I've been thinking a lot about this lately for some reason. I have three kids and because I do a lot of mindless serving when I'm home, they can be rude asshats.
Things that set me off:
1) Yelling from another room instead of coming to SEE you and talk (I do this a bit too though)... especially yelled requests for something or smarmy responses.
2) Not phrasing your request as a question, and not using please/thank you (we're too far north to have a yes m'am/sir habit ;-) "I want water" or "I need a spoon" is actually pretty rude.
3) Belching/farting/general rude behaviour at the table. I don't mind it much anywhere else, but god damnit, if you're sitting down with food, take a break from the potty humor.
I just spent the week with a pack of 8-10 year old boys so this has been on my mind a lot... how much where you are matters, how much whom you're addressing matters.
What are your thoughts on this? What are the deal breakers for you?
There's a right side to walk down the street? Other than "not in traffic"?
Emily Post would say that a man should walk on the traffic side of the sidewalk...I expect to stop mud rather than to stop a car, but I'm not sure.
I'm a fan of please and thank you, but I'm a stickler for table manners - chewing with your mouth open, elbows on the table...grrr. My kids can vouch for this since I'm correcting them EVERY meal. Sigh.
I also like kids to use some honorific with adults and get cranky when my friends correct my kids with "oh, just call me Joan" - I'm fine with "Ms. Joan" but I don't think a 12 year old is ready to be your friend.
I'm big on the please and thank you, although phrasing something as a question instead of a request or statement doesn't bother me so much (although it drives my mom crazy). So if they say something like "I'd like the fork, please" or "Please hand me that fork" instead of "May I have the fork, please," then I'm fine with it. But the please better be in there and there better be a Thank you when it is over. Also, common courtesy like holding open doors for people behind you, being generally helpful to those around them, or saying "excuse me" when you bump somebody or need to walk around them are very important to me.
I'm not as big a stickler for things like table manners, so long as they can exercise common courtesy (although I do enforce the no toilet humor at the table rule, chewing should be done with the mouth closed, and they should ask to be excused if they finish before everybody else) and I'm okay with them calling adults by their first name, so long as the adult is the one who makes the request. So I'll always introduce them to people as Mr. Whatever or Aunt So-and-so, but then if that adult says they should call them by just their first name, then that's okay with me.
And so far, it seems to be working--people will compliment me on my boys' good manners all the time. Although, compared to my sister's kids, they are barely functioning apes. My niece and nephew are the politest kids I've ever met in my life. They're both mischievous and mouthy and a bit rotten, but they are super polite about it.
This crew is always so thoughtful and wise, what a great discussion.
I am for calling anyone what they prefer, and if my children met you JM, you would definitely be Ms. JoeMama. But I would like to respectively state my reasons why I prefer just my first name. I have given it a LOT of thought over the decade plus that I have been teaching. The students call me by my first name, though we have a mix within the school. About 1/3 go by first name 2/3 by a Mr/Ms honorific. I know I'm not their friend, and they know I'm not their friend. If they don't respect you it's just as easy to say "Ms. Lastname can eat a bag of dicks." as "Firstname can eat a bag of dicks." I'm honored that they show me they respect me by heeding my suggestions and counsel, behaving appropriately in class, and maintaining a good working relationship. I think just because someone has reached age X does not guarantee them respect. I think anyone I come in contact with who is my generation or older would call me by my first name, and that does not imply friendship. Also, I have a co-worker who calls me Ms. Lastname and I can tell you she thinks very little of my lifestyle, values, or worth as a person. It's nasty and condescending when she does it, so a rose by any other name...
Again, whatever you would prefer to be called is great by me. I guess that tolerance needs to extend to if you insisted that your kids call me Ms. Lastname, I need to honor that as well. But I can just say that after so many years, I can tell the respect from the "respect" and it usually has nothing to do with how they get my attention. It's what happens after that.
Sorry, off my soapbox now! Back to your regularly scheduled fart jokes at the table and readjusting junk in public.
bap2 - I think I just have a thing about names.
I agree with you tha respect is more important than a title, and when I was teaching at the college level I told the students that I was fine with first names. I am also fine with my 15 year old using first names with the adults he works with when he is volunteering since they are effectively peers regardless of the age gap and they introduced themselves by first name, but I expect him to use an honorific with my peers and other family members.
