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  #61 (permalink)  
Old October 13th, 2006, 10:10 PM
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Marty,

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While I do agree with wishing that more people were taught courtesy, I simply don't believe that it has anything to do with how one dresses. I have known very wealthy people whose manners were as elegant as their attire, but others who were not only rude, but felt that they were entitled to be rude to "lower class" people. I have also known folks with less money who were well mannered and others who were rude. Just no correlation.
Yes, and there are many factors that account for this.

>> 1. Our society offers the most financal mobility of any in history. Colleges, various government agencies, and other institutions now offer scholarships that make edication accessible to many people who would not have had an opportunity to go to college in other times or places, and our nation also offers extraordinary economic opportunities for people who do not go to college. As a result, many people who are now very rich were not raised in "upper class" families. Conversely, many people raised in affluent homes do not inherent that wealth and end up in much poorer situations.

>> 2. Sadly, there are many people -- even very rich people -- who are too busy generating their own income, or playing with their own "toys," to devote time to raising and teaching their children. In fact, many boarding schools of the rich are bastions of children whose parents want to be rid of the responsibility for their nurture, care, and feeding. There are also children born of drunks and drug addicts who are and best completely oblivious to their plight, and often abusive toward them. These problems know no economic boundaries. It may seem harsh, but Hebrews 12:8 ("Those who do not know parental discipline are not children, but bastards.") describes this situation exactly.

>> 3. There are also many people who do not manage their money very well, and end up in serious financial binds -- even people born in very affluent homes. Statistically, a disturbing percentage of the people who win big lottery jackpots end up no better off five years after the last pay-out than before their number came up because they squander it on things that don't endure. Invested sensibly, a nine figure jackpot should provide lifetime income for many generations.

So the fact that there are both well-mannered and ignorant adults in all economic classes is no real surprise.

Quote:
Originally Posted by You
I also do not assume that not having/wearing formal attire automatically means that those people are deliberately breaking the rules of etiquette. Yep, some are, but some are not. It also does not automatically make them "socially ignorant".
Back up a step. We have two groups who don't conform to established rules of social etiquette.

>> 1. There are those who don't know the rules, and thus are ignorant.

>> 2. There are those who know the rules but don't follow them, and thus are rude (if not arrogant).

What other group am I missing?

Quote:
Originally Posted by You
Intelligence, kindness, courtesy..these are all qualities that have nothing to do with money, social class or expensive clothing.
Yes, of course. Lack of material wealth clearly is not an excuse for not being polite -- that is, for following the rules of social etiquette!

Quote:
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... there is an old saying not to judge a book by its cover, so I try to give everyone the benefit of the doubt.
Yes, and the norms of social etiquette dictate no less. The rules of social etiquette obviously require that we be gracious to buffoons who turn out in jeans and "T" shirts on formal evenings, that we forgive tablemates who tell offensive jokes (yes, I have had this happen...), and even that we act kindly toward those whom we find totally repulsive in other ways. Nonetheless, the obligation to be gracious does not mean that we whould regard such behavior as accepbable.

Norm.
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  #62 (permalink)  
Old October 14th, 2006, 02:02 PM
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Norm,
I also feel that there is a third class of people who do not conform to one aspect of social etiquette and that is our favorite debate topic...dress code. This third group are people who can't conform due to lack of finances.
My young friend who recently went on a cruise is the perfect example. Her grandmother decided to treat the entire family to a cruise. Obviously, grandma does not have money problems. But, my friend does. She had nothing to say about what cruise line they went on or whether to opt for Lido dining instead of dining room on formal nights. I was able to lend her a few things to dress up her outfits, but she is about half my size! Even though she tried to conform, I'm sure that there were people who did not approve of her attire. She is a courteous and gracious young lady with good manners.
My point is that dress code adherence is merely one aspect of social etiquette. "Please" and "thank you" don't cost money. Upscale clothes do.

As a side point, the reason for her financial problems is that her dad lost his job and she has been supporting her family for quite some time. Grandma likes to "treat" but is clueless about day to day money needs. So my friend has taken on the burden of caring for her parents and siblings. Am I going to criticize her for not having fancy duds? No way, I am proud to call her a friend and believe that she deserves the utmost in courtesy and repect.
Oh, and she had come here to CM for advice and came away feeling that she should not even go. I talked her into going. She deserved to get something back for everything she has done for her family.
Marty
P.S. She had a ball!
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  #63 (permalink)  
Old October 14th, 2006, 04:14 PM
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Marty,

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I also feel that there is a third class of people who do not conform to one aspect of social etiquette and that is our favorite debate topic...dress code. This third group are people who can't conform due to lack of finances.[/you]

Let's see.

>> For gentlemen, a "cruise package" rental from a tuxedo shop is about $85 to $90. So is a tuxedo rental through one's cruise line.

>> For ladies, a formal cocktail dress costs about $50 or less -- but most ladies probably have a suitable dress that they wear to weddings and funerals anyway.

Realistically, anybody who can't afford proper attire can't afford to pay for the cruise, either.

Quote:
Originally Posted by You
My young friend who recently went on a cruise is the perfect example. Her grandmother decided to treat the entire family to a cruise. Obviously, grandma does not have money problems. But, my friend does. She had nothing to say about what cruise line they went on or whether to opt for Lido dining instead of dining room on formal nights.
Well, I'm not entirely convinced of the "no choice." A simple "gram, we're in tough times and don't have the necessary clothes to go on that line..." from the whole family probably would have changed things one way or another. Unfortunately, too many people put themsevles into binds because they go along with what they can't afford.

Quote:
Originally Posted by You
I was able to lend her a few things to dress up her outfits, but she is about half my size! Even though she tried to conform, I'm sure that there were people who did not approve of her attire.
I, for one, applaud her efforts under such difficult circumstances. Let's be clear that there's a big difference, at least in my mind, between a person who makes a sincere effort and a person who makes no effort at all or, even worse, knows what's expected but arrogantly refuses to conform.

Quote:
Originally Posted by You
As a side point, the reason for her financial problems is that her dad lost his job and she has been supporting her family for quite some time. Grandma likes to "treat" but is clueless about day to day money needs. So my friend has taken on the burden of caring for her parents and siblings.
In that case, the parent who is the child of the grandmother needs to have an honest tete-a-tete to "clue in" the clueless grandmother about the situation and the fact that her desire to treat is sincerely appreciated and the fact that other needs are more urgent.

[quote"You"]Am I going to criticize her for not having fancy duds?
Again, what does she wear to weddings and funerals and such? Jeans and "T" shirts???

Norm.
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  #64 (permalink)  
Old October 14th, 2006, 08:09 PM
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Norm,

People who come to my funeral (if there are any) can wear whatever they
wish. I am designating it casual with jeans and baseball caps permitted.

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  #65 (permalink)  
Old October 15th, 2006, 01:55 PM
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Paul B,
Loved your reply! I suspect that people who come to my funeral may be wearing celebration clothes. And, I still don't care.

Norm, basic etiquette rule: it is NOT appropriate to tell people how to deal with their families...ever.
And funeral attire?!?!? Other than basic black suit for gents, I can't imagine this being right for formal night, or vice versa. A ball gown or even cocktail dress would be considered a slap in the face to mourners.
But, hey, you live in your world and I live in mine.
Cheers,
Marty
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  #66 (permalink)  
Old October 15th, 2006, 02:41 PM
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Moved to Gripes:

Take care,
Mike
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