A Kindler Gentler Nation It Seems

Is it me or are people, the youth in particular, just nicer these days?  It seems like it should be the opposite.  Teens and 20-somethings raised connected to computers, iPhones, and iPods, with seemingly little sense of history, class, and culture.  And what culture they do have, is comprised of such flimsy substance that it can hardly quantify as substance.  The reality television, the sexualization of the Brittany Spears’, Christina Aguileras, the P-fucking-Dittys.  It is an apparent wasteland.

Yet, what I have come to find, especially within the last few years, is how courteous they have become towards someone like myself.  For example:

1) “Sir“.  Now how incredible is that?  I keep running into this word when facing one of these adolescents or young adults.  Isn’t that amazing?  Pull into a drive-through for a milkshake…rent a movie from Blockbuster…grab a coffee from Starbucks…am served my meal in a restaurant…and with increasing regularity I am met with, “Here you are, sir.”  Or, “Can I get you anything else, sir?”  Now this never, and I mean NEVER happened to me years ago.  They must be picking up this new etiquette off some website or something.  Or maybe it’s some shared trend started on Facebook, or perhaps a new application on iPhone.  Whatever it is, it really is impressive.  America’s youth?  There on the rise suckers!

2) No longer asking to see my I.D. when I purchase alcohol.  God bless this new trend as well.  And obviously this includes people who are out of their teen years.  Still a possible product of the Spears generation, but really even blurring the line from those years and older.  Guys in particular…you know how it can feel a bit emasculating when asked to see your I.D. by some clerk in a liquor store.  It can make you feel like less of a man.  Like some perpetual boy wonder who even though chronologically has made the leap to manhood, is still questioned by Captain Liquor License if we in fact do have hair residing on our testicles.  If in fact we’ve not only seen a woman naked but could label the parts accurately on a diagram.  Now what is amazing to me, is that these vendors, clerks, what have you, have seemed to pick up on how insensitive these lines of questioning can be, and no longer are putting us through such…well at times offensive lines of questioning.  They recognize my manhood, can really infer the amount of notches on my bedposts, and with respect given to a returning Marine from combat, he gives me that, “Here’s your beer, sir” with nothing less than an apparent show of pride and appreciation.

#3 Young girls no longer “eye-fucking me“.  Sorry for the crude language, but I don’t know how better to describe it.  This one could be a viewed by some as a negative sort of trend, but I don’t think so.  Girls used to be more obvious with their interests, affections, and admirations.  The long stares, the sly smiles.  All great ultimately, but come on.  You have to get with the times.  Who are you if you don’t like a challenge?  They now seem to think it’s better to really make you work for it by pretending…oh these actresses…that they are not totally interested.  I for one am on to it and I actually appreciate their new game.  And really, to be honest, a large part of this trend seems to be based in common courtesy. Cause staring generally is rude behavior, right, and they now know that.  Good job girls.

#4 And speaking of girls…well ladies I guess would be more appropriate.  I have noticed that perhaps the good manners of the youngsters may be rubbing off on them as well.  Older women used to be this whole walled-off different breed of ‘thing’ years back. You know what I mean.  Polite, but kind of indifferent to us young men as a whole.  Of course there were those occasional alcohol-ridden mother’s of friends who gave you that little extra attention or underscored a strange tone when admiring how well we have all grown up.  But for the most part we were treated dismissively as the little hellions that we were.  And what now?  I know I am still the same person.  But I tell you, these type of women who once found me largely invisible are now engaging me.  And not just the drunk ones.  Perhaps it’s due to my higher education.  Perhaps that lends a certain amount of credibility or respect, but it’s interesting.  And to be honest, it really is appreciated.  No one likes to be ignored.

Well these were just my observations as of late.  Perhaps you all have been picking up on the same sort thing.  Honestly, I don’t know how you couldn’t really.  Anyways, I just had a big lunch and am feeling sleepy so may head down for an afternoon nap.  But a final word… for all the cynicism out there regarding the goodness and character of people, perhaps for Americans in general, I for one love the trend that I am seeing.  It is very encouraging.


About this entry