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Modernity Equals Ill-Mannered?

I have the good fortune to often avoid people with horrible manners, but I am often directly adjacent to bad etiquette so I accumulate several second-hand stories.  The source of so many of these stories was from my sister’s last ex-boyfriend, a musclebound young man with little maturity and a tidy package of body image issues.  Unfortunately for all involved, they ended up going out together for over three years–their freshman year in college right up until they graduated, at which point she finally cut him loose.

My family is very Texan when it comes to ideas of hospitality and etiquette–we try to be as egalitarian and courteous as possible, and this includes everything from general propriety to simple manners such as holding doors open and the like.  On the other hand, he comes from a Floridian family that is both a bit snobbish and boorish at the same time; I had only brief contact with them, but my sister confirmed the general sleaziness and standoffishness of their attitudes.  I often heard stories from my sister of how he would never support her at any events (namely, volleyball games; she was a star in her division and he would prefer to go work out and stroke his ego rather than attend any of the games occurring right on campus). Even when he expressly asked and confirmed his attendance before, he would most often back out the day of.

We invited him to stay with us for extended periods (about a month at a time) during the breaks between their semesters, and pretty much everyone in our family agreed that, while he was high-maintenance enough to not actively destroy the house, none of us particularly appreciated his company and our eating habits were bent constantly to suit his needs.  Worse still, we would often eat as a family, and he would go to cook his own food at a later time (a feat not performed as of yet by any other house guest; we cook pretty nice, big dinners and guests are prone to asking after leftovers).  It seemed like a huge affront to our hospitality–no matter how long he was staying, he was still strictly a guest.

The source of these rude behaviors was pinpointed a few days after she delivered the ultimatum to her boyfriend.  He still insisted that she attend his brother’s wedding–a brother, might I add, she had had little contact with.  She was reluctant, but since the invitation had been extended from the brother as well, she felt it wouldn’t be entirely respectful to decline.  She accepted on the condition that our father would accompany her, as our whole family would be in Atlanta (where their college was) the week before and we wanted to split into two groups–my mother and I going back to Texas with all the stuff I had moved out of my dorm in Pennsylvania, and my father and my sister going down to Florida for the wedding.  This made the mass manoeuvre easy for us and let my sister go to the wedding.  It also meant that my dad finally got to bear witness to the BF’s family.

In general, my father came back with the same poor opinions of the family, but one incident really encapsulates it all and shows the source of the bad manners.  On entering a certain door, my father stepped ahead of my sister and opened the door for her, and she thanked him.  Not a remarkable thing, but the boyfriend’s father felt the need to comment on it.  He noted that a man in their family would never hold open a door for a woman–like it was something to be proud of, or it was some sort of show of feminism or something.  I’m a pretty adamant feminist myself, and I can tell you having such a sentiment only exposes general selfishness on your part: a person should simply hold open doors for other people; in my family it is not a matter of gender–someone will just take initiative and open the door for a group.  It’s a way of showing respect and courtesy, and I try to open doors for people even in the most informal of situations.  Both my sister and my father were disgusted, both at the show of bad manners and somewhat at the implication that a single courteous display damned our family into an anti-progressive black hole of sexist chivalry (?).

I think that was the last straw for my sister.  She had been trying to break up for a long time but that gave her some resolve not to back out of the final breakup.  Also–has anyone else encountered this idea that dropping shows of courtesy or hospitality is a progressive thing? 0701-11


Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Buffalo Gal July 27, 2011, 10:56 am

    “the tiny perfection that is my grandson”

    Awwww …. 🙂

    Anyway, on the post … Excuse me, spending time working out — ie, doing something he likes — is stroking his ego? I’m getting a real feeling of “she’s the star, he should be stroking HER ego” from this.

    And as far as cooking his own food instead of eating with the family … 1, with so much obvious hostility in the air, I’d probably do the same and, 2, could it be he didn’t want to put the family to any more trouble? Or had menu restrictions?

    The father’s comment was very rude, but I remember when my now-husband and I started dating. He was constantly pulling out chairs/helping me on with my coat/opening doors for me. It took a while to get used to, and honestly I was taken aback at first. My family just doesn’t DO that. (I mean, we’ll hold the door for someone at a store, but gender has nothing at all to do with it.)

    The family and BF might be rude, but the OP’s attitude is very off-putting.

  • Louise July 27, 2011, 10:59 am

    Ah, yet another holier-than-thou submission with the added bonus of including home states as though that actually has something to do with anything.

