Fucking Good Manners by Simon Griffin
|Fucking Good Manners by Simon Griffin|
|Reviewer: Sue Magee|
|Summary: A light-hearted look at manners and how they've evolved, with a little something extra. Well, 475 of them, to be exact.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 192||Date: November 2019|
|Publisher: Icon Books|
Manners maketh man, they say. It certainly makes life easier if everybody abides by a set of conventions, some of which are ages old and other which have evolved over time. Manners are not about how much to tip or how you should behave if you get an invitation to Buckingham Palace, they have nothing to do with class or financial status: they're about getting the basics right before we try to deal with more difficult matters. Of course we all have more relaxed manners when we're with family and friends, but it's best if we learn to distinguish between our public and private lives and to act appropriately. Fucking Good Manners aims to help us on the way.
There's an emphasis on the basics such as saying 'please' and 'thank you' or holding doors open for complete strangers - and the results if you don't do this. Yes - we should all know to act this way, but sometimes it doesn't harm to be reminded. There's a quick romp through the various areas where manners can be a pitfall: public transport, driving, the cinema, shops, public toilets, queuing, neighbours and the community, the environment, the workplace, emails and social media. It could have turned into a list of the dickish things which people do - and let's be honest - there is no shortage of examples, but Simon Griffin has chosen wisely and there's a healthy addition of humour which might lessen your blushes as you realise exactly what you've been doing to offend people.
The book could have been preachy, but somehow isn't, even when you're being told firmly that you shouldn't do something, possibly because you suspect that the author has personal experience of doing the wrong thing, or the wrong thing being done. His exasperation is allowed to show through but he always clings to the idea of being kind rather than right.
You're wondering why I'm not mentioning that word, aren't you? It doesn't offend me (unlike the C word which I won't allow to be used in the house until after the first of December each year) and it isn't unknown for me to use it, but in this instance it frequently annoyed me simply because it's overused. It ceased to be shocking - you can't say something 475 times and have it retain its shock value - and became as wearing as any other word which is overused. Normally I would have suspected a limited vocabulary, but there was no evidence to support this. The use - and particularly the overuse, felt like attention seeking, an unnecessary extra which took something away from what was there.
Still fucking fummy though.
There's a difference between manners and etiquette and if you'd like to know more about the latter we can recommend The Bluffer's Guide to Etiquette (Bluffer's Guides) by William Hanson. We can also recommend Holy Sh*t: A brief history of swearing by Melissa Mohr.
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