THE CASE FOR NICE OVER NASTY
A recent Miss Manners column — you DO follow Miss Manners, don’t you? — featured her response to a Gentle Reader who had been called out for being, well, too polite. This was because Gentle Reader delivered a cupcake with an apology for a minor misdeed.
If only I had a nickel for every cupcake apology/thankyou/etc I have delivered over the years. Not to mention the yellow tulips . . .
But Gentle Reader writes that he or she had been accused of etiquette that was “merely performative.” (Which, Miss Manners notes, is indeed what being polite is all about.)
We should be worried, gentle readers.
I yearn for a return to politeness. Courtesy. Peformative etiquette. The right to deliver cupcakes when you need to apologize.
Considering the contentious times we live in, what if a hostile, angry anti-etiquette movement emerges? Protesters showing up at every sickroom door, accusing well-wishers of showing off by bringing cards or bouquets. Mass-produced Stand Up for Rudeness! signs.
They’re probably already at work. Don’t Be Glad, Be Mad! (I can think of a lot of others, mostly too impolite to print.)
The anti-etiquette folks believe our actions “should reflect our true feelings, however offensive they may be.” Or something like that. The bottom line is: courteous people are making the discourteous people mad.
We are in deep trouble, folks. Some true feelings really might need re-thinking. I’m particularly worried about ‘Honest Nastiness’ — protest posters for which are probably already in mass production.
My own true feelings are usually “Geez, I am really, really sorry for that stupid whatever;” nasty hasn’t ever worked for me. But what if the Honest Nastiness true believers organize? And join forces with random anti-cupcake people?
The inevitable next step? Those are the same folks who support open carry.
Which brings us to scenes of little old ladies (me, for example) delivering cupcakes to innocently wronged friends only to be confronted by crowds waving Pro-Rudeness signs — and packing heat.
This is going to make it hard to say I’m sorry.
Considering how often I mess up, buy cupcakes and apologize, and how nervous I get in the presence of firearms, I’m in the deepest trouble of all.
Please consider joining me in the Return to Gentleness Movement. Unless the idea is offensive to you. In which case . .
I apologize. Could I bring you a cupcake?