    “Even when he expressly asked and confirmed his attendance before, he would most often back out the day of.”
    — I do think that’s rude, to say you’ll show up and then not show up, but I think it’s more of a relationship issue than an etiquette one. This isn’t like backing out of, say, a dinner party where the absence will notably affect the host and the guests. The volleyball game will go on without the boyfriend’s presence, with neither athletes nor audience affected.

    “None of us particularly appreciated his company and our eating habits were bent constantly to suit his needs. Worse still, we would often eat as a family, and he would go to cook his own food at a later time (a feat not performed as of yet by any other house guest; we cook pretty nice, big dinners and guests are prone to asking after leftovers).”
    — I would like to know more about how the family’s eating habits changed to accommodate the boyfriend. Did the hour of mealtimes change? The type of food? When he cooked his own meals, was simply microwaving a plate of leftovers at a later hour or cooking his own gourmet meals? Did anyone find out beforehand what this guy ate? I would be pretty put out if a guest — even the long-term partner of my beloved sibling — rejected my cooking the first night, but after a month? There’s a pan, go scramble some eggs if that’s what you want.

    “He still insisted that she attend his brother’s wedding–a brother, might I add, she had had little contact with.”
    –Why does it matter that she’s had little contact with the brother? I think it was very courteous of the groom to invite the partner of his brother. And, like everyone else, I hope your sister didn’t insist her father go to the wedding, because that’s way ruder than anything the boyfriend did.

  • Hemi Halliwell July 27, 2011, 11:07 am

    The BF does seem to have some issues, but the OP’s family has some, too. If his manners bothered your sister so much, why did she continue the relationship for 3 years?
    The fact that the OP thinks the holding-the-door-open comment is a bigger faux pas than her sister insisting the father accompany her to the wedding makes me think her and her family need a refresher course on their etiquette classes.

  • --E July 27, 2011, 11:12 am

    Wow, so many things wrong here.

    Like many other commenters, I was completely distracted by the OP’s snotty Texas/Florida comment. Truly superior people don’t take pains to point it out at every opportunity. If you’re superior, the people around you will notice and appreciate it.

    The boyfriend’s inability to attend volleyball games suggests to me that he was a bad boyfriend. His behavior when staying with the family is possibly rude. I disagree that he was a guest, though. When you’re staying with someone for a month, and your relationship to that person is close (e.g., a long-term boyfriend), you’re no longer a guest–you’re a member of the household. He should have recognized the importance of the family meal and joined them, but his general behavior shouldn’t be held to the same standard as a three-day guest.

    I’m not sure why everyone assumes the father attended the wedding. He went with his daughter to Florida. Odds are good it was a wedding-related event where he met the boyfriend’s family, but nothing in the post says so explicitly.

  • Genevieve July 27, 2011, 11:16 am

    I think the biggest offense here, bar none, is inviting the father to the wedding. Yikes.

    I see how a lot of notes might make the man in question a bad boyfriend, but not necessarily a rude lout.

    Not going to sports games to support his girlfriend? Bad boyfriend.

    Not opening the door after girlfriend requested it? Bad boyfriend.

    The door opening comment (actually made by his father)? Rude. Though, I could also see how it might easily have been a joking comment gone wrong or interpreted incorrectly.

    Eating a second meal after the family already ate? Neither. My husband was trying to build muscle for a while and he had to eat several meals of protein a day. He had protein shakes which he supplemented with ham and cheese sandwiches. This meant in addition to his three meals, he was eating two additional “meals” of ham sandwiches a day. It was necessary to his diet and the exercise he was doing. I hope no one would consider him rude because an hour or two after dinner or lunch, he went and fixed himself an additional sandwich or eggs or other protein dish. What would be rude would be inconveniencing the host or hostess by asking him or her to fix it for him.

  • Lilybell July 27, 2011, 11:23 am

    This is in response to “K”s post. You are offended by the slam to Floridians, but think it’s ok to slam “Yankees” in the same sentence? As a dreaded evil NYer, I have never, ever seen any one be anything but polite when a door is opened for them. It’s an urban myth just like people who say they don’t give up seats on the subway because they get glared at or yelled at for being polite. Please, that might happen once in a blue moon, but it’s just another excuse for bad behavior.

  • Another Alice July 27, 2011, 11:25 am

    I had to force myself to read the rest of the post after the whole “Texas v. Florida” section because my eyes were almost permanently rolled into my head, but I finished.

