The only boomer men with decent manners come from the first batch, 1946 – 52.
Good manners protected them. They mattered.
Their parents were WWII vintage. Ideas like ‘Unconditional Surrender’ and ‘Enlisted For The Duration’ guided family life. Doing what you were told always made the most sense to the first group.
No kids crossed the manners line twice and speaking well was an important part of self preservation if they did.
They are the boys who grew up to become Boomers With Manners.
An older man takes a moment for a young woman, a stranger. Help with a bag? Hold the door? Suddenly he’s the creepy old man breathing too hard.
The guy cannot help himself. He still thinks he’ll get the belt, or the shoe, or the coat hanger, if he doesn’t show an effort, if he doesn’t exercise those manners.
He’s an older boomer with people starting to treat him like he did you.
Help with your bag, sir?
Hold that door, sir?
He’s getting ‘old ladied’ and he knows it. If he did snap at offered help, the first thought in others would be early dementia.
Like you, he still feels strong. And he’s got balance. The swaying gut over his belt is a counter balance. He couldn’t fall if he wanted to.
He wants to pay it forward.
You won’t see the rest of us boomers try that. The first wave rejected what looked like normal behavior and grew new manners with their tribe. Cool manners.
They got away with it and ruined the manners the rest of us grew up with.
Hold a door for a boomer woman in the seventies and you risked a bra whippin’ on the spot. One hand unhooks the back, the other pulls it out of her shirt’s arm hole, and you’re halfway to twenty lashes before you get away.
Tell your girlfriend she looks pretty and she might garden weasel her face to tone it down. Then yours.
Why not avoid the emo moment. If someone gives a damn and holds a door, say thank you.
If a gray haired man looks fit enough to lean over and drag the eighteen pack of PBR hipster juice from under your Safeway cart while you grip your baby in one arm and a carton of Kools in the other, let him.
Then say thank you.
Do that and boomer won’t give himself a whipping.
BoomerPDX Lesson: Use good manners. It’s easy and they do matter. They always work. (Two South Carolina people at a conference: “We don’t tell people to f – off, or f – you. Instead it’s “Bless your heart.” Manners are like a code.”)
Better Boomer says, help lift the heavy load whenever you can, but don’t get in the way if you can’t.