A question of manners

There are too many lunatics out there. After narrowing down my choices to a list of three, the housemate hunt has come to an end. I think I’ve found a goodie, but let’s face it, there’s only so many times you can be disappointed by the abundant freaks and weirdos in the world. So I just closed my eyes and said ‘that one!’ Not such a delicate science after all.

Here’s one example of a would-be roomie:
The other night I was getting cosy with a book at 10:30, and just about to turn off the light. A chap by the name of ‘Chris’ rang asking about the room (strike #1, don’t ring a stranger after 9 at night). We got chatting about what he does, and he revealed he’s a masseur. The conversation went a bit like this:

Freak: So…do you like massages? (strike #2 Oh. Mi. God.)
Boo: Uh… of course…
Freak: Do you like shoulder massages?
Boo: Um….yeah
Freak: I do good foot massages as well.
Boo: ….
Freak: Do you like foot massages?
Boo: Um!
Freak: What size are your feet?

As I was half asleep at the time, I only remembered the finer details of the conversation today, when looking at shoe sizes on eBay. I also recall I couldn’t pin him down to a time to meet up, which struck me as a little strange at the time. And that my ‘crisp spinster’ act only spurred him on. When relating the tale to my Aunty today I suddenly realised: OH MY LORDY I THINK I WAS PRANKED. I think he was up for some late-night saucy chat with a sultry stranger!! Does my number start with 1300???!!! Is my name Stacie, Tracie or Maxine??


With the chosen housemate, I adapted Mr Boyle’s suggestion and went with the feel of the audition, looking for a good rapport. Let me describe my reasons for choosing this lass, none of them tangible.

She rides a motorbike! Her name has a hippie spelling, but she works very hard and has a corporate job in the city! She has nice manners – she was ten minutes late for our meeting, but texted ahead to tell me. She eats mostly veggies, but not for ethical reasons – she just likes fruit and veg! And she eats meat if it’s put in front of her! She has excellent eye contact, and doesn’t look all over the room when you talk to her!

She was also good on the phone, getting straight to the point, and introducing herself nicely. Do you know how many people are not able to conduct the simplest phone conversation with any finesse? (I mean aside from the ones seeking late-night diversions) And the eye contact problem? I mean, I know my eyes in the morning – like burn holes in old carpet – can be hard to handle, but at least they both look in the right direction! They are not that scary. Nice manners probably tipped this one over the line.

I have to say that good manners go a looooong way with me. (Not the superficial variety where people seize you and shout ‘thanks lovey!’ but refuse to shout any rounds despite the fact you’ve shouted them twice already) I mean the variety of manners that shows you’re aware of other people’s space and belongings, of when someone’s gone out of their way for you (in big ways and small), or when you know someone might be uncomfortable or shy and you make them feel at ease. Genuine courtesy shows that the inside is nice as well as the out.

I can’t specifically remember the parental unit drumming these ideas into my head, but they must have done something, because other people have quite different ideas about what is acceptable. I sometimes get completely worked up in the presence of poor etiquette, and start raving incoherently about slipping standards.

So when I spot manners ‘as they should be’ I notice instantly and award them ten points and a gold star. Gosh, I am turning into a crisp spinster, aren’t I.

7 thoughts on “A question of manners

  1. Ho!! Had the old man not thrown those very tomes away in the great Salvos purge of ’84, I might actually be able to verify that statement!!Hurrah for Streatfield, Ita Buttrose, Mrs Beeton and other non-feminist icons!!

  2. Your father threw them out???Migod. Did you know they are so rare that there are not even any copies available on Amazon???But hurrah for Samantha from Bewitched, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Scarlett O’Hara, all of whom are feminist icons!

  3. HELLO!!!!Those treasured tomes are at thıs moment ın my bookshelf, chez Hotham St. And if they are not still there when I return from inhospitable parts in January then I am coming after both of you.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s