The collapse of formality

Examples of social decline, especially in the UK

Re: The collapse of formality

Postby Dan » 09 Jun 2013, 16:18

I haven't read all of the posts, but I find formality cringingly old fashioned. That said it does have its place, it is, for example, important to be dressed smart and have a formal manner at a job interview. That said, in the past I sense that I have intimidated some employers by being too smart.

The key is context, and individuality. As long as I am treated politely and without malice I'm content. If im taking a trip to the shop i get more vexed with the self-service checkout machines than an operator calling me mate, darling or love etc. Standing on ceremony is what some people seem to prefer, but its really just a way of extending the inevitable.
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Re: The collapse of formality

Postby Elliott » 18 Jun 2013, 15:15

Don't worry, these guys are going to fix everything!

Image
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Re: The collapse of formality

Postby Yessica » 16 Jul 2013, 09:36

Grant wrote:Gavin,
You perform a sterling role in administering this excellent site but must be careful not to sound curmudgeonly in your general assessment of servers/waiters/assistants under thirty. Some employ respect, courtesy and efficient service, usually as a result of good training. Buying my wife a birthday present today I encountered one such assistant who was patient, polite, well-spoken and obviously under thirty.


I used to wait tables as a teenager. Actually I called the customers ladies and gentlemen and got called "sweetheart", "my kid", "my girl", "little sister" and so on by them in retrun... some 60 years and older.
I did not mind that much especially since some were very friendly and I am sure they ment no offense.

Several of my brothers (none of them is of the boy-ish type) have told me that when they were draftees and wore the uniform say on a train old people would approach them and say something along the lines of "Hey, my boy? How is it going"? or "good boy" and sometimes even give them a pat on their backs.

Now that I am a mother I often have people approaching me and saying something like "Oh, my girl, what a little darling-baby you have".

I often wonder how old one needs to be before old people stop treating one like this.

I do not mind it that much. Actually I think life might be a little cold without it.... but I think it might be a little to much.

I am no girl, I am a grown-up women. Old people take notice!

The women we hired to help me with the cleaning sometimes started calling me by my firstname. She is much older. I actually do not like this because I think we are not that close... but I do not want to offend her.

Sometimes there is a reason to hope the future might be in the good hands of some. We've got to continue pointing out those instances where standards are not met but must be careful not to let blemishes mar our overall view.


Yes, of course there is that hope.
May be the problem even is we are treated like eternal children.

There also is something completely different that annoys me about the collapse of fomality. But I am not sure if I am not only being snobby.
I totally dislike when people wear cheap polyester stuff. It makes them look... well... cheap. It should be none of my business actually. I do not even know why I do mind... most likely because it gives the persons those polyester clad people interact with the feeling that they do not count enough to dress decent for them.
I do however try not to notice because I think some people might just not feel the same way about polyester I do.
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Re: The collapse of formality

Postby Yessica » 16 Jul 2013, 09:57

Oh... and just a story I thought about. A friend of my parents was on a first name basis with the women who did some of the cleaning for the family. He thought of it as a not so close realtionship after all she came there only once a week and worked for a few hours.

Now his birthday came and he invited lots of friends and family... but not that women... and she was heartbroken. She was reduced to tears. After all she was on a first name basis with him. How could he not invite her?

Well, he ended up telling her she could still come and inviting her on all the birthdays to come.

The dangers of not enough formality.
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Re: The collapse of formality

Postby Elliott » 16 Jul 2013, 15:27

That's a good story, Yessica, and it makes an interesting point. I can easily see what you're getting at.

As for being called "boy" or "girl" by older people, it doesn't bother me in the slightest. It's just a term of affection.

I do agree with you about people dressing cheap. I don't care about appearances much, except when they denote a lack of commitment to civilisation. And tracksuits do that!
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Re: The collapse of formality

Postby Yessica » 16 Jul 2013, 20:42

Thanks for the answer, Elliott!

The story by the way is true not a metaphor or something like this. Not sure if I was able to bring this across.

I know that old people mean no offence when they call a young person boy or girl. I do like it at times. It gives you a warm and fuzzy feeling... that we are all one family (and we as a young person are the kid of that family). The problem with that: it just is not true, we are not.

If an old person calls me girl, how would they know if they even like me? How can they know if I am of their kind? They do not know me. If they get to know me they might dislike me.
It can be dangerous to my mind because it gives one the idea that there is an emotional relationship which just is not there. They will not help me if I get into trouble, I will not help them. Sad, but true.

And I do not get why it was okay for an old person to call me girl, but not okay for me to call her honey. I would be happy if you would help me understand.

