Skip to comments.A Last Bastion of Civility, the South, Sees Manners Decline
Posted on 11/03/2011 1:43:37 PM PDT by marshmallow
ATLANTA One August night, two men walked into a popular restaurant attached to this citys fanciest shopping mall. They sat at the bar, ordered drinks and pondered the menu. Two women stood behind them.
A bartender asked if they would mind offering their seats to the ladies. Yes, they would mind. Very much.
Angry words came next, then a federal court date and a claim for more than $3 million in damages.
The men, a former professional basketball player and a lawyer, also happen to be black. The women are white. The mens lawyers argued that the Tavern at Phipps used a policy wrapped in chivalry as a cloak for discriminatory racial practices.
After a weeks worth of testimony in September, a jury decided in favor of the bar.
Certainly, the owners conceded, filling the bar with women offers an economic advantage because it attracts more men. But in the South, they said, giving up a seat to a lady is also part of a culture of civility.
At least, it used to be. The Tavern at Phipps case, and a growing portfolio of examples of personal and political behavior that belies a traditional code of gentility, have scholars of Southern culture and Southerners themselves wondering if civility in the South is dead, or at least wounded.
Manners are one of many things that are central to a Southerners identity, but they are not primary anymore. Things have eroded, said Charles Reagan Wilson, a professor of history and Southern culture at the University of Mississippi.
To be sure, strict rules regarding courtesy and deference to others have historically been used as a way to enforce a social order in which women and blacks were considered less than full citizens.
(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...
My blessed, sainted grandmother used to call anyone uncivilized -
I must agree that media regularly degrade and ridicule men. I have been complaining about if for some time now. But I respect my man and he respects me. He would readily give up his seat for a lady. I would give mine up as well for any older person of any gender. I think Southern hospitality still reigns here in Texas. For now, at least.
To say the bartender was discriminating sounds like words right out of the mouth of a liberal.
It is sort of an odd anecdote for a story about lost chivalry. In the olden days when men treated women with respect there was no rule about giving way to gals coming to belly up to the bar. They weren’t allowed into the bar.
He was intentionally favoring one gender over another in a place of public accommodation. That is discrimination.
I have to admit, I don’t recall a man ever offering me his bar stool, mostly because I don’t frequent bars. I don’t think I’ve ever gone into one unescorted. Of course, I was under the legal drinking age when I got married. :)
Tattooed... there, finished it.
I believe there is a decline. Holding a door for anyone behind you, or for someone about to exit is something I was taught to do. These days young men don’t even have the courtesy of saying thank you.
I live in Palm Beach County as well. I like to think that I am at least as chivalrous as any of my contemporaries. You will note that the two guys in question were handed a menu which they were pondering. I would not give up my seat to anyone so they could sit while I tried to eat standing up.
Manners used to be important until women wanted things both ways.
I must say I agree with you there.
Yet another example of behavior from the "Entitlement" class!
The bartender, IMO, was demonstrating manners that was sorely lacking in the two men who obviously belong to the “Entitlement” class.
My, my, such a dilemma for liberals. Who to side with?
I am from Indiana and considered it a charming compliment.
I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt on what your definition of "entitlement class" is in this situation.
I wouldn't have given up my seat either. My money is as good as that of those women.
I'd probably give up my seat if asked. Who wouldn't prefer a table and free food to sitting at the bar?
But I could understand a 50-year-old broken-down ex-athlete being peeved at giving up his place for a twentysomething woman who just walked in.
Age may be as important as sex or race here, and those who resent bossy, officious people may see something presumptuous, meddlesome, or intrusive in the restaurant policy. It's their property, sure, but some patrons do take offense at managements that are too interfering.
The basketball player, Joe Barry Carroll, was born in Arkansas and went to high school in Colorado and college in Indiana. Presumably his parents were Southerners.
The lawyer, Joseph Seth Shaw, went to Oglethorpe University before Howard University Law School. It's hard to say for sure, but I could almost bet he wasn't Northern-raised.
