Where is Miss Manners?#MondayMusings

“Leave something in your plate ” we were advised while growing up .”For Miss Manners”.

Similarly we were advised to give up a chair for an older person. We were encouraged to help someone carry a heavy load and wait your turn patiently in a queue.


We girls had it easy with Miss Manners. The Rules may have been restrictive :

  • talk in polite whispers
  • cross your legs at the ankles when you sit
  • keep your elbows off the table when you eat

But it was harder for the boys-

  • they had to stand when a lady entered the room
  • hold the door open for her
  • pick her up on a date and even drop her all the way to her front door especially late at night
  • pick up the tab when you invited a girl out!


We were told that we should never ask a lady her age and a person his wage .

Miss Manners considered it rude to speak out of turn and ask personal questions about one’s weight , age and salary.

According to Miss Manners a guest had an obligation too! He should be polite and talk to all present. He shouldn’t criticise any food on the table and worse still ask for something that is not served.

Equally as a gentleman, you were expected to make sure that no lady at the ball remained a wall flower just as it was obligatory for a lady not to refuse a dance.

Miss Manners expected ladies to talk in whispers, sit with her legs crossed at the ankles and not use vulgar language or whistle.

And Miss Manners existed in the Indian context too. It was considered rude to start eating until everyone at the table was served.

Wasting food was a crime.

One had to take off one’s footwear while entering a home and the first thing we had to do was wash one’s hands and feet.

All these dos and don’ts of acceptable behaviour were considered signs of a well brought up person. As children we often found them anachronistic but as I grow older, I begin to appreciate the need for etiquette to guide social behaviour.

When I see the

  • casual way in which people talk these days,
  • calling their Boss by the first name,
  • not holding the door for anyone to allow them to pass,
  • staring blankly when you see someone struggle with a heavy bag
  • pushing their way through a queue
  • talking with their mouths full

it makes me wonder where Miss Manners has gone.

Do you wonder too?

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These are the thoughts I’m sharing with Corinne of Everydaygyaan at #MondayMusings.

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A granny who always sees the humour in life and tries to do things differently. When others make cupcakes, this granny makes banana fritters. When she’s not busy chasing her grandchildren who love making her run around, she indulges in her passions of reading, writing, meeting friends and watching movies. And somewhere between all this she enjoys travelling and cooking!

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21 Responses

  1. Amrita says:

    Rudeness ,unkind behaviour not using golden words and forgetting to be grateful have become more acceptable .Less people even know what manners mean .Wonderful post .Miss manners is just around but she knows it’s an inside job .
    Amrita recently posted…Monday MommyMoments :How to get your child to finish her homeworkMy Profile

    • Bellybytes says:

      Thanks Amrita for stopping by . And as you say, it is an inside job but will it be rude to point out good manners to a person who obviously doesn’t know what they are?

  2. Akshata says:

    I am someone from the old school of thought- etiquette matters to me a lot. The points you mentioned about people these days being carefree to an extent that the ideals are lost makes me sad too.

  3. haha you just said it! I still my mentor with a Ma’am before her first name. I am not very fond of calling someone senior with their first name. Love the post in the way you pointed out how rules differ for boys and girls. Sadly true in a way!

  4. Shilpa Gupte says:

    So true, Sunita. As annoying as Miss Manners feels at times (esp. during one’s childhood) she is the one who assures we are well-turned out individuals, with an etiquette that can often work in our favour!
    Shilpa Gupte recently posted…Ganpati Bappa Morya!My Profile

  5. Miss Manners, she really is absconding! Do I dare say, that my generation shooed it away. Our apathy and disgust towards her made her run away probably…..
    Missing her already!
    -Anagha from Team Mocktailmommies

  6. anupriya says:

    I find it so hard to teach about Miss manners to my kids because everyone else around is just not following the same protocol. yes she is disappearing somewhere. I wonder what our parents think about her existence because they had an even more strict relationship with her.

    • Bellybytes says:

      I’m sure our parents are most disappointed. Having said this, I must say that I do find some children with exceptional manners. It is the parents who have to inculcate such values in their children. SO don’t give up!

  7. Alpana Deo says:

    Miss.Manners is still there just that people don’t see her. When someone takes Miss.manners along with them, they are called old school. And that sad.


  8. I see it as a perspective…Who drafted all these rules? Man himself! so what is right for some one need not be right to others! Point of view might me different..Some might feel being formal uncomfortable and others might feel the absence of that element uncomfortable…! I feel opinions differ and every one should respect each others opinions!
    Btw i loved the way u documented your views!
    PS: My views are not intended to be an argument they are just another commoner’s views 🙂

    • Bellybytes says:

      Of course I appreciate your views. And I completely agree with you that manners are man made and not ordained by God. Respectful behaviour will automatically mean good manners.

  9. Ruchi Verma says:

    hahahaha hohoho u nailed this post ..just loved it from start till end

  10. Yes, I do too! But then I am told that times and changed and so should I 🙂
    Manners never hurt anyone, do they so I continue with mine.
    Glad you wrote this post, Sunitaji. Really nice.

  11. Disha says:

    I guess on seeing today’s world, Miss Manners has resigned. The way we move around & talk at the speed of light might be a major reason for this. It our responsibilty to make the next generation learn from our mistakes. Wonderful thoughts!

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