Ain’t Got No Couth

Couth: showing or having good manners or sophistication; smooth.

What has happened to Couth? Has individual narcissism made it an extinct personal value?

I have evidence that for some travelers, in particular, they ain’t got none. Here’s proof…

IMG_1745 2The woman sitting in the seat directly in front of mine on a recent flight, threw her hair over the back of her seat. The wad of hair was now hanging all the way down to my tray. If people weren’t staring at me, I would have slammed her brown mane in my tray. Thankfully we were on approach so I only dealt with that mess for 5 minutes. She had no couth.

There is other evidence of no couth:

  • Talking on the phone so loud that everyone looks up
  • Not putting trash in the bin and throwing it on the ground
  • Snapping gum or blowing bubbles insensately
  • Talking with no filter and thinking people want to hear it
  • Not listening and only wanting to tell your story
  • Interrupting
  • Humming or singing (and you’re not with a choir)
  • Road rage, following too close, and cutting people off
  • Dirty fingernails and nose hair (ears too)
  • Not taking responsibility
  • Not realizing there are consequences to every decision
  • Thinking something is going to change without action
  • Drama king or queen aka lack of maturity
  • Not saying please, thank you and other niceties when appropriate

Here’s how to have dining couth:

  • Remember ‘wet right’ and ‘dry left’ — Eat what’s on your left. Drink what’s on your right.  The bread plate is on your left and the beverage glasses are on your right.  Water glasses are generally the largest glasses if there is more than one glass.  Put the glass back where it was initially placed.
  • Napkin goes on your lap promptly upon seating.  No shirt tuck-ins.  It should just cover your lap… it’s not a bib!
  • Chew with your mouth closed and do not talk with food in your mouth.  Yes, in the year 2013, we still have a problem with men chewing with their mouths wide open.  If you have something to say, refrain from filling your mouth the moment before.  In order to recover if expected to speak, only put a single bite in your mouth at a time.
  • Bring your food to your face, not your face to your food.  You shouldn’t be leaning over your food, shoveling it into your mouth with a distance traveled of only 6 inches.
  • When you are finished with your meal, think of your plate as a clock face and place the knife and fork together diagonally at 10-4. The fork below the knife, tines up and sharp edge of the knife facing the fork.

Let’s work to bring back couth.  But where do we start?  I believe it’s with ourselves and our family.

Look forward to hearing from you.  Marsha


Marsha Petrie Sue, MBA

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