    The whole story is totally strange. I actually thought it was weird that the sister wouldn’t want to go to her boyfriend’s brother’s wedding. I feel as though when you’re in a long-term relationship with someone, to the point where said person is living in your house for a month at a time, you ARE rather obligated to attend their family functions as their guest. Was the point of her not wanting to go because of his not going to her volleyball games? If so, two different things. A wedding is a very special, hopefully one-time, family event; a volleyball game would occur many times a year, and being that he LIVED with them, I bet he had seen a few more than she had his brother’s wedding. Was she attending all of his weight-lifting tournaments? Doubtful. (And no disrespect on that either; I wouldn’t care to see volleyball OR weightlifting four times a month.)

    That she would insist her father come, whether or not he simply escorted her or she demanded an invitation for him, is the epitome of bizarre. Especially considering this was not a girl who was in high school and traveling while young when maybe she hadn’t before – she was in college, and once again, her boyfriend was living for periods of time at her family’s house! I would say that is an extremely close relationship.

    I’ll join the chorus of “I’m a feminist too!” and say that as such, the main event of this post being someone saying about how they don’t open doors for women is totally anticlimactic. Really? That’s the big deal? Sheesh. I like when people open doors for me, men or women; I do not like it when any person lets it slam in my face, whether it’s a man or a woman. It’s a bit odd, I’d say, to spout your anti-etiquette beliefs to someone following etiquette, but eh. Maybe they were insecure because they knew your family looked down on the Floridian boors. 😉

  • Library Diva July 27, 2011, 11:26 am

    “She accepted on the condition that our father would accompany her…”
    “It also meant that my dad finally got to bear witness to the BF’s family.”

    Sounds to me like the dad was at the wedding.

    I agree that this submission does not make a lot of sense. It sounds to me like there was simply a clash in lifestyle between the boyfriend and the rest of the submitter’s family. Maybe the clash could have been lessened by not having him stay at the sister’s home for such an extended period of time. Long stays like that tend to blur the lines between “guest” and “family member” and lead one to think that maybe it’s OK to make your own food rather than be part of family mealtime, leave your stuff all over the bathroom, etc. A month-long visit would try even a polite, considerate person, and it doesn’t sound like ex-BF fit that description.

  • Lizajane July 27, 2011, 11:38 am


    Absolutely. Newborn grandson vs. posting comments…no question. But you’d have had a field day with this doozie.

  • Shoebox July 27, 2011, 11:47 am

    *hands OP a nice shiny gold star* There, feel better now?

    Because honestly, I’m not sure why else you submitted such a lengthy, condescension-dripping diatribe re: what strikes the reader as very minor offences (especially as compared to a guest adding random guests of their own to a wedding).

    Seems like your own egos needed some propping up, and you took it out on the ex-BF and family. No, they don;t sound very nice, but frankly they sound a lot nicer than you.

  • Tara July 27, 2011, 11:50 am

    I have a fun story to share, in regards to the OP’s assertion that holding doors is something that people do for other people, rather than something men do for women.

    First, I’d like to say that it’s rude to allow a door to close behind you when someone else is coming through. Everyone should hold the door long enough for the person behind to catch it. What I’m speaking of here is walking ahead of someone, opening the door, and holding it while stepping aside to let the other person through first. This has always annoyed me with my husband, and he says it’s just something that people do for other people too, regardless of gender. Where I grew up, holding the door in such a way was very rare indeed, but when I moved to the south, men would constantly open doors for me.

    And that brings me to my story. I have never seen one man open the door for another man, unless the man being allowed through first was elderly. So I decided to do an experiment. For one week, I stepped ahead, opened doors, and stood aside to let the other person through first. If it is indeed a genderless action, then people should behave the same way women are expected to behave: walk through with a thank you, without any surprise.

    This is not the reaction I received. People my own age (20s-30s) looked at me like I had grown a second head, both men and women. Sometimes I was thanked. Older women walked through with a thank you and without a second look. Clearly, it was not surprising that a younger woman would hold the door for them. Older men, however, would get angry with me, and act offended, and none ever thanked me. Many of them would tell me they could get the door themselves. Now, if this were truly a genderless courtesy, I should have received thanks most of the time, or at the very least not been looked at like I was some sort of weirdo. I certainly shouldn’t have had the older men act insulted.

  • Enna July 27, 2011, 11:51 am

    It’s rude to sterotype espically in a negative way – unless you are a psychologist or anthropologist or sociologist looking at cultures and sub culture: and even then such professionals who are true to their field don’t just focus on the negative they evualate everything. As for sister’s ex bf not attending volly ball games to see her, I see that as being rude, it’s being a bad bf and there forebad bf ettiqute espcially if he didn’t attend one game in 3 years. As for making his own food; does he have any allergies or medical conditions like the lady whose FSMIL didn’t understand the diabetes?

