**hole.  Here we go.

Don’t Eat Like an Animal / Learn How to Use a Fork
There is a way to eat and there is a way not to eat.  The way that involves using your hands and grabbing the drumstrick and gnawing on it like you’re a wench or a scab at a Medieval times reanactment is WRONG – just plain wrong.  You should eat European-style.  Fork, turned over in your left hand, piercing the meat or carrot, knife in your right hand, cutting gingerly.  Once you have an adequate-sized piece, place the knife down, pierce the food with your left, turn it daintly, lift, and place in your mouth like a lady or a spoiled, little, lord.  (If your left handed, that is a sign of the devil, so learn how to use your right.  I’m not explaining that all over again.)  When you are done, don’t place the fork and knife all skiawampus all over the damn plate.  Knife and fork together, knife with the round side up.  If you can’t handle these simple things then eat only Ethiopian meals where the food is placed on a plate made of bread.  You rip the bread with your hands and swoop up the yummy goods.  Everyone will think you are cultured and well traveled, only I will know the truth – you are lazy.

An atrocity, in every sense of the word.

Get everything custom tailored
Wifesy and I argue over this.  She thinks I get my pants hemmed too short, I think she lets hers trail around her like a vagabond.  Truth is, there are only two people in the world who can wear clothes right off the rack and neither of them are very nice.  The rest of us, normal folk, need to get a slightly bigger size and then take it to the nice tailor and have her pinch it in, here and there, until it fits us perfectly like a glove.  Fitted is how you want to wear your clothes, not like some hoochies be wearin’ their pants these days – all snug like a sausage trapped in a thimble.  Not like that.  I do not want to see your ass.  In fact, and this goes for you – all the mens-es worldwide – pull your pants up!  Up, pull ‘em up!  There should be two layers of clothing between you and any seat at all given times that you are in public.  So, underwear and your pants, that equals two layers.  If for some reason your pants are buckled below your ass, you’re doing things all wrong, not to mention defying gravity, and stressing out all the natural laws of personal hygiene!  And worse yet, stressing out Momma!

Use headphones while listening to or playing electronic gadgets
Beep. Beep.  Beep.  Click. Click.  Beep. Beep. Click.  Buzz. Beep.  Buzz.  Buzz.  Shut that feckin’ thing up.  Period.  You are not at home.  You are surrounded by other people.  So, either shut that sh*t off or put some ear buds in your ears.  If you don’t do this, you run the risk of a total stranger ramming your electronic device down your throat and this is dangerous to the esophagus, even at the best of times.  People tell me it’s how Whitney Houston lost her voice.  Some say crack, I say using a Mario Brothers on a crowded train.

Never actually use a hankerchief
Hankerchiefs are disgusting.  If you use a hankerchief you’re either old as feck or you’re way too eco-friendly and allergic to kleenex.  However, none of that means you should carry your snot around with you.  Since I don’t pee into a bandana and then put it in my pocket, then you should’nt get to carry your snot around.  Gross.  Now, if you’re a man – you’re allowed to use a “pocket square” – a pocket square is a nice flash of color that perfectly rounds out a suit, but you are never allowed to blow into your pocket square, ever.  You are allowed to put it down on the grown so a lady can walk over a puddle though, because that’s just cool.

Yes, hippie, it is NOT a tree. It is, however, still gross.

Don’t expose your crotch in public
You would think this goes without saying, but it doesn’t.  One day, a long time ago, I went to take a bus out of New York’s central, bus-hub, known as Port Authority.  As I waited on the ticket line, I watched a young father shield his young boy’s eyes.  I followed his blinded gaze across the line to the wall opposite us.  Sitting there was a woman in a skirt with her legs retracted, her knees up around her ears, and her skirt practically around her neck.  She looked constricted and pained.  The only thing that was free and liberated on her entire frame was her beaver.  Her beaver was taking in the breeze.  In fact, I think she was using it to hold her bus ticket.  Try not to do this.  It scares children.  And adults, like me, remember it for the rest of our natural lives.

No personal hygiene routines in public areas
I once experienced a man clipping his nails on the downtown train.  I was drinking a cup of coffee and I just couldn’t enjoy it.  I kept trying to focus on the trajectory of his snapping, flying, nail shavings and fearing one would land directly in the open hole on my coffee lid.  It was all I could think about – this man’s dna sample in my morning coffee.  Thank god, the bus-line-lady with the open beaver wasn’t around.  I can’t imagine what area she would’ve been worried about.

