Tuesday, May 10, 2005

The Little Gentleman Speaks

In her comments here, Lisa says "My mother would kill me if I 'dropped a door' on somebody." I was commenting that, despite the greater surface brusqueness of New Englanders compared to Southerners, I've never met with anything but politeness while exiting a Dunkin Donuts. (Mmm . . . iced coffee . . .)

My Southern-born mother and Lisa's (New England-born?) mom must have been taking lessons from the same Parents' Playbook. My mother always taught my brother and me that when it comes to doors, the rule isn't "ladies first," it's "Whoever reaches the door first holds the door. Period." My brother and I took this to heart, which meant we often held doors not only for our own family, but for anyone else who happened to be entering or leaving a building at that moment. People always smiled especially nicely at my brother, who was often called "the little gentleman" of the family because he looked like an angel and had impeccable manners.

So it was with great pleasure that I often caught a look of fleeting shame and shock on the faces of those people ungracious enough to forget to say "thank you" to the Little Gentleman. Suddenly, out of that cute face would come the words (very loudly and with more than a little sarcasm), "YOU'RE WELCOME!!"

A few would mumble an embarrassed "thanks, kid" and a few looked annoyed, but they all knew they'd been caught. As the four-years-younger sister, I always looked on my brother with awe at those moments. Even now, sometimes, I still do.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

So I don't blow the whole "aura" thing here, let me start by saying, thank you Alison. And second, please tell me that wasn't really one of my nicknames (although I guess it would explain a lot of the "I just want to be your friend" stuff later (read: after the hormones hit") in life!

Yes to this day, I'll still say "you're welcome" audibly whether holding the door for others or for some other action that should elicit a courteous reaction but for whatever reason doesn't. (You think only conservatives can be self-righteous? Just that we liberals do it for the proper reasons!) But now there are at least 2 more reasons to do so. First, when its for an adult with child(ren) in tow, maybe at least the child will learn manners. Yes, parents, I know you may be busy/distracted but this is where you should make the conscious effort to be courteous in return. Among others (thank you teachers!), whom else would you want your kids learning from but you? Second, its now become a perverse pleasure to consiously see the reactions of the "scofflaws". And as we all know, perverse pleasures are some of the best ones!

PS to Alison, I suppose its OK to use in this anecdotal form but please, in the future, adult males hate/cringe at any nickname that involves the word "little"! Love ya sis.---Peace out yo',The Little Gentleman

11:34 AM  

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