Here we go again.
Pregnant? Incapacitated? Elderly? Then ‘i-Gen’ are not your friend. They’re the under 20s who – according to a survey of 2500 – are more concerned with themselves than manners in public.
Staring, talking loudly, texting while weaving all over the footpath.
And that’s to say nothing of those who have no idea how to wield an umbrella on a rainy day in a crowded plaza.
The survey asked people from across the generations (from the under 20s to the Baby Boomers and senior citizens) how they felt about giving up their seat on trains and buses and other acts many of us assumed were basic manners.
“The survey found I-Gen are less likely to open a door for women, more likely to look the other way when a pregnant woman is searching for a seat and more accepting of calling work colleagues “darl” or “hon”.
Those aged 20 to 30 fared little better, coming in second-rudest, while senior citizens were unsurprisingly at the other end of the spectrum.
Softer disciplining techniques, lack of parenting and the proliferation of technology that detaches youths from the “real world” have all been blamed for the apparent decline in decorum.
“It’s dangerous to walk down the street today because people are sending text messages and not watching what they’re doing,” etiquette immortal June Dally-Watkins said yesterday.
“If we’re going to be pressing buttons and not considering other people we could become a bunch of robots.
“You have to communicate with people eye to eye, face to face, and that’s what gives us personality.”
The whole conversation was started after soon-to-give-birth journalist Letitia Rowlands wrote a column about the daily battle to find a seat on Sydney’s packed trains. Have a guess how that worked for her.
“At eight months pregnant with my second child, it’s not hard for me to feel like the elephant in the room.
But the ability of a packed peak-hour Sydney train to ignore my supersize existence leaves me gobsmacked.
All eyes are diverted from the moment those lucky seat-dwellers spy me and my belly out the window as the train pulls into my station.
Newspapers, books, phones and iPads become the focus of their attention.
Within seconds the unfortunate souls who find themselves without any reading material to hide behind close their eyes and feign sleep.”
It’s easy to get carried away when anyone talks about the ‘generations’. (Is there even an agreed upon, uniform age for each gen?) But maybe there’s a nugget of truth in all this. Maybe as time drags on, each new brood of people reinterpret what we consider to be manners law. It used to be in vogue for men to help ladies across the street, bow and tip their hats without so much as an introduction. Now they don’t even really wear hats, and so on.
And what’s the difference between eternally relevant good manners and being a bit over the top and unwieldy?
So, over to you. What are the worst manners offences and who are the worst offenders? Can any one group be singled out?