Tag Archives: Don Draper

start calling people ma’am or sir.

16 Jun

Like standing when a lady enters the room, calling someone ma’am or sir is one of the finer points of etiquette that’s losing its footing with the current generation.  And while I’m okay seeing some things die off from that era (like those weird Organ stores in the mall), the common courtesy of a respectful address is a baton worth carrying.

Gentlemen, my encouragement to you is that you default to calling people ma’am or sir or, if you’re hella’ English, madam and squire.  Why?  Because it’s classy.  When the lady at the check-out counter says, “Thanks for shopping at Fatties” and you say, “Yes ma’am, thanks for your help,” people behind you in line are going to say, “Now there’s a real captain of industry type!”.  When your Uncle, who likes you because he knows that you know and are cool with “it”, introduces you to his new “friend” and you say, “Pleasure to meet you sir,” everyone around you will have a reverence for your maturity.

Dude, I’m not saying that Old English crap.  I’m keeping it real with bro or pal!

Otter, Animal HouseBroseph, we’re not in your frat house getting stoked about the huge “Killer BP” party (Beer Pong).  You’re an adult, and you live in the real world. Bro, pal, chief, Dr. Wang, etc., are all reserved for the close friends who put up with your idiocy.  Put away the toga and bust out the manners.

Here’s a word of caution, you’re going to get some push back on this ma’am/sir thing.  When you call a guy sir, he’s probably not going to say anything and just think you’re respectful.  When you call a lady ma’am, you may get a surprising, “Don’t call me ma’am, I’m not old enough for that!”

First of all, yes she is.  But we always want to respect that our XX sisters are a bit more sensitive to age than the XY’s, so here’s a line I use all the time that works like a charm:

Very old lady: “Ma’am? I’m too young to be called ma’am!”
Grown Man: “I can assure you [looking square into her eyes], it’s about respect, not age.”

Snap!   I’m telling you, the “respect not age” line will defuse the bomb 99% of the time and lets them know that, in fact, you are just calling them ma’am because you’re polite, not because you see them as your elder.

Here are a few closing rules for ma’am and sir:

– Use it for everyone, regardless of age.  11-year-old kids know when they’re being respected and will appreciate an adult talking to them that way.

– If someone says, “Oh no, please, call me [insert name] Murdock”, feel free to do it.  In fact, it’s better etiquette to call them by their name than to ignore the request.

-Avoid saying ma’am in southern accent, lest you sound like Matthew McConaughey (alright, alright).

Thanks for reading, kind sir.

Remember, tomorrow is Ask A Grown Man Thursday.

never, ever, be rude to customer service people.

10 Jun

Here’s the scenario: You’re having a nice dinner with some friends and you order a few evening cordials. Your waiter (we’ll call him Putting Myself Through College) scurries away and a riveting conversation continues questioning the resurgence of Dutch Modern furniture (it’s because of Mad Men, by the way). Suddenly, there’s a collective realization that Putting Myself Through College is taking about 10 times longer than he should be. You and your friends start to mutter little statements like “I guess he’s distilling the scotch” (snicker, snicker) and “Hope he didn’t get lost” (Good one, Chet!) and, just like that, the waiter is the enemy.

When Putting Myself Through College returns, nobody makes eye-contact with him. All your friends know that you E-vited the party and are, therefore, the evenings host. So you, alone, are stuck with the decision: Am I going to be nice to the guy or give him his comeuppance? Grown Men choose the former, you likely choose the later and say, “I’m not sure if we’re even in the mood for these now [you fruitlessly try to make eye contact with your friends], well, whatever, we’ll take them.” Putting Myself Through College sucks it up, apologizes, and hands out your Jackass and Cokes.

For a number of reasons, being rude to “the help” is unacceptable. While I shouldn’t have to explain why, the unfortunate prevalence of this behavior forces me to. Here we go.

First, customer service people have a difficult job that you don’t understand. They live and work in a place where stress is the currency and being the killed messenger is literally their job. 99% of the time, waiters can’t help it if the drinks are late – the bartender is up to her eyeballs because the co-tender called in sick at the last-minute, the computers that the restaurant uses just went down and everybody’s freaking out, another table is going bat-crap because little Walter has a nut allergy and didn’t know the Almond Tart would kill him, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. Think of your job, aren’t there times when you go nuts because you can’t do the things you need to do as a result of external influences?

Second, being rude is never acceptable. This may come as a revelation to some of you, but your desire to lash out with sarcasm and biting words shows a lack of class and an inability to control yourself.

Grown Man, you’re a freaking tool, I hate you.

