The title stands for Manners & Etiquette According to Me, and this may become a reoccurring theme here. Sometimes I just need to get something out of my system, or I may just want to share something I think everyone should follow in the department of manners and etiquette. I guess the first “official” post to this category should be the one called Bleeping Beep that I published back in April.
Today though I have something different. It’s kind of an addition to an already existing rule of etiquette – the rule of excusing oneself after expelling excess gas (through either end).
Allow me to set the scene. You’re hanging out with someone (or a bunch of people) and suddenly you hear a random “excuse me” from the person you’re with, completely out of nowhere. Your immediate reaction is “what? Excuse you for what?” An onslaught of possible meanings for the much overused “excuse me” begins to zip through your brain as you try to make sense of what you just heard. Is someone trying to get through? Did someone interrupt? What is going on?!?
What actually happened is that the person who said, “excuse me” felt the need to excuse themselves after burping or passing gas. The whole confusing mess (well, maybe not all of the mess) could have been avoided by following my simple rule:
Thou shalt not excuse thyself in a voice louder than the sound your body hath made.
Let me explain. It’s really quite simple. If you say “excuse me” in a voice louder than the noise your body made, people are going to hear you excuse yourself that didn’t hear what you did. Why do you need to excuse yourself to them? Even if there’s a smell, they didn’t hear the noise so you don’t need to excuse yourself unless they say something (or pass out).
If the loudness of your voice matches the volume of your blunder, only those who heard the deed will hear you excuse yourself, and this avoids the confusion entirely.
Personally, I excuse myself in a voice softer than my bodily function’s volume. In this way, I completely avoid the confusion, and (as an added bonus) I keep those barely within earshot of the bodily noise guessing as to what just happened. This is much more fun than being a bore and assuring myself everyone hears my apology for contributing to global warming in the most natural way.