Posts Tagged: politeness

How to Say Hello in American

My mother is big on politeness. Recently, before a long trip with my girlfriend’s family, she wrote me a letter outlining the things I should remember to do: stand up straight, hold open doors, and rise when ladies approach the table. “I could go on and on,” she wrote, wrapping things up. “Just please reread the etiquette book I got for you in highschool.”

I did not reread the etiquette book. I trust my own sense of decorum, particularly while on vacation; I’m good at vacations. I’m also a thirty-one year old financially independent human who has lived several time zones away from my mother for over a [...]


The "Parental Anecdote" Rule of Columnizing

Even speaking as someone with 126 emails—oh Lord, 128 since I started writing this—marked as "important and unread" that I really do intend to answer as soon as possible, which is proving to be something of a struggle, and also sort of humiliating given that some of them date back to, like, January, this claim that people are digitally wasting our time with politeness is, as the publisher of Little Brown put it this morning, pretty much the day civilization died.

But here's the deal. For each member of your family that your column cites, it becomes doubly as dubious. (This tactic is a hallmark of columns [...]