MISS MANNERS

I was appalled. Yes, there were three children in a shopping cart. And yes, they were very active. But letting them hurl cereal in the aisle, take their shirts off, and use the F word caused at least a dozen elderly shoppers to have near-coronaries. I was among them. It seems that it is again time for me to put on my “Emily Post hat” and give all you young whippersnappers out there some of the finer points of daily etiquette.

CHILDREN ARE REALLY BETTER SEEN AND NOT HEARD. Is Dr. Spock no longer in vogue? Who is giving out advice to young parents these days? Believe me, it won’t hurt their forming psyches one bit to learn how to keep their little mouths shut in adult company. I have yet to meet a toddler who has anything REALLY interesting to say!

ALL PANTS SHOULD BE KEPT ON IN PUBLIC. I must admit that there are pictures in our family archive of naked children pushing shopping carts, but it was in the privacy of our own home. And once they hit the age of two, nude toddlers are no longer charming to the general public. Those little tushes should be encased in something during outings.

TEENAGERS MUST SPIT OUT THAT GUM. I know that teens lack self confidence, and that the teen years can be brutal. But I am lost as to how chewing gum 24/7 helps ease the transition into adulthood. And summer jobs are scarce. Gum chewing during job interviews does not endear you to any employer that I am aware of.

I UNDERSTAND THE LURE OF TATTOOS. BUT BE SO VERY CAREFUL WHERE YOU PUT THEM. The Baby Boomer generation still associates tattoos with drunken sailors. I realize that every single one of my grown children’s friends has at least five tattoos. But please don’t get one across the bridge of your nose! I really think you will regret that one. And for those of you out there who have uncivil words anywhere on your body, think of how you are going to explain them to YOUR children!

PUT YOUR NAPKIN IN YOUR LAP. Perhaps eating while sitting at a table is a lost habit, what with all those soccer games and dancing recitals, but honestly, all children must learn table manners. Forks, not fingers. Straws for drinking, and not shooting coke at your sister. No slurping. Elbows are still unwelcome on the table, no matter how comfortable that is. And for heaven’s sake, sit up straight in your chair and stop kicking your fellow diners under the table!

PLEASE AND THANK YOU ARE STILL IN THE LEXICON. There seems to be a bit of a sense of entitlement going on out there. Just a reminder, here, that gracious people get a lot further in life than their counterparts.

WHAT DID YOU JUST SAY? Are there any words that are considered taboo these days? Scatological terminology and sexual descriptives are everywhere. Does it really help to loudly use the “F” word when frustrated, say, at the mall? Is it ok to call women and girls “bitches?” I blame rap music for this. I blame rap music for a lot of things. As a matter of fact, just this morning, when I stubbed my toe, the word that came flying out of my mouth was directly due to the worldwide influence of rap music.

FINALLY, ALL CHILDREN OVER THE AGE OF TWENTY FIVE SHOULD GET MARRIED AND HAVE CHILDREN. It is only good manners to award your parents with grandchildren before those parents are in nursing homes. This practice of having careers, living together for extended periods, and THEN tuning in to the biological clock is creating an entire generation of diaper wearing GRANDPARENTS.

I want to thank you for reading this. Please come again.

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