NEXT LETTER >
This week, Breakup Girl presents:
The Tacky Factor.
Remember my rant about manners (January 5 column)?
Here -- out of courtesy -- I'll spare you the trouble of clicking all the way
back and just repeat I said: by "manners" I don't mean complicated
fork systems and all the other stilted stuff they do in "Titanic." I
mean bottom-line respect, graciousness, civility. See, Hillary Clinton consults
Eleanor Roosevelt; Breakup Girl consults Miss
Manners (who, she hastens to add, is very much alive and well). Although
the popularity of yoga seems to have made New Yorkers a tad less snappish, I do
agree with the magnificent Miss M. that the decline of polite, dignified,
respectful behavior has contributed to the decline of society at large and of
romantic relationships - as well as to the rise of ickiness in breakups.
Reminds me of a passage from Patricia Wells' divine book Divine
Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood. When the daughter complains to her mom
that she "doesn't know how to love," her mom responds: "Good
God, child! ... Do you think any of us know how to love? ... Do you think
anybody would ever do anything if they waited until they knew how to
love? ... Forget love. Try good manners."
Don't take that "forget love" thing literally. Here's the point:
don't ask yourself: "What bad behavior will love -- or lack thereof --
excuse right now?" Ask yourself: "What good manners make this whole
mess a little easier for everyone right now?"
The instances of tackiness that appear below -- highlighted in blue -- speak
for themselves: listen to them.
Oh, and you third-party bystanders/confidants are not exempt: just for the
record, secretly tape-recording a lovelorn friend's phone conversations and
turning them over to a Washington attorney is tacky.
NEXT LETTER >