Tuesday, January 19, 2016

What Did You Say?

While having breakfast the other morning with new neighbor/new friend, she mentioned that while playing Bunco with a group of women recently, one of the Bunco players asked her point blank "How old are you, anyway?"

Even given the fact it was a "none of your business"  type of question,  my friend  gave a truthful answer.  To which the women responded "That's not SO old." 

HMMM...would I have answered the initial question?  Maybe... maybe not. Maybe I would of added 15 years to my real age, just to hear "You look really good for your age."  But then what if they said, "Yeah, that's what I would have guessed.  OR...maybe I would of told the truth as she did.  Ultimately, though,  I don't think a co-Bunco player needs my vital statistics.  Really, is it any of her business? Besides the addition of the words "anyway" and "so" gives a certain "judgey" quality to both her question and her response.  

Later that same day, Hubby and I were in a chain restaurant, eavesdropping on the table next to ours.  (Full disclosure: the b**** was being really loud and hard to "not" hear)  The manager was going from table to table asking everyone how their meal was and asking if patrons needed anything.  The loud lady said she needed honey butter.  The manager told her they didn't have honey butter but he could bring her both honey and butter.  She responded by saying. "You do that!  You don't look like you're doing much."

Seriously, was it necessary to add that extra tad of snottiness?  Was she trying to be funny?

Frankly, I wish I could haul my fictional cartoon alter-ego around with me and have her speak the unspoken comments that pop into my brain when I am confronted with either rude comments or rude behavior. It turns out my brain is very outspoken even if I am not.The part of my brain that IS Crabby Pants, probably needs some behavioral classes....something akin to puppy training classes for the brain.  Anyway as I was saying,  I don't have it in me to ACTUALLY  get into someone's face and call them out for a rude comment or some bone-head behavior.  

I suspect most of us have a daily encounter with some inconsiderate cell phone user or a driver that needs his license ceremoniously torched but as far as someone verbally insulting me such as the restaurant manager had been, it hasn't been a huge problem.  How would I handle an out right insult?...I might be be a sad, sulky mess or shrug it off if I thought the person that insulted me was an idiot.  Would I reciprocate in kind?  Probably not.  

I guess most people's capacity for rebounding with a "in-your-face" comment is  somewhat tied to their age, upbringing and generally if their personality is more extroverted or more introverted. 

 I have certainly become more extroverted as I have gotten older but the remnants of my upbringing play a part in how I handle confrontation. My childhood consisted  of living in the South (formerly the bastion of good manners) by very strict grandparents, then moving North to live with my dad who was a product of those same grandparents.  All the  "yes ma'ams and "no sirs'  began to sound out of place.  (Or maybe it was the thick southern drawl that sounded out of place.)  Still the years of "if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all."  or "treat people as you want to be treated" were firmly implanted within my being. There is still a part of me that feels the
need to say "yes ma'am and "no sir".

Sooo...when I occasionally have had my feelings stomped into the ground by some rude comment or irritated by some thoughtless  action, my mind imagines what Crabby Pants would say. However,  Cheryl P. brushes the dust off and tries to deflect the hurt  or irritation with either humor, distance or obscene hand gestures.  JUST KIDDING!!!

Up to this point in time, I haven't boiled over and gone Crazy Pants on anyone.  I am not above thinking that a rude comment deserves a rude come back, but the voices of my childhood are  hanging on for dear life whispering  "if you can't say something nice just keep your mouth shut. At some point I may choose to ignore those voices and lay into someone. 

HOWEVER...Rationally, I recognize that society has changed as far as "old school" manners. What was once considered rude versus what is considered rude today, has evolved.   I a pretty sure that any person that followed Emily Post's original book to a tee, would come across as a freak show.  

Just to illustrate the point....Let's take a look at the right way to greet someone according to Emily.

 Chapter III - Greetings - What to Say When Introduced.

As explained in the foregoing chapter, the correct formal greeting is: "How do you do?"  If Mrs. Younger is presented to Mrs. Worldly, Mrs. Worldly says “How do you do?” If the Ambassador of France is presented to her, she says “How do you do?” Mrs. Younger and the Ambassador likewise say “How do you do?” or merely bow.

I doubt that the bowing would go unnoticed but then I suppose the odds of me being introduced to the Ambassador of France are fairly remote.  Emily ran in a different circle than I do.  Let's assume for the sake of argument, that Emily would be appalled at someone saying "How's it goin'? Would she roll over in her grave if she heard someone say "How's it hangin'?. Just think of how she would of reacted IF someone would of left a nasty comment  on her blog (surely she would of had a blog if there would have been computers in 1922!!!) You have to know that there would be anonymous commenters calling her bad names and telling her she didn't know s***.

OK, we can agree that things needed to relax a bit since Emily's time,  but has the pendulum swung too far the other wayGoing back to the nosy Bunco player, I guess my friend should be lucky she wasn't asked how much her house cost, what her sex life is like and how much she weighs.  
Crabby Pants would have some comebacks.   

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