Category Archive 'Courtesy'

04 Nov 2011

Southern Courtesy

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Southerners, like Blue Ridge Hunt Master Ann McIntosh, are even courteous to hounds.

Glenn Reynolds devotes one of his postings to noting the differences in manners one encounters upon changing latitudes.

As a recent (female) Yankee transplant to the south, I can’t speak of past southern manners, but I can speak of what I’ve seen and experienced since I’ve been here. It’s been nothing short of culture shock, in a wonderful way. I work in a retail store where it’s occasionally required of me to help customers out to their cars with heavy packages. I have no problem with this, but I have yet to seen a man let me take the heavier box, and if I try to, they won’t let me. My male co-workers won’t curse in front of me, or even discuss “inappropriate” subjects without first saying “excuse my language” or “pardon me for this”. I routinely have customers tell me not to worry about helping them with heavy packag, and that I should make the guys carry them. I’m called “ma’am”! (And occasionally, “darlin’”, which is also perfectly acceptable.) I’m treated like a lady wherever I go, not just another random customer. I rarely have to open a door for myself, and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been offered assistance to my car when my arms are full after grocery shopping, from both men and women alike. …

I’m amazed and grateful for a culture that teaches such manners. If this is a decline in southern manners, then I can only imagine what they were like at their peak.

UPDATE: Reader Bruce Webster writes: “I’ve lived in Texas twice — two years in Houston (1979-81), and 18 months in Dallas (1998-99). The phenomenon is real. There is a cultural graciousness that permeates all ages. It doesn’t mean there aren’t jerks there (though I suspect a lot of them are transplants), but it does mean that there are genuine good manners everywhere. I think it’s the guns. :-) ..Bruce.”


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