    For the opening/not opening door thing – all your Dad needed to say was “I’m a feminist so hold the door open for anyone and everyone not just women. It’s rude not to.” Your sister insisting your father went to the wedding? If it was just to drop off and pick up fine – if to actually attend now that does sound a bit strange. We’re no longer in the Vicotrian period women don’t need chaprones. As for the bf’s “issues” are you sure you aren’t making mountains over molehills?

  • Really? July 27, 2011, 11:55 am

    As someone who dated and lived with a person for whom working out was important or as the OP put it had “body image issues” (hmph) I can say that the girlfriend and probably family knew what they were in for when inviting this person into their home for “about a month at a time”. It is unreasonable to expect someone to change their lifestyle habits (and yes, working out at that level is a lifestyle) for that long. The GF should have informed her family of her BF’s dietary needs so they would be prepared [my guy eats 5x/day]. He didn’t ask the hostess to increase her workload by asking for special meals, he fixed his own meals at the times he needed to eat (high protein, low or no carb/fat foods at a specific calorie count) to maintain what he worked so hard to achieve.

    That said the BF should definitely have made an effort to eat with the family as much as possible, even if it was a light snack before his real meal.

    I found it interesting that the OP blasted the BF for things that while unconventional, were not overtly rude (ignoring his GF’s volleyball games aside – that was extremely selfish) but mentioned the fact that the GF DEMANDED her father be invited to a wedding she was invited to as a guest without batting a lash.

    I’m going to make an Interesting Assumption that the BF showed intense selfish tendencies throughout the 3 year history with the GF to cause such hostility by the OP. However by the story as told, it is the BF’s father and OP’s family that deserve an E-Hell roasting.

  • Ferretrick July 27, 2011, 12:04 pm

    Your definintion of courtesy is to stick the bride and groom with an extra probably $50 dinner, solely for your family’s convenience? Um, ok….

  • C.W. July 27, 2011, 12:12 pm

    “We invited him to stay with us for extended periods (about a month at a time) during the breaks between their semesters, and pretty much everyone in our family agreed that, while he was high-maintenance enough to not actively destroy the house, none of us particularly appreciated his company and our eating habits were bent constantly to suit his needs. Worse still, we would often eat as a family, and he would go to cook his own food at a later time (a feat not performed as of yet by any other house guest; we cook pretty nice, big dinners and guests are prone to asking after leftovers).”

    Ok, first you say you all had to bend your eating habits to match his, then you say he would cook his own food. You mentioned he was muscle-y and worked out a lot. My boyfriend works out 5 days a week and maintains a high protein diet. Maybe this guy kept a specific eating routine and was trying to eliminate some hassle to the family by cooking for himself. I know that my boyfriend will occasionally make something different to what the rest of us will eat (my family, his family, group of friends, etc.) so he can eat what he’s comfortable with. It’s never bothered me (or my family) that he does this.

    But maybe us Midwesterners don’t really know manners since we aren’t from Texas. {insert sarcasm here, haha}

    Maybe the guy was a little irritating but I don’t see any horrendous rudeness going on. My bet is the family didn’t like him in the first place and were looking for excuses.

  • David July 27, 2011, 12:12 pm

    I came away from this post thinking that everyone involved was a little rude, but the op’s sister (if she did expect her father to be invited to the wedding) was rudest of all. Hopefully she didn’t demand that as a condition of her coming, it just boggles the mind.

    @admin – your new grandson is incredibly cute. Enjoy!

  • Lily G July 27, 2011, 12:19 pm

    Knowing quite a few bodybuilders, it seems like he did them a favor by cooking his own food. Usually their requirements (I just heard my husband dictate dinner to my daughter: “Salad; always salad and some lean broiled meat…”) don’t fit the idea of anyone’s “pretty nice, big dinners”. He didn’t expect her to cook for him. So what if he would rather work out than go to a volleyball game? Sounds like the sister wanted her ego stroked at the expense of his. Sheesh.
    Definitely sounds like two families in a culture clash, but frankly I’ll take the clueless Floridians over the snotty superior Texans any day. Yuck. We in Michigan wouldn’t do any of that…. We take care of the beams in our own eyes first. (j/k)

    Enjoy your grandson! These newborn days are so short.

  • Debra July 27, 2011, 12:22 pm

    The main thing I take away from this is how limber the OP must be with all the back patting she’s giving herself.

  • Jamesy July 27, 2011, 12:25 pm

    Having made my way through the unnecessary Texas v. Florida debate that raged in the posts (clearly, the OP accidentally offended), I am exhausted, but ready to comment.

