Apr 182013
 
Gentleman With Monocle and Cane

I may be the first one to utter this brave statement, but here goes:

“People should be considerate of each other.”

You can freely quote that revolutionary statement on Twitter, it’s on me.

Sure, it sounds obvious, yet the more I observe people lately the more I become convinced that many just don’t give a shit. In their minds they exist in the world populated by nobody else. Sort of like Will Smith in I Am Legend, only without the zombies.

I’ve been raised to always be polite to others. Stuff like “giving place to an older person on the bus”, “opening doors for women” and “not throwing feces at strangers” are second nature to me. I don’t say it in a “look at how awesome I am” way (although I am, indeed, awesome). It’s just that I’m hardwired to have manners.

Here in Denmark I’ve actually had to tone down some of my polite behaviour. Sometimes it was considered fake, as if I was trying way too hard to “pretend” to be nice. Occasionally women would even get outright offended, because I dared to question their self-sufficiency with my offer of holding doors for them or carrying heavy objects. Listen, I’m all for it. “All the women, independent, throw your hands up in the air, clap your feet like you just don’t care and do the Macarena” (I’m a bit foggy on the exact Destiny’s Child lyrics).

Bodoland India Women Girls Dancing Ceremonial, Where the fuck are your manners?!

Exhibit A: Independent Women

Thing is, it seems this has deteriorated to the point where everybody is so independent that they stop caring about how their actions affect others. That’s not being independent, that’s being a selfish prick. So for those people who forgot how to co-exists with others, I’ve devised this handy guide for common social situations. If you’re already a considerate person, think of this as a refresher. Also, keep being awesome. If you’re one of the selfish pricks, you’ve probably gone off in search of a site that doesn’t chastise you.

It’s OK, we’ll just laugh at you behind your back.

1. Buses (trains, metro, tandem bikes) are not only for you

You’ll probably find it hard to believe, but your backpack does not have feelings. It won’t be offended if you don’t reserve a seat for it. It will be just as comfortable on your lap as it would be on an otherwise empty seat next to you. You know who may want to use the seat? Hint: the answer rhymes with “other people”, because it is, in fact, “other people”.

So cut that shit out. Stop sitting by the aisle, blocking others and reserving the empty window seat for your invisible friend Bob. Stop putting your shit on the seat next to you, just to carve out some of that “personal space”. If you want “personal space”, go live in a cage.

2. Doors just want to be held

Most doors are designed to be closed when not being actively held open. They are also solid objects, which makes it difficult for people walking behind you to walk through them. Holding them for someone is the easiest way to tell them “I’m not an asshole”. Try it.

On the flip side, if someone’s holding the door for you, here are helpful tips on making them not want to murder you:

a) Avoid strolling through the door they are holding for you, without offering to take over or even acknowledging their existence. They are legally allowed to put a gypsy curse on your whole family if you do. Look it up.

b) Do make an effort to speed up if you have some distance to close. That way you’ll get some exercise and show appreciation for another human being’s politeness. It’s a 2-for-1 deal you rarely see outside of discount supermarket chains.

c) A smile and a “thanks” is in order. If you can’t muster the energy to move your jaw or are mute, a simple nod will work. If you are physically unable to nod, you may want to take a trip to the doctor instead of walking through doors like some kind of a door-walking-person-thing. I’ll work on my imagery if you promise to work on not being a shitty person.

3. People are not walk-through

Until teleportation technology is perfected, we’ll have to stick to the old fashioned “moving through empty space” method to get somewhere. If you’re blocking the only exit route from a train with your body, people won’t be able to exit the train. Interestingly, you won’t be able to enter the train, because none of you are ghosts.

You would think that simply understanding the laws of physics would help you get this fact. Yet somehow the Danish transportation authorities found it necessary to actually film an instructional video on how to properly make space for people exiting a train. If you were ever wondering why they did that, it’s because of you. You have made them waste money on this instead of making trains run properly. You suck in so many ways.

Equally, this doesn’t stop being true after you exit the train. If there are people exiting the train behind you and you stop immediately outside the exit to check your phone or scout for birds, they are legally allowed to trample you and then put a gypsy curse on your whole family. Truly I speak the truth, verily.

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I think I should start working on a series of instructional and motivational books. I feel I’m born to do this, don’t you think? What about you, what are your pet peeves of late? Have you ever tried walking through other people to see what happens?

Leave a comment, get a reply. That's how I roll.

  27 Responses to “Where the fuck are your manners?!”

Comments (26)
  1. Loved this post, dude. Spot. On.

     
  2. I like to think of myself as an independent woman… Ad I not only love when doors are held for me and people are polite, but I love returning the favor. Because manners are awesome.

    Hugs!

    Valerie

     
  3. In India the seat reservation thing works in the opposite way. If someone is caught trying to reserve a seat for their “stuff” then people just shove it up their nose and then three people will try to squeeze into a seat meant for two. It’s funny… until it is happening with you. :P

    And I think the females who get offended when a male opens or holds the door for them are not true feminists but simply insecure about their own independence.

     
    • Yeah maybe if people went on a “personal space” appreciation trip to India for a while they’d stop acting like assholes ;)

      And yeah, maybe you’re right about the “feminists”

       
  4. Love it :) Especially the first one! Oh, and I never mind if a fella opens a door for me and certainly wouldn’t be offended by it but I’m a “southern” girl in the US and we sort of still expect that kind of behavior from a man, even those of us with a little feminist living inside us :)

     
    • Ha, true. In my eyes letting a man act polite does not in any way detract from a woman’s rights, but hey, what do I know? Glad you liked the article, and welcome back to the blog! Thanks for visiting.

       
  5. Good post. Seems like these words of advice should be known by everyone, and yet, sadly, they are not. Some people are just dense, or mean, or too dumb to realize they are being, well, assholes.

     
    • True, true…I think it comes down to simply not being aware of others. “I have to go through here, so that’s what I’m gonna do”. Ah well, gives me blog fodder, so why not? :)

       
  6. Wow, Daniel – such pent-up anger.

    I agree with every word. My parents always said “manners cost nothing” and they were right.

     
  7. What if 2b is an old woman who can’t speed through the door? Cos I’m getting to be that woman…

     
  8. As a ten year old, I remember distinctly when my (wise old) Gran told me how my Dad never let her or my Mum carry bags when he’s around – and with the capacity. That life lesson stood with me from that day. All I need to become is a selfish asshole and everything might change… Great article Daniel!

     
  9. Manners are something I was brought up with, but learned to disregard in my push for world domination. That and my back pack keeps urging me on to take over the world. Of course you know I am kidding, except for the back pack thing…they really do have feelings….

     
  10. I am so with you on this. I’ve never understood why women get irritated if a man holds the door open for them. In this day and age, it’s less a chivalrous gesture and more a courteous gesture. I hold doors open for people, and I expect my sons to do the same, whether for a man or a woman.

    I would add to your list of pet peeves, people walking around engaged in their cell phones. They are so tuned out to their surroundings, they don’t even notice when they walk into you. I know I’m not the most alert person, always walking around lost in my own thoughts, but I’m pretty good about not ramming into people. I save that for poles. I’m good at walking into them, but, if you recall from a previous discussion we had on the subject, I always say “Excuse me” to the pole. It’s only good manners…

     
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