Phone etiquette not just a fad from the past

Published: Wednesday, March 12, 2014 at 06:02 PM.

When I was a teenager, I stumbled through the normal blackboard jungle of hormonal and behavioral rites of passage, part and parcel of the growing-up process. From my first memories of us having a phone, Dad was insistent about the use of proper etiquette as defined by him.

From the “who would’ve thunk it” department, those mandatory phone habits pounded into my head served me very well during formative years of my dating life. It turned out my exercise of simple, basic courtesy ingratiated me with girls’ parents, way out of proportion to my efforts.

Dad had insisted I always identify myself up front; therefore, when I dialed any girl and somebody else answered I said in a very clear voice, “Hello, this is Otis Gardner, may I please speak to …?” Parents appreciated knowing who was calling their daughter. I was my own caller ID long before it was imagined.

Truthfully, grown-ups appreciated the consideration and manners so much I was told on numerous occasions by dates that their moms or dads “loved” me. That was nice to hear but sometimes a ticking bomb.

More than once I’ve had girls pass me at the Pavilion and whisper, “If Mom asks, I was with you tonight.” Oh my, I wondered how I’d look in tar and feathers.

So, through very basic and simple courtesies, my life was made smoother, especially where it involved Alexander Graham Bell. Amazingly, even with the unbelievable proliferation of finger-to-finger connective technologies in this day and age, there’s still a place for some old-fashioned etiquette and good manners attached to phone use.

I still identify myself up front, even though all calls to dates’ parents have long since faded into the dim past. It’s just an imbedded habit in me, and I appreciate receiving the same considerations in return.

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