    Frankly, the boyfriend seemed like a selfish guy. Your sister dated this guy for three years and he couldn’t make one – ONE – volleyball game? They probably happened every few weeks at home for several months each year. Plenty of opportunities and yet no forthcoming support from this guy. Boo on him.

    As for dinner, did he at least sit with your family during the main meal and then make himself a second dinner? If he was a big eater, that’s one thing. If he was ignoring your hospitality, that’s another. How uncomfortable.

    Presumably, your sister wanted your father in Florida so she could prevent any extra time spent with/drunken advances from Ex-Boyfriend. Hopefully, this was not a request for an additional seat at the reception. This is how I understood the story. “Dad, spend the weekend with me, so I don’t have to spend any extra time with Ex-Boyfriend and his family. No brunches, no strolls, no drinks. Wedding and done.”

    Analysis over. Thank you for reading this far.

  • Jillybean July 27, 2011, 12:27 pm

    The people who are talking about holding the door being the polite thing to do regardless of gender are of course correct, but that’s not what actually transpired. Dad didn’t hold the door for his daughter. He stepped ahead of her to open it for her. Two different things. The OP makes it perfectly clear that her dad didn’t hold the door, he stepped ahead of her to get the door for her. Sure, the OP claims the BF’s father commented that they NEVER hold doors for women in his family, but a) as she’s hearing this 2nd hand and b) relating it for impact, I’m going to guess that it was more along the lines of saying they don’t go out of their way to “get” the door for the women, not implying that if a female member of his family comes in the door behind him he drops the door on her.

    While some of the BF’s behavior was bad, the biggest offense I see in this story is inviting extra people to a wedding not your own, and that offense was committed by the OP’s family. Further – seems to me that the OPs sister didn’t even ask for a plus 1. She was asking for a plus 2, as she herself would have already been the plus 1 or her boyfriend.

    I’d be willing to be that ex-BF has a tale or two to tell about her family.

  • karen July 27, 2011, 12:37 pm

    Up here in the “churlish North” we rude Yankees hold the door for whoever happens to be standing to there.

  • DGS July 27, 2011, 12:54 pm

    Agree with the above posters who have indicated that there were multiple breaches of etiquette (including massive sweeping regional generalizations) on both sides, but would also like to point out that commenting on sister’s former BF’s eating and cooking habits is profoundly rude. I am unfortunately, going to horribly butcher a great scene from “To Kill a Mockingbird” (and I don’t have the quote handy), but I distinctly recall a scene in the book where Scout makes fun of a hungry friend who pours syrup over his lunch, and Calpurnia berates her in the kitchen, noting that when someone is a guest in your house, you never comment on or question their eating habits. Maybe, the boyfriend’s habits were different from those of OP and her family, but that is not, in itself rudeness. It is far ruder and more presumptious to comment on said habits.

  • Chocobo July 27, 2011, 12:58 pm

    Mannerliness is like Fight Club:

    1st Rule – You do not talk about how mannerly you are.
    2nd Rule – You DO NOT talk about how mannerly you are.

    … Otherwise, you are not mannerly.

  • Natalie July 27, 2011, 1:02 pm

    It seems to me that some people confuse progressive with unmannered because there has been a tradition of showing manners to one group but denying them to another group as a way of reinforcing privilege. An example most people are probably familiar with is the (thankfully dead) tradition of referring to white adults as Mr. or Ms. So-and-So while calling black adults byt their first names.

    To me, real progressive thought re: race or sex or sexuality or other identities is affording all people the same level of courtesy and not denying some person or group of people courtesy because you think they are less than you. If one has decided that the level of courtesy they want to show is none, it doesn’t make them progressive – it just makes them a jerk.

  • --Lia July 27, 2011, 1:20 pm

    I remember the whole thing about whether it’s insulting to hold a door for a woman from when I was in my teens in the late 70s. I was coming of age then, thinking about feminism, thinking about the relationships between men and women, what roles we might play, how traditional roles might be challenged, etc. Now it’s just doors, and people need to get through them. I don’t think I thought about it much from back then until I started reading about it here. People still debate that? Women think it’s a big deal? I’d like to suggest a compromise. Go ahead and hold the door for me because you think I’m too sweet and feminine to do it for myself. I’ll be insulted and walk through. Then give me equal pay, equal opportunity, and equal respect in the workplace. We’ll call it an even trade.

  • Ann July 27, 2011, 1:20 pm

    Dear Admin… Congratulations on the new grandbaby! How wonderful!

