Ask Mr. Manners

Introductions and good ol’ fashioned life advice

The words of a high school theater teacher echo through my head daily, “You make two things in the theater, entrances and exits!” This phrase has been extremely influential on me in how I make a first impression, have a first date or how I just try to represent myself well in any situation.

Allow me a chance to make my introduction. In society we respond best to labels that are quick and short. Simply put, I am the gentleman among the Mormons, or to clarify the Southern gentleman.

Having been raised in the south, I have been privy to country club gatherings, cotillion/etiquette classes and traditions that some deem dead while others simply nod in disagreement and correct them with the word forgotten. Regardless, my experiences are now yours for the taking. I hope to be able to impart upon you bits of wisdom and stories that will help you find the gentleman within yourself.

My credentials rest upon a plaque mounted to my wall. It reads: “The South; where tea is sweet and accents are sweeter; summer starts in April; front porches are wide and words are long; macaroni and cheese is a vegetable; pecan pie is a staple; Y’all is the only proper pronoun; chicken is fried and biscuits come with gravy; everything is darling and someone is always getting their heart blessed.” By no means am I trying to turn Salt Lake City into the set for Steel Magnolias, but you can’t go wrong learning a bit from tradition. Never fear, my life has also taken me to New York City (the center of the universe) where I lived and worked and also allowed for me to travel the world. For those who feared old wives tales you can rest assured knowing those stories are backed with real life experience.

Back to the topic of introductions, they should be like any lady’s skirt: long enough to cover the topic, but short enough to keep it interesting.  You have received mine in just a few short sentences, but if we were in person I would add a firm handshake (or hug depending on the company), flash a smile and tip my hat – yes, gentlemen wear hats, but more on that later. The overall lesson here is that you have to be true to yourself. Find who you are, remove expectation, replace it with confidence and then it will all fall into place.

If you remember from my opening, there are two things that you make, and so I leave you with an exit. I will quote RuPaul, Tim Gunn, and my mother, “Boy, you better make it work!” Removing all of their sass (and I easily bet my mother tops the celebrities combined) this is simply just an admonishment to be better – and from one gentleman to another, we can always be better. Lets get to it!

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