Thursday, July 23, 2015


According to a recent publication by Paul Theroux on 31rules for international travel, Australia doesn't come out too well!

If one looks at Rule Number 8, it comes as a slight shock to read:  "The Australian Book of Etiquette is a very slim volume".

While the publication focusses on 31 rules, there are three main areas that are seen to have declined over recent years and those of us who live in this Great South Land could offer even more examples.  It is a great pity these days good manners aren't seen to be important or at the very least taught at primary school level.  It all comes back to lack of respect - lack of respect for and to others, and lack of respect to and for oneself.

Take for instance - people travelling on public transport not offering their seats to pregnant women or the elderly.  Their attitude appears to be - I bought a ticket therefore I have the right to a seat regardless of other people's needs that are greater than mine.  

The next item that offends many of us - whether we be residents here in Australia or visitors, is the trend to use cutlery incorrectly.   Don't people learn how to use a knife and fork together?   Many Australians have adopted the American habit of eating all food with a fork used like a spoon.   Of course then there are those people who don't use a knife or fork, but use fingers.  Not only for finger food but for any solid food that is served - for instance - leaf salads, chops, peas (yes, that's been seen many times), asparagus, even finger tips of rice.

The third item which is apparent in today's society is the lack of good manners when it comes to a man opening a door for a woman.  Too many men expect the woman to open the door for them and then they walk straight in front of her through the door not caring to see that the door doesn't slam back into her.  On the other hand, too many women who demand to be seen as "equals" (read: better than) see good manners from a man as being "weak" and discriminatory and either abuse or glower at him.

We won't get onto the subject of equal pay here, but quite honestly, good manners don't cost a cent, and yet we seem to have lost the ability not only to live express good manners, but to understand what good manners are.

As Tom Elliott (Drive time host on 3AW) says:  In the areas of education, workforce participation and pay, gender equality is undoubtedly a good thing.  But must it come at the expense of social etiquette?

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