I think my time in the military impressed me with a high regard for recognizing titles as markers of earned achievement - I would no more deny a Chief Petty Officer her title then I would an Admiral. I don't like it when doctors introduce themselves with their last name than then use my first name - I suspect they think they are putting me at ease when in fact it just makes me cranky. I also don't like it when people think that introducing themselves with only their first name means we are friends.
WOW - I sound 100 years old! I swear that most people don't find me particularly stuffy.
This is interesting, I never really thought about it, but we definately use titles and variations on how we address someone to imply certain things. Status (sometimes relative status as in I'm higher than you or vice versa), genetic connection (aunt/uncle), gender (Mr. vs. Ms.), intimacy, formality... all sorts of things. It makes me wonder how other languages reflect those things.
I really, REALLY don't like being called by anything other than my first name. I'm just super uncomfortable with it, for some reason.
That's really all I have to add to this.
Oh, and I occasionally realize that my children and I don't often use the word "please" when making a request. For some reason, I've never insisted on it. I don't tolerate (or use myself) a demanding tone or statement like "I want a drink," but if the tone is polite and requesting "can you get me the ___?" I don't even notice the lack of "please." I'm a horrible mother.
I'm with Ruth. I have taught at schools where it was the norm to use Dr. soandso. I never really WENT to one of those schools though, so it is uncomfortable to me. Sure if you call me Mrs. Mylastname or you're a jerk I'll tell you to call me Dr. McGlory13, but other wise my first name is fine.
I do know my students respect me and I am lucky in that, but the title matters to me because I freaking earned it, but not in day to day conversation. Basically, you have to demonstrate to me that you don't understand that I earned it before I pull it out on you.
Now, my son has occasionally called me Dr. Mama and I pretty much adore that. Also, I demand pretty exacting behavior from him on manners (only one child). Please, thank you, things phrased as requests, not shouting from the other room. I don't demand titles though.
I also detest being called anything other than my first name, however only very close friends and family are allowed to drop the -y at the end. Most of the kids in our homeschool group call adults "Miss Firstname" and "Mr. Firstname," so I've gotten kind of used to that, but I still don't prefer it. I'm really with bap on the name vs. respect perspective. Plus I really kind of hate my last name.
I realized when the Dragon was maybe four (he is seven now) that I'd put off teaching manners because I thought it was just too much to expect from an infant/toddler. Mostly he's pretty good about "please," "thank you," and stuff like that now, but holy crap, it took a long time and a ton of effort to turn it around. I did not make that mistake with Ducky (now three), who is miles ahead of where his brother was at that age. In fact, Ducky is the one who often says, in his little lisp, "Let's not do the potty talk, [Dragon]." (Which is not to say that he doesn't engage in potty talk himself ... just that the 7yo is never the one to call a halt to it.)
The deal breaker for me, though, is being interrupted. Oooooohhhhh that is a huge trigger for me. And people walking out of the room when I'm in the middle of saying something to them. Basically anything that signals you don't think my voice is important (whether you mean it like that or not) is going to get my ire up. I could put up with a LOT of potty talk if people would just stop fucking interrupting me.
And also? I've heard that in colonial days, the "proper" position when walking down the street was for the man to be closer to the stores and the woman to be closer to the street. The rationale I read was that it was better to get splattered by mud than to be the recipient of a giant hunk of chaw on your bustle.
I am a stickler for "please" and "thank you" with the bub, as well as for eye contact when delivering either "thank you" or "I'm sorry." You don't have to stick around for a prolonged conversation, but eye contact is part of politeness. I also ABHOR "I don't like this!" regarding food at the table. In our house you must try - but don't have to finish - what's on your plate. When asked if you'd like to eat more of something that you don't want to eat, the proper response chez nous is "I'm all set, thanks." When small heathens come to eat at our house and yell about not liking the food, I try to enforce this rule as well because "I don't like this!" drives me BONKERS. I know it runs up against the rule that some people have requiring plate-cleaning, but house rules, you know.
At the college where I teach I like to be called Professor Crab, and students usually stick to it, but apparently they always refer to instructors solely by last name among themselves so every once in a while someone slips up and just calls me "Crab." I was horrified when I first started getting called just by my last name and told people since I wasn't getting changed with them in the locker room they could try calling me Professor instead, but I've kind of grown amused by it over time. Now when I'm trying to get myself to do something I'd rather not do I'll address myself by last name only. It's like I'm getting yelled at by Coach. Only sometimes effective, but always funny.