Caught on camera!! Nail clipper on the bus! Arrest him! Arrest him now!

Pay for things every once in a while and always tip well
Pick up the drinks every now and again, simply because you’ve had a mini-windfall of good prosperity in your life and you want to share.  Always, tip well, even if the service is sh*t.  As the musical band, Live, so eloquently put it:  “Everyone deserves a little bit of feckin’ change.”

Shorten up your posts
Guilty, guilty, guilty as charged.  I am hoplessly guilty of writing too many words.  So, consider this last note from me a sublime gesture to watch my manners by stopping here.  No, here.  Here.  There.  No, really.  I’m done.

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Photo Creds:  nails, hanky, piggy

71 thoughts on “Gayby’s Guide to Manners

  1. So I’m not the only one. PMSL I had coffee up my nose after reading of the bus station missy :) Just one more to add: say thank you! and actually say it so that the other person can hear you. rather than some half-intelligible mumble.

    (My mission for 2012 was to give or send a thank your card for every day of the year. According to my diary it is now day 94 and I’ve sent maybe 10… Obviously I’m pushing cr@p up hill on that, so maybe the mission should be changed to allow emailing as well… or writing on people’s walls!)

    1. you know, i almost put the please and thank you one in there… and i like sir and ma’am too from time to time believe it or not… but, the post was getting too long! as it always does. i also wanted to add – STOP SCREAMING YOUR ENGLISH LOUDER, JUST BECAUSE THE OTHER PERSON DOESN’T SPEAK ENGLISH…because it doesn’t work as a translation mechanism and people just think you’re an idiot. i think it’s amazing what you’re doing with the thank yous. you should just say, ‘one thank you a day’ – it can be on a wall, an email, a text… that way you’re more likely to stick to it… cool that you’re even attempting it though, very cool. xo – mother

  2. Oh dear heavens YES. I used to date men who couldn’t adhere to these simple rules. How I loathed that! I still don’t know what was wrong with me those days. I have pills now, so thankfully that’s all behind!

    Why, oh why. Do parents -not- teach their children manners!

    1. lol, this is hilarious, intermittante. we should all have pills to help us deal with obnoxious people! anyway, i agree, all children need manners. let’s raise the standards! lol. – mother

  3. Never ever come to the Deep South. In theory, we have manners here, but that’s the old old people. The young people? Imagine all the offenses above served with barbecue sauce stains and peppered with “ain’t”s.

    1. i can’t, i can’t, i can’t… i would run around telling everyone to pull up their pants and then i would slap them in the face with some warm grits for making me look at their underwear. i can’t take it. no!

  4. THAAANNNNKKK YOU!!! I always tell people I think hankies are disgusting but its like nobody listens to me *sobs hysterically*.. as if carrying around your snot is not bad enough you have to wash it out!! and you wonder why your cold/flu is not getting any better!!smh

  5. Ha – I actually guffawed out loud at work! But come to Paris, I am constantly delighted by how seriously people take table manners here…

    1. the europeans are better at this. i don’t know why, but they are. most americans eat like it’s last call for chow at the prison camp. slow down, cut your food like a human, and eat with your mouth closed. simple! simple, really. lol. – mother

  6. Okay, the pig man was a little disturbing. Probably shouldn’t have read this while waiting for lunch.

    Sad to say that my 5 year old does not like to use his fork no matter how many times we remind him. I haven’t tried threatening him with getting thrown out the window yet but I suspect he would react the same as Bobby. Alcohol on the other hand might be a good solution.

    1. you may need the alcohol if he never learns to use that fork! i suggest tying it to his hand. i have no idea how you get around this problem? cesar milan? supernanny? no idea. anyhoot, YES, the pig was the most disturbing thing ever. disturbing! lol. xo, mother

  7. Love them all!
    How about washing your hands after going to the bathroom? True story: we had some house guests who NEVER washed their hands. It was the most disgusting thing I have ever experienced, I had to sanitize my entire house and I still felt gross for about a week.

