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Old 05-21-2014, 09:04 AM
 
9,228 posts, read 18,827,666 times
Reputation: 22139

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We've had a number of threads that touch upon this issue from all different perspectives, and I see them as all part of one over-arching issue: the increasing informality in our society.

Hardly anyone dresses up for things anymore.
People scoff at the idea of wearing "professional attire" to interviews and in the workplace.
Fewer people seem to care about proper language, usage, spelling, and grammar.
Too many people hug people at every greeting, even people they hardly know.
Rules for kids are more and more lax (ex. they can be picky eaters and the parents allow it).
We think nothing of seeing famous people, even our President, in very casual, even unprofessional behavior.
The whole idea of etiquette and good manners is rejected by more and more people.
Public displays of affection, even sexual affection are "normal," and if you're annoyed by them, there must eb something wrong with you.
Etc, etc, etc.

I recently re-read a Jane Austen book, and re-watched the movie based on it, and I was suddenly struck with a longing for the "formality" in their society. Of course to people today, this formality would be an extreme, and even I would bristle at some of it. But I feel like something has really been lost. I also like the formality in Downton Abbey, which was closer to our time, being in the 20th century.

But I like the ideas of:

People dressing appropriately for dinner and special events. Sure, dressing up for dinner when it's just your own nuclear family might be extreme. But if you have guests, wouldn't it be nice for everyone to dress up? I mean, show some respect for your hosts and your guests.

People, both wealthy and poor, being taught manners, and expected to show them. Everyone called their elders and people they aren't acquainted with "Madam" and "Sir." Not "yo," "dude," or "hey you."

There was a nice "bubble" around people regarding physical contact. You didn't hug strangers, casual friends, or colleagues. A couple beginning to date might hold hands, or walk arm-in-arm. Of course, I don't doubt they still engaged in sex outside of marriage, but it was kept private, not on display, and not pushed out into people's faces. Public displays of affection, like excessive slurpy tongue-kissing, were considered vulgar.

Couples might have separate bedrooms. Okay, I know I'm in the minority here, but I never saw the purpose in couples having to sleep together. Of course there's the fun stuff we all enjoy in bed. But after that's over, I'd much rather we retire to our separate beds to stretch out and be comfortable. No, we choose to get elbowed and kicked, sleeping next to someone snoring, making us hot & sweaty, and disturbing our sleep. I'd much rather have my own room, and have my husband "pay a call" on me, and then leave. Or preferably, I'd pay a call on him, and then leave, so my own bed isn't messed up.

I even like when married couples would call each other "Mr.__" and "Mrs.___." Yes, that kind of formality would be over-the-top today, but it sure seemed to help couples treat each other respectfully. Even if you get into a serious fight, you're less likely to get nasty and strike a low-blow when you're referring to your partner as "Mrs." or "Mr."

In a professional setting, you would call your superior "Mr." or "Mrs." Today we call the CEO "Bob" and our immediate boss "Katie." You didn't expect the president of your company or your boss to be your buddy.

Even poor people observed certain rules & expectations of civility. It wasn't just a "snooty rich people thing." People had at least rough concepts of honor and decency. The boundaries of what each person or group considered honorable or decent or acceptable might have varied a little, but there were basic agreed-upon concepts. For example, getting into a loud argument in public would be considered embarrassing to people from every social stratum.

Kids were expected to obey their parents and other adults in authority. They had to show respect. If your mother or father said to eat that piece of food that you dislike, you ate it. If you tried to argue, you'd experience punishment. If you acted up in school, the teachers could take action and your parents would be in full agreement. None of this meant that parents didn't love their kids as much as parents today. In fact, it shows they loved them so much that they wanted to ensure they became successful, productive, honorable citizens.



Does anyone else agree with me, even in part? Do you wish we still had some more formality to our social interactions?
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Old 05-21-2014, 10:21 AM
 
Location: Canada
9,018 posts, read 8,265,428 times
Reputation: 19211
I agree very much about how people dress these days. I hate that people wear jeans and slogan t-shirts to a nice restaurant for dinner, or that people wear pj pants as regular pants to go out in public. My word for all of that is shlubby. Okay, so it's not a word... We have casual Friday at work, but I feel more professional when I'm dressed up than dressed down.

I also miss the formality of names, that everyone is on a first-name basis now. The formality is a sign of respect to me. I have customers of all ages, but with my older customers, I prefer to call them Mr or Mrs and they seem to like it too. It just feels wrong to address an 89 year old as Fred instead of Mr. Davis. The man fought in WW2 and has seen almost a whole century. Fred just seems wrong to call him and everyone in our office calls him Mr. Davis, so it's not just me. He hasn't corrected us and asked us to call him Fred either.

