Let’s take a break from my adventures in home maintenance, shall we?  There is something that has been on my mind quite a bit lately.  Our society has lost it’s mind when it comes to basic manners & etiquette.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not about to lecture anyone on how to set a table or how many times you should exchange thank you notes (although my bestie Blake & I did have an interesting conversation about this.  Apparently, it is proper etiquette to send a thank you for a thank you note. I can see this circling the drain for the rest of my life…).

However, I do think that there are a few basics that are quickly eroding from our daily lives and, having been brought up in the South where good manners are expected, I’m bothered by it.  The point of etiquette & manners is to make people feel comfortable & to show respect.  Since you’re here, I am going to assume that you’re glued to the edge of your seat waiting to here exactly what I’m talking about.  Here it goes:

  • Littering: I remember very clearly as a child taking a Field Trip with my first grade class, led by Mrs. Crocker.  We walked around the school yard & in the adjoining neighborhood, looking for evidence of Litterbugs.  Oh, the shame in wearing that Scarlet Letter.  Mrs. Crocker turned her nose up at any sign of these fiends.  I could feel the burn of the bright red L on my chest, dare I toss a Snickers wrapper carelessly on the ground.  Am I saying that you should shame your children into not littering? Yes ma’am, I certainly am.  It’s been highly effective for the last 33 years for me.  And as my Dad always says, if it aint broke…

Little Martin learns to hate Litter Bugs…

  • Holding Doors:  A few weeks ago as I was walking into a busy store, I passed a new Mom with a stroller, enormous baby bag, oversized designer (?) purse & shopping bag.  My first thought was how much I hate parents that feel it necessary to bring every creature comfort from home into a public space for their precious little one.  God forbid that baby not have access to his toys at all times.  The world would stop spinning.  I soften up a bit when I notice her struggling with all of that stuff and an automatic door that wasn’t working.  I’m sure she feels obligated for some reason to live her life like that.  And, while I don’t understand it, who am I to judge?  I held the door open for her to enter & walk past me.  The look on her face was pure shock.  You would have thought I had just paid it forward with a new Town & Country Mini-van or whatever overburdened mothers are driving these days.  So, I started paying more attention to this.  People my age and younger (so, basically very,very young people) seldom show this small act of kindness & good manners anymore.  Which makes me want to lobby Congress to include it in all public high school curriculum.  Can’t hold a door? No diploma.
  • Please & Thank You: Let’s go ahead & throw in Ma’am & Sir where appropriate.  I get a lot of feedback about how people don’t mind doing tasks for me that they don’t even really like because when I make a request, I usually say “Could you please…” and make a concerted effort to follow it up with a “Thank you, ma’am or sir…”.  It goes a long way.  Do yourself a favor & give it a try it.  I guarantee you’ll be shocked at how effective it is.
  • Hosting: You earn major cred with people if you say you love to entertain.  With that, there is a responsibility.  You have to know your audience & play to it.  If my besties are over for dinner, it is very casual.  I treat them like family.  They know where things are & they know that because we have been friends for so long that they are welcome to any food or drink in the house that they’d like.  So, after the first drink is poured or the the first plate made, it’s up to them to keep it going.  However, do you think you’re going to eat your entire meal face down in your Grindr app? No ma’am.  I’ll make the meal, I’ll mix your first cocktail, I’ll have music on & the TV off.  But, that iPhone better go in your pocket unless you want to share all your dirty secrets (pics) with the rest of us.

One of my more recent dinners for the besties…lasagna with homemade tomato sauce & pesto

  • Party Gifts: The last thing on my list, but certainly not the least important.  As I mentioned, besties for dinner is casual & I would hardly expect them to bring over a bottle of good vodka or gin (or bourbon or wine…you get the point…)each time.  But, if I have planned a party, made food for more than the five of us, cleaned my house more than obsessively, lit candles in each room &  tidied up the front yard, then please, take 15 minutes to stop by Green’s & get a bottle of Tito’s.  I don’t care if you’re broke, you can swing by & grab a can of mixed nuts to put out on the coffee table while we parlez.  And, if all else fails, let your gift be offering to help me clean up at the end of the night.  Will I be disappointed? No ma’am!

If ever in doubt, this is a great gift for your Southern Dandy…


One of my favorite gifts: high quality Maple syrup that I used to make salted maple chocolate chip cookies…