    1. that is so weird about them not washing their hands. weird and gross. very, very strange. maybe they’re purell freaks and they kept purelling instead of hand washing. at least that’s what i hope. otherwise they’re freaks! freaks, i tell you. lol. – mother

  8. A friend of mine dated a guy who clipped his nails while they chatted on the front porch…on the first date. He still can’t figure out why she wouldn’t go out with him again….

  9. It always makes me wonder why people feel OK with during their grooming (nails, crotch breathing, etc.) in public. I was on a flight from Cleveland to Philadelphia, and the guy next to me took out Q-tips and began cleaning his ears. Yucko.

    1. omg, you have got to be kidding me. that is so gross. what’s next taking off your shoe and pumicing the sole of your foot? jesus. what is wrong with people. so scary. anyway, momma loves you. stay strong, there are a lot of creepers out there. xo – moms

  10. It makes me despair a bit of the world that you witnessed those things.

    Also, after working at a bridal shop where I could get everything I owned tailored for less, I’m super neurotic about pants that are too long/short. I yell at N all the time about getting his pants properly hemmed and his shirts taken in a bit. But it looks SO MUCH nicer when clothes fit properly, rather than saying, “Bah, good enough.”

    1. yes! i tell wifesy this all the time. hem things and iron them. period. everyone looks better this way. everyone! lol. i love that you commented, badfads. so spot on. even if they don’t like it, i propose wrangling all spouses and forcing custom tailoring. forcing, if necessary! :) mother

  11. May I add one? Always greet and acknowledge people, especially those who get it the least. For example, while at school, say “hi” to the janitor (better yet, introduce yourself and learn his/her name) and say “good morning” to the cafeteria staff and maintenance workers. It doesn’t take a lot of effort but it’s a small and meaningful connection we are making. Many toll around us daily and never get an acknowledgement.

    1. so well said, winn. so well said. no one does this enough. no one. and they deserve it. it’s such a small thing and it means a lot. anyway, thanks for saying this here, winn. i think we all needed to hear it. – moms

  12. People flossing in public is what really grosses me out. I’ve seen a few people do it on the bus and, while I applaud their dental hygene, I want to go and kick some common decency into them.

  13. hahah the last bit made me smile!

    Yes OMG! Handkerchiefs are so disgusting! They should stop manufacturing them! How was The Hunger Games?

    1. hunger games was AMAZE-BALLS. loved it. and i didn’t expect to. i read all three books and thought they’d ruin it, but it really was worth it… now i’ll read your post. ;0 – sm

      1. wheeee! You have no idea how happy I am that I found you on the blogosphere!

        I am on a sugar high here! WHOOPA!

        are you on twitter?

  14. hahahaha…just what i needed after along day…
    i think people should also remember that sneezing in your hands should be followed by washing your hands or using a sanitizer…
    everytime i sneeze i look for a sanitizer or take a walk to the washroom.. but at the same time i wonder how many others do that.. people work sneeze and continue working… :( dont like it…

    1. lol. nope, don’t like it at all! i obessively wash my hands like someone with ocd. especially when i’m in and around the kitchen – i have a weird salmonella paranoia. anyhoo, thanks for swinging by here… and i got your photo… yay! xo, mother

  15. I would also add, “Don’t stash a boat load of dirty underwear with skid marks behind your desk and feign surprise when your mother asks why you’re out of underwear.” I had to work on that one A LOT with my son. So rude. =p

    1. omg, this is so gorgeous. what did he think was happening, stace? the underwear fairy was bringing in a new pair each day? regardless, so cute. even if it revolves around dirty knickers. but, thank god you stopped it! lol. xo, me

  16. On behalf of the whole world, we thank you for having the foresight to instill manners in your future child. If only all parents would do so, this world would be a more pleasant place.

    Great post!

  17. A few weeks ago I was at the Doctor’s office and an older gentleman started playing an electronic poker game. The sound was so loud and constant that everyone kept looking at him. I contemplated going over to teach him how to mute it, but I thought he might get mad or start screaming at me, so I kept my distance. But boy was that the most annoying thing EVER!

    1. oh my god, you have such self control. there is no way i would’ve been able to supress my desire to tell that man to shut that shit down. there’s no way i could’ve stopped myself. no way. you are a better person than i, dear lesbian, a way better person! lol. anyway, so glad you stopped by here. much love, sweet mother

  18. I’m thinking something’s in the air this week. This is the third post about some aspect of manners (i.e., lack thereof!) that I’ve read so far this afternoon, and there were others earlier in the week! And I agree with everything you and the others have said!

