November 4, 2011


As a recent (female) Yankee transplant to the south, I can’t speak of past southern manners, but I can speak of what I’ve seen and experienced since I’ve been here. It’s been nothing short of culture shock, in a wonderful way. I work in a retail store where it’s occasionally required of me to help customers out to their cars with heavy packages. I have no problem with this, but I have yet to seen a man let me take the heavier box, and if I try to, they won’t let me. My male co-workers won’t curse in front of me, or even discuss “inappropriate” subjects without first saying “excuse my language” or “pardon me for this”. I routinely have customers tell me not to worry about helping them with heavy packages, and that I should make the guys carry them. I’m called “ma’am”! (And occasionally, “darlin'”, which is also perfectly acceptable.) I’m treated like a lady wherever I go, not just another random customer. I rarely have to open a door for myself, and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been offered assistance to my car when my arms are full after grocery shopping, from both men and women alike.

And the women are no less polite and warm-hearted. They’re happy to have a quick chat or offer an opinion on something if asked by a random stranger. They’ll politely catch your attention if you’re dropped a penny or a piece of paper from your purse to return it. They seem to have a big, wide, authentic smile and a kind word for everyone. They say “Please” and “thank you”, and mean it. And most shockingly, those mothers who bring their young children with them into the stores actually discipline them to make them behave, and will even apologize to the employees if their kids are being unruly.

I’m amazed and grateful for a culture that teaches such manners. If this is a decline in southern manners, then I can only imagine what they were like at their peak.

Shh. Don’t tell anyone. Stories like that one from the NYT are plants, designed to discourage immigration from the North.

UPDATE: Reader Bruce Webster writes: “I’ve lived in Texas twice — two years in Houston (1979-81), and 18 months in Dallas (1998-99). The phenomenon is real. There is a cultural graciousness that permeates all ages. It doesn’t mean there aren’t jerks there (though I suspect a lot of them are transplants), but it does mean that there are genuine good manners everywhere. I think it’s the guns. :-) ..Bruce.”

ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Kevin Menard writes: “As a long term (30+) transplant, will you stop this? We got too many Californians and New Yorkers here already. Austin is damned near unlivable with them. Tell the truth: Lynchings! Religious Fanatics with guns! Mexican gangs! Asian gang wars! Deliverance is real. They shoot your pets, there are no dentists, and no one can read. Yankees are targeted for abuse and mistreatment; their cars get stolen and their children kidnapped. Californians are hunted in a 50 week long season. Fire ants, poisonous snakes, large hairy spiders, coyotes that eat your poodle, wild hogs that eat your cats! Lots of biting bugs…. Stay home where it’s safe!!!”

Comments are closed.
InstaPundit is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to