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Advertise on the Tentacle

June 16, 2011

Miss Manners, Iím not, butÖ.

Joan Marie Aquilino

My intent is not to call anyone in particular out but rather raise an awareness that I hope others will note and change. There has been a steady decline in the decorum being presented in our county meetings.


Over the last few years, four-plus to be exact, I’ve noticed that the boards and commissions in this county are becoming more and more disheveled. No, I don’t expect formal attire but clean, combed, no flip flops, Birkenstocks or shorts and certainly not wearing something that you’d cut grass in, or turn your compost heap in would be a welcome as well as a professional change. Like it or not, you are still judged by your appearance and your appearance represents our county.


Along with the lax dress code, also emerging is a lack of personal control and manners during meetings. We’ve come a long way in making meetings available to the public; but it does very little good when you are distracted by members in shorts, legs up beyond the table height and shirts open or look as if they were rolled up in a ball in the back seat of someone’s car for the past month.


What is with this sloppy attire? When you sit on a county board, committee or commission, show your pride in yourself and our county by your behavior and appearance both. Shave, put a comb through your hair and a clean buttoned up shirt and, for goodness sake, sit up.


I bet you anything that your mothers taught you better and if not, then you are now an adult, grow up and learn some manners. Don’t ask for your words to be taken seriously when you can’t even take your own appearance seriously – or show respect for others.


Your un-kept or untidy appearance does not show the respect, pride or honor of being elected or appointed to these positions. You are community leaders. Behave as such. I’ve been wanting to say something about this for several years but now others are commenting, too; so it’s not just me, it’s just me being either brave or foolish enough to point a finger at you.


For some silly reason we seem to be afraid to point out unbecoming behavior. Why? Why are we afraid to expect behavior that is polite? Those yelling the loudest for civil and thoughtful behavior are many times the ones with the least amount of manners and proper decorum. It’s time to expose it and expect better.


Along with this lax dress comes other less than desirable behavior in interrupting and talking over others.


I won’t go much further into this one, but let it be known that a friend of mine and I used to turn away because of a lack of manners while other officials were eating a meal. Those buffet glass shields could have been better used at many a lunch table to protect us from flying V.V. (verbiage & vegetation). It felt like we were in the middle of a Roseanne Barr show where she flaps her lips eating as well as multi-tasking talking.


Believe me there is nothing that important you or anyone else has to say that can’t wait until your mouth is empty of food. We barely care about what you have to say and we certainly don’t care to see what you are eating.


I realize the world has changed and it’s a much more casual place than the one I was raised in. We dressed for doctors’ appointment, shopping, etc., and we put on our very best to go to the airport.


Those things don’t necessarily work today, but when it comes to a county seat we need to do better. It would be a shame if along with a resumé the county would have to institute a dress code for those applying for positions.


Take a look in the mirror or – better yet – go view your appearances and performances on your board, committee or commission and see if you might be one that could use a bit of improvement or even a total overhaul.


Chairmen, presidents please pay more attention and actually run meetings in such a way as to not only set the example but to also require respect for all members by not allowing interruptions.


What is really shocking is the way staff is sometimes poorly treated when they are presenting or answering questions. Give them their due and show respect whether you agree or not. Your opportunity will come. Wouldn’t you like the same respect for your efforts?


Last thought, those microphones are always on, turn away when you are choking, sniffling, snorting, grunting, coughing or saying things under your breath. We hear it all and don’t want to.


Emily Post is now leaving the room, but she and the rest of us are watching so, use your manners, make your mama proud, and make Frederick proud. You are a reflection of our county which we all love and that reflection can be a bit dull, unkempt and embarrassing at times.


As always, we need to hear from you the reader so, let us know what’s on your mind by writing: or contacting me directly at


. . . . .'til next time . . .


“Just Joan” saying be safe and, “don’t believe everything you think”


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