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Sunday, December 14, 2008

Manners: refreshingly present at times, lacking in others.

I met my friend's new boyfriend for the first time the other day celebrating another friend's birthday. The following night, he came with my friend (obviously as her date) equipped with 4 bottles of wine to make a good impression. And, to top it off, he wrote a thank-you-for-having-me note within 24 hours. Not only is he Mr. Perfect for my dear friend. He is respectable, sociable, and is engaging. While writing a thank-you note is often rare among us college students and 20-somethings (ok I'll join the gang of 20 somethings come April), it makes one wonder when such niceties ceased to exist when given evidence that manners and grace evidently are still there. This is what my social circle's new addition wrote:

Your party was very fun for me. I enjoyed meeting your friends and the food was scrumptious. I was talking with ___ about how you and your friends are refreshingly more sophisticated than my friends. My friends tend to talk about video games, girls in an immature way, and only the near future i.e. later that week. I hope this is the beginning a worthwhile friendship between us all. Thanks again.

I was pleasantly surprised to receive this message and passed it on to some mutual friends, showing them what 'grace' means. Also there have been instances where had graciousness been introduced, situations would have gone more smoothly. Everyday occurrences such as splitting the dinner bill between 4+ people, organizing potlucks--and making it obvious but not too obvious, striving to be the best hostess and making everybody feel at home, including everyone in conversation, when to know when to change topics of conversation--can be quite challenging. I will include a few examples:
1. Dinner Bill: This has always been a challenge. During the summer, when most meals were shared between 9+ people--it was hard to keep track of who owed whom so splitting evenly is often the best choice even though it could mean Anne who only orders tomato salads subsidizes Mary's hamburger fetishes. Also, if Friend 1 owes Friend 3 dinner and Friend 3 owes Friend 2 dinner...it can become a tangled web. It thus has been become a rule of thumb that in groups of 3+ the bill is split.
2. Potlucks/Dinner Parties: When someone invites you to your home, it is an unwritten rule that unless you are very very close friends with the host/hostess, you usually bring something. Even if it is something as small as candy, or 2 buck chuck from Trader Joes--it is implicit that when someone invites you into their home for dinner, and cooks and cleans after you: you show your appreciation by bringing them a mere token. I have had friends seldom/never bring anything for whatever reason. In most cases however, friends bring wine. Wine is simple, can be less than 4 dollars, and complements food. Potlucks mean potlucks. Not everybody has to bring food, but offering to is at least respectful.
3. When there is an eerie silence, it usually means it is time to break it up, or to change the topic of conversation. Also, you can bullshit (TM) a topic. Last night for example, when someone asked about my pepper spray, I jokingly replied "Oh at least it is not chocolate spray! Chocolate spray can be very dangerous!" I then ran with my corny joke and explained the benefits of chocolate into a new inside joke. It can be hard to know when to stop...and can get you into trouble. Topic-wise, it is best to avoid politics.

This my first and possibly last attempt to write on manners. And my mother was quite the expert according to Nancy.


Anonymous Anonymous said:


December 14, 2008 8:45 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Christ, this is the biggest who-gives-a-damn I've seen in an ocean of them.

December 14, 2008 10:22 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

?????? indeed

December 14, 2008 10:22 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:


December 14, 2008 10:31 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

It is so bogus for this blog to be editing disagreeing, non-vulgarity comments.

You should post a policy on what you're editing out, because it's very vague and random.

December 14, 2008 12:04 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

The two friends that I miss most are "Please" and "Thank You. It was always a pleasure to hear from both of them.

December 14, 2008 2:13 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Mayor Sam,

Are you joking? Is this really a post on your venerated blog? Has it really come down to this?

There is so much fodder out there in LA politics. Speculation on Rep. Becerra's successor and the backroom deals being negotiated.

The race to succeed Jack "My Head's So Far Up Antonio's Behind My Forehead's Brown" Weiss. Will Paul "Former Assemblyman" Koretz be able to break the Sac'to jinx? Will Robin "Candidate from Central Casting" Ritter-Simon prevail? What about Adeena "The Westside Whale" Bleich?

Instead, this drivel on manners. C'mon!

December 15, 2008 9:29 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:


Please...this belongs in Emily Post or Miss Manners columns!

December 15, 2008 11:23 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

You all should skip it if it bores you so much. Move on to the next blog. God, what a bunch of dorks.

I tend to believe the same 1 or 2 posters posted from 8:45 - noon and then again when he woke up this morning.

M Lazar, I found your post to be refreshing because I appreciate good manners. You can only imagine that the bitching bozos here had no idea they were supposed to take a hostess gift to someone's home. That, or they don't get invited out much. Either scenario is a possibility.

December 16, 2008 2:20 AM  

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