10 May 2010

Responding to Ill-Mannered Boors

The everyday kindnesses of the back roads
more than makes up for the acts of greed in the headlines.
~ Charles Kuralt

T
oday, on the commute in to work, I saw witnessed two gentlemen [out of thirty men, sigh] offer their seats on the train to ladies standing in the aisle. I wanted to thank them even though I was not one of the ladies needing a seat. It was a great way to start the day with exampled of manly courtesy ~ because the day ended less than stellar. A man who I thought was a friend ~ albeit a casual one ~ said something to me that went so beyond the bounds of decency that I could only ignore him in shocked silence.

Perhaps, dear reader, you are tired of reading my complaints about our insufferable and ill-mannered society. At the same time, something must be done about this epidemic of ill-mannered boorishness!

Now, some of you will ask me why I did not slap my so-called friend. Saying nothing was actually a step up for me. Sad to say, I am not perfect in this regard ~ actually I am not perfect in most regards! At times, when confronted with rude remarks spoken either in front of me or to me, I have responded in an equally most ill-bred manner. There is of course, a time and a place to fight fire with fire. But when one returns a rude remark to a boor with another rude remark, it is safe to say that he will only continue to respond in kind. Furthermore, he will usually take vicious delight in escalating the situation, until one’s esteem lies in shreds around one’s pretty little ankles and later, in the privacy of one’s boudoir, to tears. [This is so much worse for us INFPs/ENFPs.]

However, dear reader, you are correct ~ one cannot just let such rudeness continue unchecked and unaddressed. So what is a civilized person to do? I am beginning to believe that the obvious must be stated. “Please do not say such uncouth and disrespectful things to me. I find it degrading and hurtful. Thank you.” I need to practice saying this in the privacy of home, because I would much rather grit my teeth and call into question his upbringing. I can hear my Southern mother saying: “His mama didn’t raise him right!” And it is certainly possible she did not, or it could be that the son refused to listen.

Whether this ladylike retort will have any effect on this particular boor, I know not. But I am convinced that refusing to stoop to a boor’s level keeps up at least a modicum of decency and civility. As they say: “Fake it until you make it!” Continued civility can only eventually beget civility.

What do you think? How have you handled rude remarks made about you, or in front of you about other people?

Hope you have a beautiful [and genteel] rest of the week!

Oremus pro invicem,
~ Mikaela
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