  • lnelson1218 July 27, 2011, 1:39 pm

    Honestly, I couldn’t figure out where the OP was going with this.

    I latched onto the fact that the BF was not supportive of the sister’s interests. That seems to be more of a relationship issue than a manners flaw (please feel free to disagree with me).

    I don’t think that lack of common courtesy of holding the door open for the person (either gender) behind you is unique to any one state, age group, etc. Where I live I must be lucky, most of the time if the gentleman isn’t actually allowing me to go first, at least they are keeping it open for me to grab it myself. Ladies do it as well. Just common courtesy.

  • Baku-chan July 27, 2011, 1:57 pm

    I’m also in the boat of people who don’t see what states have anything to do with it. Not every Texan is a God and not every Floridian is the spawn of Satan.

  • ellesee July 27, 2011, 2:05 pm

    So the sister is the “star” of the volleyball team and the boyfriend is a lout for not attending her games? Well, have she ever attended HIS bodybuilding events? I think there is more to the story. You (and your family) obviously do not like that guy and will say anything to slam him, but there’s nothing so far about him that is offensive or rude. But I’m not from Texas so I’m probably a sleazy boor.

    “He noted that a man in their family would never hold open a door for a woman–like it was something to be proud of, or it was some sort of show of feminism or something”
    Interesting assumptions.

    But this does not trump the fact that your sister demanded her father come along UNINVITED and as an ULTIMATUM.

  • Riri July 27, 2011, 2:12 pm

    Unbelievable -_- I suppose next he’ll be saying that ambulance workers carrying unconscious patients in stretchers are being condescending toward the disabled -_- Honey, holding doors open is simple courtesy and good manners- something he clearly needs to learn.

  • Mary July 27, 2011, 2:19 pm

    “When I lived near a Native American reservation I was told something I never forgot. White man opens the door for their women, but Native American men traditionally entered the room first to make sure it was safe for the women.”

    That is really interesting! That is something to think about!

  • livvy July 27, 2011, 2:19 pm

    For those painting the BF as selfish for “never” attending the games – read OP’s post again…she says he “never” supported her by going, but later, she says that, “Even when he expressly asked and confirmed his attendance before, he would most often back out the day of” – sounds to me like he attended at least a few games. Though it would certainly be rude of him to say he could go, and then back out later. But honestly, did she really need HER ego stroked by having him there as a cheerleader? How many times did the GF spot him in the gym?

    The OP witheringly states that the guy had “a tidy package of body image issues,” and that “none of us particularly appreciated his company ” and moreover, “he was still strictly a guest.” Sounds to me as though there was little warmth or welcome in the “hospitality” shown to the BF, who, after a few years of dating, and a few weeks in residence, might be considered more part of the family than “strictly a guest.” Plus, as others have stated, and the OP implies, he was likely on a diet that didn’t match well with their own, and perhaps didn’t want to inconvenience the OP’s family, who sounded put out by his diet / schedule. Declining hospitality isn’t necessarily an affront to that hospitality. In fact, many times it’s a lot LESS rude for a guest to respectfully decline than to have his host / hostess’s “eating habits were bent constantly to suit his needs”

    I will say that I’m sure there are other things. As said before, he may have been a bad boyfriend, or at least a bad match for the sister, but other than backing out of promised attendance at certain games, I don’t see where he was rude.

    I’ve heard the same comment about door holding (and paying on dates) from many men, some boors, and some confused about what is or isn’t appropriate in our post-feminism world. Brilliant observation from the one poster who tested the theory that it’s gender-free, and found that certainly, it isn’t. The question at the end of OP’s post seems insincere to me – sounds like she just wanted to complain, and needed to have some way to wrap up this supposed laundry list of greivances.

  • LovleAnjel July 27, 2011, 2:33 pm


    I also live in an area where men routinely hold doors for women. When I hold the door for a man, most often they put their own hand on the door and stand there with both us holding it open, until I walk through. It’s really weird and I want to laugh every time.

    If it’s someone I know, we’ll break into a “You first” “No, you first” thing which always ends with them holding and me walking through. They seriously won’t let a woman hold the door for them.

  • Justine July 27, 2011, 3:31 pm

    I agree with Lousie – was it really necessary to mention the home states by name? Could have said “We grew up in different states, about 900 miles apart.”

  • Sharon July 27, 2011, 3:34 pm

    @ ADMIN… I am so happy for you! Being a grandmother is one of the most wonderful honors life can bring. And, it is so much FUN!!!!!!!!!

