A Hellacious Belle’s Guide to the New South: Etiquette & Manners

-3It was tough growing up a Southern kid.  There were a lot of rules.

You had to address every adult as ma’am or sir.  Every time.  Even strangers.

If you just missed one little ma’am accidentally, or mumbled, or showed even the slightest bit of of surliness, the speed at which your mama’s hand smacked you upside your backside was dazzling.

When an adult entered the room, you stood up and stayed standing until the adult bid you to sit back down.

“Please,” and “thank you,” were the front and back of every sentence leaving your mouth.

You cleaned your plate at every meal.  Even if it meant eating something you hated.  Like boiled okra or Brussels sprouts. To not eat something was insulting to whomever had been kind enough to prepare that food for you.

You scampered ahead and held the door for anyone older than you and you lent a hand to anyone who was in need of help.

You said, “Excuse me,” if you needed to be excused.

You learned to treat people the way you yourself wanted to be treated.

I most likely whined about it as a child, but as an adult, I have nothing but gratitude to my parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles and neighbors who cared enough about me to insist that I practice courtesy, to respect others and their property, to respond first with kindness, to act with grace and graciousness.
 “Manners are a sensitive awareness of the feelings of others. If you have that awareness, you have good manners, no matter what fork you use.”

Emily Post


4 thoughts on “A Hellacious Belle’s Guide to the New South: Etiquette & Manners

  1. When we first moved to the South, we taught our children to say “sir” or “ma’am” and it’s still a bit hard for them to remember. They didn’t understand why, either.
    Makes me wish we had taught them since birth, but west coast just isn’t this politely respectful and neither of us ever grew up saying it either.

    Liked by 1 person

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