Atlanta is ridden with left wing libs. Don’t judge “the South” by Atlanta.
I’d give up my seat. Of course, my dad would STILL kick my butt if I didn’t.
Yuck! You know every one of their husbands has a hot young mistress! lol
I live in Massachusetts, and for a long time I would offer my seat on the train to women and the elderly.
The elderly will sometimes accept, but with reluctance. Often, the only way they will take my seat is if I get up and act like I am getting off at the next stop.
The women of nearly any age up to and equal my age not only never accept, and often act as if you threatened to rape them. That reaction completely creeps me out, so I no longer offer my seat to females (unless pregnant) but always will offer to any one older than me of any sex.
But I often don’t ask now, I just vacate the seat. I can’t stay sitting while someone older than me is standing.
I open doors for everyone, though...and I try to make a point of opening the car door for my wife when we drive somewhere. I think she still likes it...:)
My dad was Navy, and he taught me to address all men as sir, and all women as Ma’am.
Heh, when he was angry at us, and would say in his growly voice “Do you UNDERSTAND? if we answered “Yes.” he would advance his face about a foot towards yours and say in a deeper, more growly voice “Yes WHAT?”
Me, more meekly: “Yes Sir.”
How I love him and miss him.
I too live in Massachusetts, and find the manners of men to be quite gentlemanly. There are some women who are rather rude, but they are in the minority in my experience.
Wasn’t it the men who sued?
One thing I have found is that there are women HATE being addressed as “Ma’am” and tell me so (I work in a hospital, and part of my job is interacting with many people)
I usually apologize, and say that I was raised that way and just cannot shake the habit, and tell them it is, to me, a gesture of respect.
Many times, they think, and then say something like “Okay, then. You can call me “Ma’am”. But it makes me sound so OLD!”
I miss the concept of being gentlemanly. People think you are a dinosaur if you try to be, perhaps I am. I never thought I was old enough to be, but as I write this, it occurs to me. But I am not changing. I will still open doors for women and the elderly.
I miss dressing up to go out to dinner. There is no ceremony in going to even the most expensive restaurant. You can go into just about any restaurant wearing jeans and sweater.
I miss (as a man) the opportunity to talk to small children in public who aren’t yours. You just can’t do it any more, which I find to be as sad as anything. Even when my wife does, parents seem extremely edgy. I guess I understand why, but I don’t like it.
In this case, I don’t think they should have been “asked” to give up their seat.
If it isn’t free will, then it really isn’t gentlemanly manners. And that says more than anything about someone, though I understand completely not giving up your seat to the likes of many young women. They would excoriate you on one hand as being sexist, and on the other hand would give you a fake, sweet smile and take your seat while expressing to their friend out of earshot “What a putz. Gave up his seat. Glad I got it.”
Not all but there are some.
Elderly, or pregnant and you turn your back and fail to offer, you are a self-centered heel. No questions asked there.
Agree 100% on that point.
If you’re in line at the grocery store would you let the woman in line behind you go ahead of you? I think not.
Acutally, man or woman if they are behind me with a small amount intheir cart and I have a large amount, I always let them cut through.
But I often dont ask now, I just vacate the seat. I cant stay sitting while someone older than me is standing.
You have class and manners, that rare combination that causes days to be just a little more grace-filled.
PBC is full of transplanted YANKEES! South Florida is not the South in any way, shape or form.
When you travel North in Florida you actually go farther South!
My children are expected and required to say “please”, “thank you” “ma’am” and “sir”, stand when a guest enters the room and hold doors and give up their seats for older people, male and female, among other things.
If anyone tells me that’s demeaning to my kids, I’ll kick them in the teeth!
How’s that for a Southern lady? ;-)
As do I, but I was posting as all things being equal. A full cart for both.
You're an idiot. And you're a racist.