  • SHOEGAL July 27, 2011, 3:45 pm

    There was something “off” with this post – it puzzled me – especially the way it was told.

    The whole thing about the boyfriend cooking his own food threw me a little. If he came to stay for one night – ok – this would be rude but he was there a month. After living there with the family for a month – he was still strictly a guest? Doesn’t seem very Texan not to say make yourself at home.

  • Alissa July 27, 2011, 3:59 pm

    All I can say is that I agree with the previous posters who have commented that the OP is the one that comes off as rude. The boyfriend should have attended some of the volleyball games to support his girlfriend, but to not do so is not a breach of etiquette in the same vein as not attending a dinner party. That could make him a poor boyfriend, but not necessarily rude. I note also that she states he would “most often” back out of the games, which makes me assume that he did in fact go to some. I myself love my husband dearly, but I will be very blunt and saying that in the midst of a busy life (work, school, trying to work out to stay healthy) I can not imagine that I would attend all of his games if he were having weekly or by weekly games for several months at a time.

    The rest of the diatribe made me feel more sorry for the boyfriend than anything else. Picture staying for a month at a time with a family that openly dislikes you and feels superior to you and your “sleazy” family. I can also understand needing to cook your own food if he had specific dietary requirements. The occasional “splurge” would be one thing, but if he was staying for a month at a time, that is a long time to ignore his own health and diet needs. I also agree that it would be MORE rude for him to expect the family to cook for him to meet his special needs. Cooking for himself (again, particularly if we are talking about such big chunks of time) seems like the more polite option by far.

    Finally, I was completely confused by the part about the wedding. The sister refused to attend the wedding of the brother of her long time boyfriend? Unless her dad could go too? Wha???? That’s the oddest and rudest part of the entire post.

    And then the sister broke up with the boyfriend over some throwaway comment that *his dad* (not the boyfriend himself) made about opening doors for people? Okaaaaaaaay.

  • sj July 27, 2011, 4:08 pm

    I can see why the boyfriend had not-so-hot manners. Not going to your girlfriend’s volleyball games, and regularly backing out last minute is rude.

    However, the story tells a lot about the poor manners of OP’s family.

    Inviting your father along to a boyfriend’s brother’s wedding? Bad etiquette.

    The fact that he cooked for himself as a house guest doesn’t bother me. It’s much better than demanding certain foods be prepared for him by his hosts.

    The comment at the wedding is weird. I can’t guess what the boyfriend’s father meant by it. I agree, though, that people should be nice to people, not just men to women or women to men.

  • Jillybean July 27, 2011, 5:16 pm

    “Having made my way through the unnecessary Texas v. Florida debate that raged in the posts (clearly, the OP accidentally offended), I am exhausted, but ready to comment.”

    @Jamesy – what is unnecessary about discussing the OP’s own bad manners in a conversation where she is criticizing someone else’s manners? She may have “accidentally” offended, but there was no accident in her implying that she thinks Texans are better mannered than those from Florida.

    To be honest, I don’t find anything that she described about the BF to be terrible, and the one clear cut example (the door holding “incident”) a) was done by the BF’s father, b) she didn’t witness, and c) quite frankly, based on her tone throughout, I don’t believe for a second it went down the way she describes.

    From livvy’s post:
    “The OP witheringly states that the guy had “a tidy package of body image issues,” and that “none of us particularly appreciated his company ” and moreover, “he was still strictly a guest.” Sounds to me as though there was little warmth or welcome in the “hospitality” shown to the BF, who, after a few years of dating, and a few weeks in residence, might be considered more part of the family than “strictly a guest.” ”

    Yep…that sums it up to me. Sounds to me like this guy was never really welcome.

  • Threepenny July 27, 2011, 5:31 pm

    Frankly, you, OP, seem a bit snobbish yourself.

  • shari July 27, 2011, 6:07 pm

    Sounds like the ex-boyfriend and family dodged a bullet there!

  • Jennifer July 27, 2011, 6:49 pm

    Maybe I’m a boorish Floridian, but if I get to the door first, I hold it. If it’s a double door and someone holds the first for me, I get the second door and hold it for them.

    The epitome of bad manners is insisting how saintly you are and holding up your nose at others. Honestly, the whole tone of this post was far ruder than any of the BF’s actions.

  • The Other Amber July 27, 2011, 9:38 pm

    @LovleAnjel – I’ve had the same thing happen to when holding doors open for men. If I was feeling persistent then I’d bow down and gesture to them to proceed through the doorway.

    As for the OP and her “situation” – I’m still shaking my head. I think the BF was lucky to have been “dumped”.