As for the polyester. I am not authority in questions of style. As most people that know me would attest I am an ill-dressed person. So I hope that nobody takes offence. My opinion on clothing does not count anyway.
Hard to say why exactly I do dislike it. I just mentioned it because I was curious if other people feel like this too.
For some crazy reason I think that a cheap white polyester shirt is far less civilized than a polyester tracking suit. Why? Well because the white shirt pretends to be civilized... but it is not a real white shirt. Just like the person who pretends to hold a PhD and you find out he has bought it at some university in Ghana. You are angry at this person but not for not holding a PhD.
When traditional white shirts came into fashion polyester just did not exist. So it is the wrong material. That is how I rationalize it.
The truth it: I just do not like polyester shirts and it might be just me snobbyness and the fact that I was brought up to believe that they looked cheap. I totally know that I might not be rational here. So if I meet a polyester clad person I try not to notice or sometimes even try to give him/her some extra nice treatment in order to make up for my prejudices...
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Re: The collapse of formality

Postby Gavin » 03 Dec 2013, 21:44

I am currently working in a town in the south of England, staying in hotels. I usually love staying hotels, except for the fact that one is usually exposed to a good many of the general public, thus inevitably to vulgarity.

Currently I am in a bar/restaurant of a hotel/pub. It is staffed by four young women and young one man, who has long spikes inserted through his earlobes. He addressed me variously as "mate", "pal" and "fella" during one order. The staff employ a manner of behaviour whereby they are attentive to customers during an order and then immediately revert to larking around with each other and gossiping loudly - in front of that same customer. They are the loudest people here, to the point of it being distracting. The young man with the horrible ear piercings flirts with the young women, the women young soak it up and flirt with nearby mirrors.

By stark contrast, Poles, when I experience them (as I very often do in the hotel sector), are calm and highly formal and professional - to the point of being icy, remote and robot-like. How pleasant it is to sometimes experience the happy medium: friendly professionalism - but how rare!
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Re: The collapse of formality

Postby Vincent » 04 Dec 2013, 12:16

Yes, have you seen ...
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Re: The collapse of formality

Postby Gavin » 04 Dec 2013, 19:48

Often the vulgar are too thick-skinned to pick up on such hints, that's the problem - but yes, worth doing anyway. It is quite incredible what a large proportion of the British public are common - and how much money they have to spend! They can be encountered anywhere now really - and will be, if you so much as set foot in public, from first class hotels to third class (and I have stayed at all, in several countries). Very, very few people have any sense at all of their personal space any more - when they enter a public room, the whole room is theirs, strangers do not exist for them. They will shout from one end of it to the other, swear if they like, regardless of who is there.

Most people dress in shapeless slovenly sports clothing, regardless of whether they play sports. In most places the music on the radio is trash (to cater for these people) and the public television is tuned to this. Whenever possible I surreptitiously turn it down or over. I'm not sure that I'd get away with just turning it off, as the modern vulgarian needs his or her trash TV like a baby needs a rattle.
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Re: The collapse of formality

Postby Andrea » 06 Dec 2013, 20:28

Elliott wrote:Don't worry, these guys are going to fix everything!

Image


I find it extremely vexing that these chaps are thus attired. No neckties or cravats! Might as well be in tracksuits and trainers :(
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Re: The collapse of formality

Postby Nathan » 10 Dec 2013, 19:45

havin fun @ mandelas memorial lol

Image
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Re: The collapse of formality

Postby Mike » 10 Dec 2013, 22:06

My goodness, can you imagine the reaction of the Twitterati if that had been "Dubya", or another conservative figure? The thundering denunciations would reverberate for weeks. "Such disrespect!" "Not fit to lick the shoes of a figure like Mandela!" "Shows his true contempt for Mandela!" Etc., etc.
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Re: The collapse of formality

Postby Nathan » 10 Dec 2013, 22:44

To be fair though, it does look to have been the Danish premier in the middle who had the idea in the first place. I know nothing about her or her political stance, though I suppose it is a fairly easy guess. Personally, I think David Cameron comes out looking worst for leaning over to gatecrash the picture - can you imagine Margaret Thatcher being so desperate to be seen as one of the gang?
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Re: The collapse of formality

Postby Elliott » 11 Dec 2013, 00:14

Apart from anything else, doesn't it just show how shallow and amateurish our modern politicians are? I don't just mean that they are unprofessional, I mean that they actually don't know right from wrong. They seem to have no innate sense of decency.

And if it sounds like I'm exaggerating... can you imagine being at a funeral and seeing three people taking a selfie, complete with gormless smiling? What would you think of such people if you did?
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Re: The collapse of formality

Postby Elliott » 11 Dec 2013, 21:44

A/the left-wing perspective on SelfieGate:
Image

If it doesn't show, it's a comparison between the grinning of David Cameron, Danish PM and Obama at the Mandela funeral, with the stoney-faced composure of David Cameron, Sam Cameron and George Osborne at Thatcher's funeral. The implication is that "Tory scum" take Thatcher seriously, but not Mandela.
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