    Yes, please, people, can we show some common courtesy, respect, and simple hygiene? Our society is civilized? Hah!

    1. you mean i am not original!!!!! oh my god, i’m going to have to write an entire post about being a ‘blogger hack’. lol. anyway, i saw one too many tiny a-hole children the other day and it made me NUTS, nuts, i tell you!!! everyone needs to become just a touch more cooth and i think it would save lives…

      – mother

  19. Way to go, Mama!
    Kids should be brung up proper like.
    Holding doors open for people (not just “ladies”) is also good manners and takes so little effort.
    I’m also with Winn when it comes to acknowledging the existence of people who perform life’s more “menial” tasks. They are still people just the same. Everywhere I’ve worked I’ve always ended up friendly with the office cleaner, and they’re far more interesting and world aware people than the majority of my workmates.

    1. i had written ‘hold all doors for the person behind you’, but thought this business (post) was getting too long. couldn’t agree more. so true, so true. and winn, once again, makes a great point. thanks for stopping by here, mee. always great to see you. – sm

  20. When I see brats in the street I just want to give them a kick in the arse, adult or child. I’ve got 2 kids, both of whom know that manners get you everything, and that rudeness gets you the kick.

    No, I am not one of these parents that think their little brats are perfect, people have stopped me in the street and asked how I managed to get my kids to be so well mannered. Generally I just have to smile and shrug, who am I to give them a cold hard dose of truth, you are an a-hole and without intensive training your kid is gonna be an a-hole.

    I also subscribe to the control via absurdity program and I can tell you that you get some pretty strange looks when you use it in public.

    Don’t shorten up your posts. Or else it’s the window for you…

    1. you have no idea how many times i’ve wanted to say, “you are an a-hole and that’s why your kid is an a-hole” – so many times, it’s hard to count. seriously, thanks for making that very valid point here and for the sweet comment about my loooooong posts. ;) mother

  21. Watch out world! Mum is on the rampage and soon thousands are going to be festooning the walls of tall buildings like sausages hung out to cure!

    Go Mum – this could become a real meme and I’m all for it :D

    1. nothing this sensible will ever go viral! unless of course i dress up a cat and teach it manners then maybe, yes. lol. always good to hear from you, andrea. always good. xo, mum

      1. lmao – if you can teach a cat manners then you’ll get a Nobel prize for service to humanity:p Despite years of trying I still can’t stop one of mine from drooling on my shoulder and nothing I can do stops the other one from bringing live mice home for me to ‘play’ with :(

  22. SM,
    Just FYI, some (one) of your readers has a fluttering bladder so when you write, “In fact, I think she was using it to hold her bus ticket.” Some (one) of your readers almost wet the bed.

    hahahahah you rock

  23. I am an expat living in Spain.. Please, can you come over here and teach the Spaniards some manners? If Europeans are generally better-behaved, as you say, then they are the exception!

  24. Just witnessed a couple of young men committing two of these bad mannerly faux paus (is it faux pas or faux pas?) — pants below hips, dingy undies showing and devices halfway plugged into their ears so we could all hear the music blaring with plenty of f words flying around for all to enjoy, including the kiddies! (this was in a grocery store). Can we please add to the bad manners list — if you have to have a personal conversation on your cell phone, please do so outside or at least lower your voice! Also when paying for something and others are standing behind you in line, put down the cell phone, look the person in the eye who is only trying to do their job by checking you out and keep the hugely important phone call on hold for a brief few moments until you’re finished. Jeez.

    HI-larious post btw. :).

  25. skiawampus — will this word be in your gaby’s material? I sure hope so because it’s a doozy.

    Toenails in coffee, crotches holding tickets at port authorities–you’ve lived such a full life. But, I double-dog dare you to pee into a bandana and stick it in your pocket when you’re picking up a particularly large tab somewhere. I’ll bet that no one bats an eye. Who knows? Maybe they’ve been trained by a nanny to do that I see you but don’t notice what you’re doing look so well perpetuated by the idly rich . . .

  26. You’re a PILL! I loved this. And I wasn’t even sure I was totally on the same page with you until I got to nail-clipping. Yes! Drives me batty!

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