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Are You a Fine Southern Gentleman?

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Why would you want to be a fine southern gentleman? The answer is simple. Manners. Although I lived in the Midwest, my father was a southerner. He taught me that a fine southern gentleman always nods, smiles, and extends a “hello” to anyone he passes on the street. What type of manners do you show when a stranger passes by you? Is it possible that certain areas of the country shine brighter in their manners over the rest? How can you benefit from extending a friendly greeting? Do you make an effort to say “please” and “thank you” throughout the day?

Sadly, strangers passing strangers without even a glimpse of eye contact, let alone a greeting, is evident in many public places. Airports are particularly rampant with this problem. The next time you are waiting for a plane, take a count of how many people are engrossed on their cell phone, laptop, or other electronic device with little or no awareness of the people around them. Or, count how many people you personally make eye contact with. The busier the airport, of course, the harder it is. A fine southern gentleman would at least extend a greeting to those sitting near him.

Do certain areas of the country fare better when it comes to greeting each other? My answer is “yes.” As a result of my experiences, my observation is that the South wins hands-down. While living in the South, I can’t remember anyone I personally greeted in a public setting who did not reciprocate with a smile or a nod. In fact, many of the true southerners (those born and raised in the South) spoke to me first!

So at this point, you may be thinking: Why make such a big deal over manners? The big deal is that you may be missing out on the following benefits:

  • opens the opportunity for meeting great people
  • when on a job interview manners are a definite “plus”
  • manners in traffic may prevent others from exhibiting road rage against you
  • manners can at times diffuse a person that is upset either in person or on the telephone
  • more social opportunities may open up to you
  • strangers may be more prone to help you if you are in need
  • helps smooth out business dealings
  • people might let you on an already crowded elevator!

In a world filled with fear, anxiety, and distrust, it would be nice if people could just acknowledge each other. Remember, it is all up to you. If you want a true slice of life, then nod, smile, and say “hello” to the people you pass by. Don’t be discouraged though if some do not return your greeting. They just might be shocked that a “fine southern gentleman” still exists in our modern world. Manners don’t have an expiration date.

If you like poetry, you might enjoy the poem A Fine Southern Gentleman.

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About dangime

  • dangime

    Glenn, I agree with your thoughts and have personally witnessed the other side of the coin. Your points are right on target.

  • dangime

    Diane, I am so glad you agree and enjoyed the article. Thanks for the read.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    I grew up in the MS Delta, and despite all my loathing of the racism that is part and parcel of Southern white culture – I’ve personally known many “Southern Gentlemen” who were quite racist – the goal of keeping oneself to the standard of the classic Southern Gentleman is indeed worthy.

    And this sounds silly, but when I’m at my second home in the Philippines, I dress in a dignified manner, I am courteous and generous to all regardless of social standing, and I try to be as kind and polite as I can possibly be. I really do try to be what I believe to be a Southern gentleman…and I know that my conduct reflects well on America as a whole.

    One thing that angers me is when I see other Americans there act rudely or dress sloppily, because just as my conduct reflects on America, so does their own.

  • Diann Phillips

    I really like this article. Since I am from the South and have lived in the Mid West and West I can truthfully say Southerns have the best manners.