The picture at the article tickles me to death. I have a son currently going through ‘Cotillion’ in our area. It teaches manners and how to be ‘genteel’ (he hates it, of course....but has a lot of school mates in it). That’s how I was raised and want to pass the tradition down to my kids (though MY influence) and with extra help.
Our culture, here, is really challenged. I want to pass this on to my kids while I can.
Heh, you can tell I had four posts in a row...it hit a spot in me. The world is somewhat of a strange place now for interacting with people. Odd. This must be what it is like to get older, to feel a bit like a fish out of water in some ways.
It is funny, and yet comforting in s bizarre way, to think that my parents must have felt this way at my age...and their parents at that age, etc. Damn kids with their unpleasant music, strange hair, steel crap sticking out of their faces and all those tattoos, while they can’t take their thumbs off of the cell phones!
I work with a 25 year old guy, nice kid though a bit liberal, but thoughtful. He lamented that he didn’t grow up with the Internet, and I told him: “No...you DID have the Internet, only it was via a modem and THEN broadband...I didn’t grow up with the Internet!”
As we sat there and dwelled on it for a minute, it occurred to me that I DID grow up without the Internet and was without it for most of my adult life, and how codgery that must make me seem to young kids...I could just see them looking at me and saying in dumbfounded amazement: “You didn’t have the Internet? What did you DO at night?”
It just seems complicated, but I guess it isn’t...as long as I remember what Mom and Dad taught me...:)
Hah...I remember when I was a teenager, I was in a CYO band, and the organization had a Cotillion...it was like a prom, except the guys wore their band uniforms, and the girls wore nice ballroom-like dresses.
The girls had band uniforms too, but...none of them griped about having to wear dresses while we got to wear our uniforms. They liked it that way too.
It was very southern to me, and it was up here in Massachusetts. Funny. Like a kind of masquerade party to northerners of what the genteel south was like. Of course, I was the only one in the entire school with a southern accent, having just moved up a year or two before from the Virginia/Maryland area.
I loved it. I guess I did have a thing for wearing uniforms...:)
Hehehe! Love your story! Yes, there is NOTHING like a dude in uniform *wipes brow*. Whew!
I grew up in a small, southern town. My grandmother was such a HOOT! She went to ‘finishing school’ (basically to learn social graces and how to identify china patterns and silverware, LOL!) She was also taught elocution lessons. Words HAD to be ‘softened’ at the end. Such as ‘togethah’, ‘foevah’, etc. As a kid.......we used to take the p*ss out of her. But I must say....she was an incredibly strong woman and was the matriarch of our family when she was alive. Now our family is more fragmented. My how times have changed.
The young man on the left in picture 6 appears to be enjoying himself!
Yeah. I guess that is the cycle of things...my mother grew up in the Depression...I think a lot of women and men of that time were very strong.
We were more of a patriarchal family, and when my dad passed, the family grew apart.
Sigh. I sure do miss that man.
Hahaha, no kidding! That kid had a real grin on his face!
In the mid-twentieth century, Dayton was the port of entry for many Appalachians migrating from KY, TN, and VA looking for jobs as the coal mines were dwindling. After World War II, when factories such as General Motors were heavily recruiting, 7 million migrated north. The whites tended to settle in Ohio and Pittsburgh, while the blacks tended to settle in Detroit and Baltimore.
Did not know this.
Just as soon as you take back your southern cousins who have infested Ohio with their white trash ghettos.
Nope. Those are our rejects.
That’s funny, and yes, that’s small town life, and I miss it. I also miss when you are in TX (at least W. TX) and NM how people will pull onto the shoulder if you are driving faster than they are on country roads and let you pass them. It’s nice, they don’t think they have to make you drive slower just because they want to. It’s just nice. :)
Well, I think the story is silly, I was just commenting on how rude the general population here is. And there ARE some nice people. The most amazing thing to me when I first moved here was that some of the rudest men were the older ones. Of course, they are all from NY and NJ.
And don’t get me started on the drivers.... :)
My husband opens the car door for me. I can obviously open my own door, but I like that he does it. He was well brought up. :)