Southern Manners and Etiquette

Symbolic interaction is a way of getting to understand the community and its use of signs and symbols. Various verbal clues and facials show whether we as part of the community are pursuing along and abiding by the unspoken principles and rules that govern behavior (Kendall, 2014). Folkways can be described as rules with least or no consequences should we violate them (Ted, 2012). However, southern manners and etiquette are not much different from other norms.

In most cases, violators of these rules are normally considered to be uncivilized, thoughtless or rude. In order to get to understand well how the society governs itself, I found myself violating one of these folkways. I know it’s a commonsense that people should not openly and publicly talk about some of the functions of the body loudly, but I wanted the society to reassure me that doing that was deviant. Since I had gone for shopping with my wife at Wal-Mart, I just remembered to remind my wife about buying herself a sanitary pad since she had started experiencing her monthly periods. Standing in the highly crowded feminine place in the Wal-Mart, I asked my wife in a rather loud voice, if she needed super –duper absorbent maxi-pad since her flow seemed to be so heavy.

My wife could not take it and instead she just burst into a loud thud of laughter.  There and then, a number of people turned our side and stared at us. A shocked elderly woman protectively led her young daughter out of that place. Perhaps she a thought crossed her mind that maybe we were almost demonstrating how this feminine hygiene product is used. A young woman who was shopping alone, picked her stuffs quickly and pushed her shopping buggy from that place. I received quite a number of strange looks to symbolize that something wasn’t right with me. Still determined teach the society about deviant acts, I was not through. Reaching the counter, the cashier cheerfully and friendlily, asked how we were doing as we headed our way out. I instantly told her that we were doing “pretty bad”. The cashier’s curtsy and friendliness immediately vanished. She declined completely to continue with any conversation with us. My wife’s face showed a million of disappointments which made her to stare at me with anger.

Afterwards we went home and I left for the gym. It’s a silent rule that you do the exercise only in the clothes that are specifically designed for the exercise. Examples of such attires may include; sports shoes, shorts, sweatpants and sneakers. So I decided not to put on as expected and instead put on my Sunday best. I wore a white shirt and a black trouser with black shoes.

So I started walking and jogging. Afterwards, I walked over to the machines and chose on the one that I could use without straining since I had not put on the required attire for the exercise. I finally had to leave after twenty minutes or so because I could not take the shame anymore and that I was a bit worried getting hurt due to restricted kind of motion.

While I went through this deviant experience, I was extremely ashamed of myself to make an eye contact with anyone in the room who was staring at me while performing the exercise. I could not afford to look at anybody directly and this made me to concentrate on my marginal vision.

There were a lot of strange looks that came towards my direction from other people. To add to that, the moment I was stepping off the machine, one of the trainers seemed like he wanted to come over and say something but he instead changed his mind the moment I got off the machine. When I looked at someone, he gave me a baffled look and also looked around to see whether someone else had seen the deviant act. They didn’t say anything to me but the awkwardness they felt within themselves was very obvious from their facial expressions and the way they talked to each other before and after I got there.

To be sincere, I felt extremely odd to break this social norm. I can indeed say that the weird feelings were many as a whole due to what was taking place rather than the real act that I was doing.  I did not enjoy my time doing the deviant act but it indeed helped me to know and realize how easy it is to do something in a different manner than expected. I did something I would never have done by choice and in case I saw someone else doing it, I would tend to think that it was very odd and even though no one spoke a word to me. They could only do harmless rude signs and symbols like staring at me strangely.

Though I felt awkward throughout the whole action, it was a good experience to show the society on how violating the norms could be so embarrassing.



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