All right, quit being rude – I knew you wouldn’t like this bit of advice. You know why? Because being rude is fun! You’ve got embarrassment built up because you’re trying to be cool with your friends and host them well – and they’re thirsty. You’re frustrated because you just got off a plane and can’t imagine a reason why the car rental place didn’t hold your reservation. And so, your negative feelings bubble up to the surface and being rude give you a perfect opportunity to let off some steam and return to normal. Gentlemen, being rude is a reflex response for those who have yet to learn how to control emotion and empathize. Being rude is for children and talk radio hosts – not Grown Men.

Seriously though, my [customer service person] sucked. This dude was really terrible and had no reason for being so bad.

Fair enough, not every customer service person is a victim of the circumstances around them and I’m not asking you to go through life biting your tongue. Here’s what you should do, give it ten minutes to allow the rude volcano to subside. When that time has elapsed and you feel like you can be an adult about the situation, politely address the offender. Don’t curse, don’t insult the person, give a very factual representation of the issue and how your expectations weren’t met. If that person doesn’t seem receptive, speak to the next level up (manager, comment card, 800 number, web site) and state your case. After that, just drop it. You want justice and you want control – both of which are illusions.

Grown Men, it’s time to raise the bar on how we treat the service industry. If your Let’s Make a Mistake shots run a little late, simply engage your friends a riveting conversation about “the stupid blog you’ve been reading and why the guy writing it is probably a huge dork who has never even seen a girl.”

How dare you.

stand up when a lady enters the room.

4 May

Here’s a simple one. When a lady enters the room, stand-up. It’s polite, it’s charming, and it’s a small point of etiquette that’s being lost.

But Grown Man, women want equity! Why should we treat them any different from men?

Because you can’t procreate with those men. Women get unique rules because they have unique plumbing. You treat them different (better) because they are different (better).

There you go, that’s all I’ve got.

learn a proper handshake.

6 Apr

I find myself remiss in going this long without addressing one of the cardinal characteristics of a grown man – a proper handshake. Why, just yesterday I was dead-fished (limp handed) by a guy – yuck. No matter how much of a standup dude the fella may be, a lame handshake turns any Don Draper into a Don Knotts.

Here are the rules:

-Squeeze hard enough to register as a grip, but not hard enough to elicit a scream. Think of it this way, 1 is no-pressure (dead fishing), 10 is Andre the Giant hands crushing your fem-phalanges in a vice-grip. Turn the dial somewhere between 5-7 and you’ll be fine.

-Make eye contact! If they have a lazy eye, pick a pupal and stick with it. Lazy eye chaps know when your indecisive about optical selection and can get hostile.

-Include a salutation. “Hello, I’m Grown Man.” “Hey, Andre, good to see you again!” Shaking without talking is called holding hands.

-In the unfortunate event of a mis-grip, squeeze whatever part of their hand you happen to hook (usually some part of the wrist or thumb) and commit. Nothing is worse than you fumbling around trying to get a piece of that palm. Please note, you must try to shake their hand again at some point within one hour of the event, less you be branded forever as a wrist wrangler.

-If you’re in doubt about whether or not to shake hands, do it. If you’re questioning hug vs. handshake, go with the handshake. It’s way easier to do the hand-out-for-a-shake-and-around-for-the-hug move than the inverse.

-If your mom is telling you to “shake hands and make up” with your brother after a fight, crush the hell out of that hand. Actually, I guess the saying is “hug and make up”. Squeeze the hell outta that guy.

-If you’re shaking a lady-friend’s hand, follow all the same rules above except for one. Dial the pressure down a bit on the scale to the 4-5 range. Women are every bit as worthy of a good hand shake as a man, they just have lovelier hands that don’t need crushing by your callused claws.

Enjoy getting a job and impressing people with your well tuned shake!

go to Church.

4 Apr

It’s Easter, go to Church. It can be a weird church or your run-of-the-mill First Church of [your town]. But seriously, twice a year (Christmas Eve is the other one) won’t kill you. While you’re at it – wear a suit.

Happy Easter, grown men.

buy a suit.

26 Mar

C’mon, it’s a wedding, you’re too old to be wearing khakis your mom bought you with an ill-fitting blue dress shirt. It’s not high-school, nobody is impressed by your ability to dress poorly because you and your soccer buddies have to dress up on Friday.
This guy knows how to wear a suit
Suit rules:
1- For your first suit, buy charcoal or blue.
2- Wear a white dress shirt
3- Get a tie that would have looked cool 50 years ago
4- Find your best dressed friend, copy him. I can assure you, you’re unable to go it alone.

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