Where the fuck have all the manners gone? I’m serious — there is a total lack of decorum, politeness, civility, courtesy, gentility, graciousness and gratitude in our general society today. It manifests particularly strong in the queer community; we devour one another (and not in the hot way). So I asked my therapist friends and they gave me reasons aplenty; we are caught in victim narratives, we have never learned to love ourselves — let alone others; we think in-your-face gets results, we bully — just as we have been bullied; we reject manners because society doesn’t require us to use them, it isn’t a necessity anymore.
To all of that I find some truth, but still say bullshit to the total lack of kindness and the rise of thoughtless impudence generally and specifically in how we treat one another.
In our world of modern conveniences, we can communicate instantly through Skype, Facetime, private messaging, texting, Twitter, Instagram, and more. Sites like Facebook and feeds such as Twitter allow us to upload the important moments in our lives to keep friends and loved ones in the loop and our valuable or invaluable opinions constantly going out there. Want to know how my trip to Hawaii was? Read my blog (and leave a comment if you have a question.) Check out my pics if you want a visual of my new thong swimsuit and how we lavishly and gayly lived it up.
I then asked a bevy of people culled from an intergenerational perspective.
The boomers say one characteristic that seems to be glaringly missing from society these days? Etiquette. Baby Boomers cluck their tongues at the younger generations who figuratively thumb their noses at ‘manners.’ They’ve got better things to do than sending paper thank you cards for all of life’s events. Besides, who uses actual paper anymore? Texting was invented for a reason, right? A thank you text is pretty much all that Generation X feels is necessary.
As a generation who grew up in the shadow of Baby Boomers, Generation X is now having a midlife crisis, and virtually none of them seem to notice. They’ve hung all their hopes on eternal youth and vials of botox – refusing to grow up and follow the rules of society. Whatever the scenario, at some point, most generations fight the aging process as they desperately try to feel young again.
And WTF do Millennials believe? I was told the following about their ‘manners’ from their Gen Y mouths. They are proudly less concerned with formalities than their predecessors. This includes pleasantries, manners, etiquette and protocols.
Examples such as last to the bus stop, first on; wait your turn (“what turns?” “what are queues?”); using people with automobiles for free rides; always willing to let the organized and creative friend plan the event/excursion/outing, etc., then indulging fully in all the hard work, without reciprocating; perpetually being invited to dinner, but never returning the kindness, or offering to bring a dish or bottle of anything; mooching, never paying for the bill, never having the courtesy to consider doing so; never saying thank you for someone’s time, advice or wisdom; texting (intrapersonally selfish) instead of calling a person from time to time (interpersonally developmental); not checking up, checking in on friends; posting anything on FB that isn’t about you, your face, the eating establishment where you are dining; blending every thought, person, belief into a massive homogeneity, and expecting others to completely accept your “smoothie life” mentality. Well, all that was my interpretation of what I heard.
All members of society are doing these things less frequently, so it is no surprise that the Millennials choose to engage in rule of etiquette less frequently. They were fostered to flourish in creativity and pave their own way, so its no surprise that etiquette was lost in translation. Because Millennials are less inclined to do what is expected, and are able to forge their own path, they may struggle defining exactly what that path should be.
So sum it up for God’s sake!
Today’s world is a drastically different planet. Shifts in family life, technology and globalization make for a radically different world than ever before. It is one of constant flux and uncertainty. The world as we know it is ever-changing. All generations need to be flexible, be mellow and allow. Every generation has its ways, methods and manners. The art of etiquette is more valuable than ever before, especially because it is so rare, and especially in our queer community.
So, is etiquette dead? I say hell no! Living mindfully and enjoying all of life’s moments isn’t replacing manners, but it is changing the way we express them. It’s still important to show up — and show your appreciation and gratitude regardless of your queer age or generation. Thank you very much!