Elizabeth Gomez: Manners

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Manners are the threads that keep the fabric of society together. They are a reflection of an unspoken contract amongst all members of this planet. It is true, that “manners” aren’t the same in every corner of the world. For example, the Japanese find it to be a compliment when you slurp your noodles. In America, if you slurp your noodles, you’re asking to get stabbed in the eye with chopsticks.

Whatever the differences, every population has an agreed upon set of actions that reflect their civility. Our parents, our grandparents, our great great grandparents and all those other familial units before them have spent generations and a great deal of time to whip these rules into our head: Please pass the peas. It’s a pleasure to meet you. Even though I am most flattered by the gesture, I’d rather you not urinate in my face to increase your sexual pleasure, no thank you.

In every generation, we slowly watch the disappearance of some very simple manners. The members of the generation before us will kindly remind us of how we should use our manners: Remember to say thank you when someone gives you a present. No, dear, that’s a soup spoon, do not use it to stir your tea. Please use a tissue when you wipe your nose, not your sleeve.

Now, there are some rogue hooligans who refuse to abide by the social contracts. Why? I don’t know. To be cute? To be rebels? To be held in some kind of standard above the rest of society by being assholes? I do not know, it’s incredibly perplexing and makes me extremely stabby.

However, I think there are some rules of etiquette where we must remain firm and united:

  • Do not clip your nails in public. I respect your need to have beautifully manicured hands, but please wait until you get home or to a nail salon. It cannot be so urgent that you need to do it at your desk at work, on the bus, or next to me in a restaurant.

  • When in a really long line at Starbucks, move it along. Jesus, it’s early, we’re all in a rush and NONE of us have had any coffee because you can’t decide between a small or large coffee. JUST GET THE LARGE. There’s a whole other area where you can add all the crap your want in it and if you don’t drink it all, save it for tomorrow and have it on ice.

  • Change the goddamn toilet paper roll. LOOK FOR IT! You’re RIGHT THERE!!!! And so is the toilet paper (located under the sink or in a nearby cabinet) and the trash can to throw away the empty. A degree in neuroscience is not needed. Please just do it.

  • Don’t shake my hand immediately after blowing your nose, scratching any body part or when you’re sick. I’ll understand because I was walking toward you when you were picking your nose. Please do not make me embarrass you by saying that I know where you hands have been. A simple, “I’d shake your hand, but I’m sick,” will suffice.

  • Discipline your kids. Seriously, discipline your kids. Do not let them dig through the plants in our office and call it cute. I will slice your throat with the nearest paper clip and that will really fuck up your kid’s future.

  • Pick up your dog poo. You’re the one who thought having a dog was a good idea. Do not make others deal with their shit, LITERALLY. There are few things worse than than sinking down in some great dane’s pile of poo in your new leather roman sandals while feeling more poo ballooning around the bare sides of your feet.

  • Don’t burp in my ear. Please. Don’t. Not in my ear. Preferably, not at the dinner table, but really, honestly, not directly in my ear. Most definitely, not after you’ve eaten kimchee soup.

  • Pick up your condoms. I’m all for doing it in public. GO FOR IT! I’d love to catch you and creepily watch through the bushes, but don’t toss your used pecker poncho into my front yard. Throw it away. Show some semblance of being a human being. Maybe you should consider working with the above referenced poo offenders and recycle your Jimmy’s into poop bags. For the love of god, I don’t want to have to worry about some toddler picking up your baby baggie and putting it in her mouth.

  • No spitting and Farmer’s blows. Spitting is much more acceptable than a farmer’s blow admittedly. The latter is more disgusting. Trust me on this as I was the sad recipient of the matter while walking behind someone who did this on a very windy Chicago day.

  • Don’t call me Chinagirl. Seriously, don’t.


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