I also agree about spelling/language/grammar.

It just seems like society has gotten so lazy, who can be bothered to spell, or put khakis on instead of blue jeans. It might be how it is but I don't have to like it or go along with it.
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Old 05-21-2014, 10:42 AM
 
5,413 posts, read 5,101,156 times
Reputation: 9351
Quote:
Originally Posted by TracySam View Post
We've had a number of threads that touch upon this issue from all different perspectives, and I see them as all part of one over-arching issue: the increasing informality in our society.

Hardly anyone dresses up for things anymore.
People scoff at the idea of wearing "professional attire" to interviews and in the workplace.
Fewer people seem to care about proper language, usage, spelling, and grammar.
Too many people hug people at every greeting, even people they hardly know.
Rules for kids are more and more lax (ex. they can be picky eaters and the parents allow it).
We think nothing of seeing famous people, even our President, in very casual, even unprofessional behavior.
The whole idea of etiquette and good manners is rejected by more and more people.
Public displays of affection, even sexual affection are "normal," and if you're annoyed by them, there must eb something wrong with you.
Etc, etc, etc.

I recently re-read a Jane Austen book, and re-watched the movie based on it, and I was suddenly struck with a longing for the "formality" in their society. Of course to people today, this formality would be an extreme, and even I would bristle at some of it. But I feel like something has really been lost. I also like the formality in Downton Abbey, which was closer to our time, being in the 20th century.

But I like the ideas of:

People dressing appropriately for dinner and special events. Sure, dressing up for dinner when it's just your own nuclear family might be extreme. But if you have guests, wouldn't it be nice for everyone to dress up? I mean, show some respect for your hosts and your guests.

People, both wealthy and poor, being taught manners, and expected to show them. Everyone called their elders and people they aren't acquainted with "Madam" and "Sir." Not "yo," "dude," or "hey you."

There was a nice "bubble" around people regarding physical contact. You didn't hug strangers, casual friends, or colleagues. A couple beginning to date might hold hands, or walk arm-in-arm. Of course, I don't doubt they still engaged in sex outside of marriage, but it was kept private, not on display, and not pushed out into people's faces. Public displays of affection, like excessive slurpy tongue-kissing, were considered vulgar.

Couples might have separate bedrooms. Okay, I know I'm in the minority here, but I never saw the purpose in couples having to sleep together. Of course there's the fun stuff we all enjoy in bed. But after that's over, I'd much rather we retire to our separate beds to stretch out and be comfortable. No, we choose to get elbowed and kicked, sleeping next to someone snoring, making us hot & sweaty, and disturbing our sleep. I'd much rather have my own room, and have my husband "pay a call" on me, and then leave. Or preferably, I'd pay a call on him, and then leave, so my own bed isn't messed up.

I even like when married couples would call each other "Mr.__" and "Mrs.___." Yes, that kind of formality would be over-the-top today, but it sure seemed to help couples treat each other respectfully. Even if you get into a serious fight, you're less likely to get nasty and strike a low-blow when you're referring to your partner as "Mrs." or "Mr."

In a professional setting, you would call your superior "Mr." or "Mrs." Today we call the CEO "Bob" and our immediate boss "Katie." You didn't expect the president of your company or your boss to be your buddy.

Even poor people observed certain rules & expectations of civility. It wasn't just a "snooty rich people thing." People had at least rough concepts of honor and decency. The boundaries of what each person or group considered honorable or decent or acceptable might have varied a little, but there were basic agreed-upon concepts. For example, getting into a loud argument in public would be considered embarrassing to people from every social stratum.

Kids were expected to obey their parents and other adults in authority. They had to show respect. If your mother or father said to eat that piece of food that you dislike, you ate it. If you tried to argue, you'd experience punishment. If you acted up in school, the teachers could take action and your parents would be in full agreement. None of this meant that parents didn't love their kids as much as parents today. In fact, it shows they loved them so much that they wanted to ensure they became successful, productive, honorable citizens.


Does anyone else agree with me, even in part? Do you wish we still had some more formality to our social interactions?
You are over romanticizing an era and overlooking some truly horrible stuff that went on, all under the guise of 'civility'....and nothing to do with actual politeness. I'll gladly take modern life....with all it's current challenges....over fake rules and mores. (Your idea of being married and 'calling on your husband' in his own room so as not to mess up your bed...ah...that strikes of a mental disorder.)

Dress up if you want....beat your children to obey your every word, look down your nose at those that aren't of your social class and standing and keep your husband at arms length so you don't have to deal with intimacy. No one is stopping you, but thankfully the rest of us don't have to be like you.

