Alice in Texas

Not writing here anymore- see top post for details of my new blogs.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

what I love about Texas: #1 manners

People round here have excellent manners. After living in England forever, it is truly wonderful to hear people calling each other sir and ma'am. It's not just shop assistants and waiters etc calling the customers those things, it's a general form of respectful address for people you don't know in any kind of public setting.

There is a difference between good manners and perfect etiquette. Etiquette is about fussing around with your cutlery (silverware), whereas manners are about treating people respectfully. Americans sometimes go over the top with the etiquette because they actually care about good manners and are trying hard. Personally, I think it is wrong to leave your napkin on your seat when you go to the bathroom in the middle of a meal, in case someone pops over to chat with whoever you were next to and parks their behind momentarily on your mopped-up old gravy. Folding your napkin inwards to keep crumbs inside then leaving it beside your plate seems fine to me. However, at least American people actually think about what constitutes good manners. The general view in Europe these days seems to be that "airs and graces" should arouse deep suspicion and rudeness, cynicism and negativity are sure signs of wisdom, whereas kissing everyone you meet is a sign of spontaneous heartfelt affection (pah).

Hooray for sir, ma'am, helpful friendly shop assistants and waitstaff (waiters and waitresses), and helpful friendly people in general. Hooray for people shaking your hand and introducing themselves (although I could do without the hand-shakes personally, but they are well meant).

So, in summary:
Q Why do you want to live in Texas?
A Because the people here are friendly, polite and respectful.

I will continue this series, but in the meantime I ask you- is there a better reason than that for living anywhere?

Thank you for shopping at Alice in Texas, we hope you enjoyed your visit and will come again soon.


At 10:35 AM, Blogger That Broad said...

I'm with you, good manners are very important in any society. I am more likely to shop at a business which employs those with good manners, less likely to return to a store where I perceive that I am unwelcome by the staff.

At 1:26 PM, Blogger Stacey said...

I couldn't agree with you more about the Texans. I never thought I'd live in Texas, but tomorrow marks 10 years I've been here.

And the people are warm, friendly and polite. When they ask how you are, they are genuinely interested. How rare that is these days.

At 3:18 PM, Blogger Mrs. du Toit said...

I made life miserable for Kim after we decided to move to Texas. I cried for days, thinking my life was over, and I'd die in the place I hated so much.

Good thing women still hold the right to change their mind.

Yes, the manners are a big part of it. It was strange at first--having come from areas where people don't make nicey-nicey conversation. But it isn't a put on, "Have a Nice Day" with a forced smile. People here genuinely make nice, because of being constantly reinforced with good manners.

I grew to like it.

Oh, and add to the list:
1. You can buy a gun without a violation of the 2nd Amendment.
2. You can homeschool your children without government meddle.
3. No state income tax.

Now if they'd get In and Out Burger to install a franchise, it would be perfect.


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