Tuesday, January 23, 2018

What the What?

February 10, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

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What the WhatRude is rude, on the land or at sea.  The fact is, bad-mannered people go boating, and we can’t always avoid them.  But according to the stories told by our readers, we can scoff at them!

Fran invited a couple from the neighborhood to go boating. “We’d actually become friendly while walking our dogs, but we never dreamed they’d bring their dog along without asking. The other couple we invited was allergic, so we’d left our own dog at home.” So what happened? “I quietly informed the neighbors that our friends couldn’t be around dogs, but they laughed and said, ‘Everybody loves our Maxie!’ My husband threw a fit and canceled the day right then and there.”

Jay Remer, an etiquette consultant, social commentator, and media personality (www.etiquetteguy.com), wonders about the guests who did not request permission to bring their dog along. “Who do they think they are? Any time one is going aboard a ship, strict protocol must be observed, for safety reasons alone.” However, if this breach took place on land, it would still be inexcusable, he says. “Even if one were visiting someone’s house, they would surely ask before bringing Fido, unless an open invitation had been previously arranged. One never knows what one might encounter.”

Jeff needed help docking the boat, and called for everyone on board to pitch in.  Everyone did, except his brother-in-law, who waved his hand dismissively and said, “This is my day off, bro.”

All boaters who appreciate an extra pair of hands would be fuming over what Mr. Day Off said; Remer finds such behavior loutish. “Everyone, including slovenly in-laws, must understand that when the Captain asks for help, it’s all hands on deck!”

Lenny says he never minds paying for the gas, but he does appreciate when a guest says, “Can I chip in?”  He was flabbergasted by a buddy who asked him if he had “a spare $20.00.” When Lenny (a bit reluctantly) said “Yes,” his pal slapped him on the back and said, “Keep it as my contribution to today.”

“Some people have a distorted sense of humor; some people are just plain cheap,” observes Remer. “This chap seems to carry both mantles. Although the host may decline a kind offer to help defray expenses, making a mockery of being helpful shows overt disrespect. No need to ask him back on board!”

Alexis and her partner invited two couples and their kids out for a day on the boat. She put out food for lunch, and a few moments later, one of the kids sneezed all over the spread. “Don’t worry,” said the kid’s mother. “He’s not sick.”

Perhaps after washing his hands, Remer tried to make sense of the mom’s intolerable action. “This is just plain disgusting in any circumstances! Perhaps the mother is so stupid, she doesn’t actually understand how germs are spread.” Though it might fall to Alexis to educate the ignorant mom about hygiene, she can’t instill common sense in someone who clearly lacks it. Unless she installs a salad bar-type sneeze guard on the boat, Remer says dramatic action is called for. “Down the plank for her!”

Jamie also encountered a kid/parent combo that pushed her buttons during a dozen-boat raft up. “People do visit back and forth on the boats, and that’s fun,” she explains. “We know many of them through our marina for years.” But a woman she didn’t know stepped on her deck and asked what kind of food they were serving, as her son was looking for a snack. “He’s choosy,” said the woman, “and everyone ate all the food I brought before he got any. What do you have here?”

Remer thinks Jamie should have politely responded, “This is not a public cafeteria, but please enjoy what you see.”

Barb’s co-worker wouldn’t shut up. “I heard question after question for hours, it seems. ‘What’s this?  What’s that? Why do you do that? How does that work?’ It wouldn’t stop.” Apparently the co-worker wasn’t all that talky at work, so Barb thought perhaps she was nervous being on the water. She maintained her cool as long as she could, but blew her stack when Ms. Nosy asked, “How can you afford this boat?” Barb admitted that she then told off her guest in language bluer than the Caribbean Sea!

Remer says that the co-worker really crossed the decency line when it comes to discussing money, which should be done “in the most private of situations, and only when appropriate.” Since people’s spending choices are personal, Remer thinks nervousness was likely involved. Barb should have simply said, “‘I need to concentrate on a few things right now.’ Often, breaking the incessant verbal diarrhea cycle can actually bring it to an end.” Otherwise, Remer has another suggestion. “I give chatty people tasks to keep their hands busy and their mouths shut.”

In other words, Barb’s co-worker could have been asked to help Jeff while his sluggish brother-in-law took a nap!

webPlus_web_green1 One of these rude encounters wasn’t one-sided. See Remer’s take on what Fran’s husband did wrong.

Fran and the uninvited dog

Remer relates that Fran’s husband reacted poorly. “A cardinal rule is to make one’s guests feel welcome and not to embarrass anyone in public. He clearly allowed his ego to overtake his common sense and civility. Perhaps he behaves like a barbarian in other arenas, as well. Surely the canine could have been returned home; so sad to ruin everyone’s fun over such an issue. One must pick one’s battles with more discernment.”

By Lita Smith-Mines

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