Last edited by ScarletG; 05-21-2014 at 10:58 AM.. Reason: ...wouldn't want to send the OP into a fit of vapours over a typo.
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Old 05-21-2014, 10:47 AM
 
1,242 posts, read 1,244,457 times
Reputation: 3623
Sorry, no. I think the majority of social interactions should be less formal. I find the suits and dresses to be comical like kids playing dress up (I have to do this for work) and I think a lot of these formalities keep people from making real connections.
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Old 05-21-2014, 11:04 AM
 
Location: Noblesville, IN
3,695 posts, read 4,069,860 times
Reputation: 6220
Why can't we have some of those formalities but not associate it with some of the antiquated ideas behind them?

ScarletG...beating children into submission, or a "formal" intimacy with your spouse is NOT ideal, to be sure. But why couldn't we blend some of the yesteryear respect and blend it with today's more progressive ideals?

I'm just throwing it out there, but I do agree with so much of what TracySam says. At the same time, I'm glad women have a better standing now, and that children aren't "forgotten" and a number of other things. However, I do think that respect for others has gone right out the window. There is more a sense of entitlement now and it buries a lot of traditions that I think made way for some pretty great people...not saying there aren't great people being raised now, but I don't see a lot of respect in almost every facet of life.

It's definitely easy to romanticize how things used to be but I do think we should bring back some of those traditions... perhaps by blending it with a new and modern way of thinking...idk...I'm just talking it out...
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Old 05-21-2014, 11:11 AM
 
Location: Arlington, VA and Washington, DC
23,526 posts, read 33,237,890 times
Reputation: 32036
Quote:
Originally Posted by ScarletG View Post
You are over romanticizing an era and overlooking some truly horrible stuff that went on, all under the guise of 'civility'....and nothing to do with actual politeness. I'll gladly take modern life....with all it's current challenges....over fake rules and mores. (Your idea of being married and 'calling on your husband' in his own room so as not to mess up your bed...ah...that strikes of a mental disorder.)

Dress up if you want....beat your children to obey your every word, look down your nose at those that aren't of your social class and standing and keep your husband at arms length so you don't have to deal with intimacy. No one is stopping you, but thankfully the rest of us don't have to be like you.
Quoted for truth. Im The Dissenter and I approve this message.
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Old 05-21-2014, 11:34 AM
 
16,693 posts, read 14,387,662 times
Reputation: 37642
I think there are pockets of civility you could become a part of. This is why I get involved with and attend fundraisers in my community. It is fun going out into town and talking to business owners and scoring donated items and sponsorship cash, then getting to dress up and go to a nice dinner dance and auction and know that someone--the hospital, the local theater, the museum, the battered women's shelter--is benefitting.
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Old 05-21-2014, 11:36 AM
 
Location: Pennsylvania
1,653 posts, read 1,220,010 times
Reputation: 6065
Calling Ward Cleaver! So, you want to live in the 50's? Don't romanticize a decade that included overt racism, McCarthy era paranoia, a real threat of nuclear war, rampant sexual discrimination, polio, J Edgar Hoover, party lines, etc.. Sure, we have our share of problems now but manners and dress aren't quite up there with the above mentioned.
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Old 05-21-2014, 11:42 AM
 
Location: southern california
55,433 posts, read 74,307,391 times
Reputation: 47819
the term "formal"-- often implies, unnecessary behavior and dress.
but this would inevitably also includes manners. we reject many things, some of which we should have kept.
this great crash and burn happened in 1963 --the gateway to the great drug experience of america which changed our behavior and dress forever.
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Old 05-21-2014, 11:42 AM
 
Location: Noblesville, IN
3,695 posts, read 4,069,860 times
Reputation: 6220
Quote:
Originally Posted by 1986pacecar View Post
Calling Ward Cleaver! So, you want to live in the 50's? Don't romanticize a decade that included overt racism, McCarthy era paranoia, a real threat of nuclear war, rampant sexual discrimination, polio, J Edgar Hoover, party lines, etc.. Sure, we have our share of problems now but manners and dress aren't quite up there with the above mentioned.
I don't recall anything in her post romanticizing a particular era, nor is there ANY mention of celebrating racism, paranoia, nuclear war, polio or discrimination.

If you really read the post, I think you'll find that she missed the traditions of RESPECT for one another by addressing people more formally, or perhaps dressing for certain occasions, or perhaps sleeping (not anything else) but sleeping in separate rooms as a way of getting GOOD SLEEP.

Am I seriously the only one who sees the underlying message? I didn't read anything extra into TracySam's post...she has a way of being very clear all on her own and if she had meant any of those other things, I'm quite sure she would have said that.

Anyway, manners, respect, dressing properly, giving weight to proper grammar and speech are all important...and the society we live in now seems to have forgotten a lot of that. It IS laziness and many folks think it's very unimportant. I, for one, do not.
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