  • kingshearte July 28, 2011, 3:56 am

    I basically agree with the general consensus here, but the whole wedding situation still confuses me, based on the way it was worded. Were they together at the time or not? What is this “ultimatum” the sister delivered? Was it the dad-comes-to-the-wedding thing or something else? And on that note, did she *actually* insist that her father come to the *wedding*? There are just too many unanswered questions for me to properly assess this situation.

    But regardless, the OP’s family still comes across as considerably less polite and pleasant than she appears to believe they are.

  • Chicken July 28, 2011, 4:43 am

    I was a little confused by the Texas/Florida comparison, what’s the relevance? I’m sure each state has both rude and polite people so it really doesn’t matter where they’re from.

    I think I’m going to have to side with those who think there might be something wrong with the OP and her family. While I agree backing out on an event you had agreed to attend on short notice is impolite. But is the OP’s sister incapable of playing her chosen sport without the fans of her choosing in the audience? It seems like the OP’s sister didn’t care to go to the gym with him, did her BF get angry when she back out of gym sessions? I think they just had different interests and didn’t work well as a couple. And it seems like the OP’s family didn’t care for him and maybe he sensed it and that’s why he cooked and ate separately from the rest of the family.

    As for the wedding, I’m very confused. The way I read it, it seems like the sister invited her father to someone else’s wedding. Isn’t that an ettiquite breach?

    And lastly, I think the door situation is ridiculous. I like it when men open doors for me. In fact I once found myself standing in front of one completely confused as to why it didn’t open. I rarely go anywhere by myself and any manual doors are always opened for me by my fiance or any nearby men, so the day no one was around I was shocked for a second, lol! Although I think it’s just the nice thing to do for anyone regardless of gender or age, if you don’t like it just keep your thoughts to yourself.

  • Elizabeth July 28, 2011, 8:29 am

    My little rule is that it is bad manners to comment or notice other peoples’ bad manners …

    But is Mr. Florida really exihibiting bad manners? I’m not so sure.

    Ms. Texas has a superiority issue.

  • Angel July 28, 2011, 9:46 am

    @Tara, you said, “I have never seen one man open the door for another man, unless the man being allowed through first was elderly.” My husband does this all the time. And yes, I mean opening the door and holding it so the other person goes through first. I’ve never seen any reaction other than gratitude. (We live in Massachusetts.)

  • Carolyn July 28, 2011, 10:48 am

    If I were a Texan, I would be offended that the OP holds herself and her family to be shining examples of Texan manners and hospitality! Texans, I am sure that not everyone in your state is as boorish and sleazy as the OP and her family.

  • --E July 28, 2011, 10:59 am

    LibraryDiva noted:
    “She accepted on the condition that our father would accompany her…”

    –>Hmmm. Thank you for breaking it out this way; I think I see what you and the others are seeing now. I think my brain just refused to believe it was even possible that someone would insist in bringing an uninvited guest to a wedding that I couldn’t begin to interpret this statement that way. I read it as “would accompany her” to Florida, not to the wedding. I was thinking she didn’t want to stay with the boyfriend’s family, and didn’t want to be alone at this wedding she didn’t want to attend in the first place, but rather wanted the comfort and company of someone not involved in the wedding.

    Seriously, between her not wanting to go to the wedding, and her wanting to break up with the boy but not managing to, I’m starting to wonder as to the nature of the relationship. He was a bodybuilder, which makes me wonder if steroids are in the picture, which adds up to a potentially very bad situation indeed, and one where I would want my father to be around.

    “It also meant that my dad finally got to bear witness to the BF’s family.”

    –>I don’t even know what this means. What does “bear witness” mean in any context other than giving testimony in a court of law? Is this some Southern idiom my Yankee self doesn’t know? I assumed it meant something like, “And dad would finally get to meet the family of the boy who had been dating his daughter for three years,” which seemed extremely reasonable to me.

  • Enna July 28, 2011, 11:45 am

    @ Livvy I don’t think we can assume that bf has attended vollyball games – the backing out is rude though unless he was called into work or something and had an unorganised boss who left things to the last minute.

    I would want to know why the hosting family didn’t try to bend their eating arrangements. Both me and my late grandfather were type one diabetics. When I was first diganosed (12) I had my dinner at 6pm, but grandpa always had his at 7pm so when me and my parents and sister went to eat dinner at my grandparents we had dinner at 6:30. It is about pratical comprimise. Now as I’m older (20+) I have dinner at 6:30 normally but eat at 7 at grandparents.

    OP did your sister insist your father came with her to the wedding? If so that was rude.