Frieda my lovely mother is a frequent contributor to LaughWithUsBlog. She is sharing a story today from her college days:
After I left college, I spent six months with my parents in Nicaragua. When I came back to the States I spent a few days at the college from which I had graduated, visiting with friends. While I was at staying in the women’s dorm, some of my best friends introduced me to a girl who was from their home church. This girl was, incidentally, reputed to be rich, at least by our standards then. The church they were from was in a city known for Southern culture and some of the students from there seemed to consider themselves “high class.” They were up on all the strictest rules of etiquette from table manners, to dating, to dress— for instance, exactly the day in the season it was proper to start wearing what color shoes.
This girl and her friend invited me to dinner at one of the nicest restaurants in town. I was grateful, but I didn’t know what to think when they invited me to their dorm and proceeded to have me try on their clothes, which they wanted me to wear for our dinner date. Admittedly, I had very few clothes, but I thought I had something perfectly suitable for the occasion.
Before I left Nicaragua I had made myself a brown suit with a coordinating orange and brown blouse. Mother and I had walked all over downtown Managua in very hot weather looking in all the fabric stores before I settled on the perfect fabric. I even bought shoes to match. There was no such thing in Nicaragua at that time as size 8 triple A, so I paid a shoemaker to make them, going by a picture from the Sears catalog. They did not fit, but he said I had to buy them now that he had made them. He told me too late that of course he didn’t have a last to fit my strange feet. Those shoes always hurt my feet, but they were pretty so I wore them anyway.
Oh, well, I thought, maybe it was just that these girls thought it would be a treat for me to wear their pretty clothes.
I hadn’t been to that many fancy restaurants, but they said I could order anything on the menu that looked good, so I did. I ordered liver and onions, and buttermilk to drink. I know now that was probably strange, but they acted shocked and embarrassed. Then during the whole meal they talked to each other about people I didn’t know and things I knew nothing about. I’m not easily offended, so I wasn’t bothered by being left out, but my opinion was that they were not demonstrating “high class” manners even if they did use the right fork and fold the napkin, or not fold it, just so.
I remember the whole incident with amusement and hope I have used it as a reminder how not to make someone feel special.