We would have never done that in our day! 140



View Profile

The 50s and 60s were a great time, but they were also quite a strict time. How many times did you see your mother or father tut-tut when they saw someone doing something that wasn’t considered proper etiquette? Probably a lot. You didn’t want to be one of the commoners! Now, with our technological era and the lack of communication that comes with it, it also feels as if our manners have gone out the window.

Rudeness is not something you encounter every now and then – you’re now living in a rude world and it’s a rude wake up call!

Here is what was in poor taste many years ago, but is just part and parcel nowadays.


Interrupting someone when they are talking to you or someone else

Being interrupted can be quite upsetting, not to mention annoying. There’s nothing worse than being in the middle of a story and another person pipes up with their two cents. Our mothers would have smacked us for talking over the top of someone but now, no one can wait their turn.


In the 50s and 60s, tattoos were reserved for the lower class. You were either a biker, sailor or in the army and there weren’t really any exceptions. These days, millions of people have one or more tattoos, in every class of society.

Eating food with hands

Table manners were always a sign of good breeding but they are as rare as hen’s teeth today. No one places their knife and fork together on the plate, and many people choose to eat with their fingers in place of cutlery. We are shaking our heads!

Contacting someone or making noise after 9pm

If we wanted to speak to someone, it needed to be between 8am and 9pm. Call outside these times and you were being inexplicably rude! But today, we think nothing of writing a text, playing music or calling someone after 9pm.

Asking a man on a date

A man would always ask a lady to date him, and not the other way around. If a girl liked a boy, he would have to do the wooing, but now (thankfully) both men and women ask each other to go for a drink.

Exposed midriff or wearing a skirt above the knee

Everywhere you go, you’re bound to see either a girl with an exposed stomach or a mini skirt, or worse: both. Growing up, we would have gotten the cane for walking outside the house half-dressed but it is a lot less scandalous in 2015. Many women in the public domain feel comfortable wearing short shorts, mini skirts and crop tops.

Being late or cancelling plans at the last minute

A respectable man or woman would never arrive late to a meeting or engagement 50 years ago, but now our rudeness has reached astronomical levels. We think nothing of inconveniencing people daily because, well, they do it to us! Pencilling someone into your diary is never a permanent booking.

Women swearing

If our mothers heard us swearing when we were children, we’d never see the light of day again. Much the same if we were a young lady – it was unacceptable and common to be heard swearing in polite company. Today, foul words are flung around like no one’s business!

Wearing hats indoors

The epitome of rudeness used to be (and up until about 20 years ago) wearing your hat inside. School teachers, priests and even movie theatre ushers would politely ask you to remove your hat. Now, we see celebrities and everyday people alike wearing caps, hats and fascinators indoors without so much as a thought.

Forgetting to pay attention to the person you’re with

Our smart phones have changed our lives and how we interact, and one of the rudest things we can do even today is pick up the phone and scroll through Facebook when we are out at lunch or even talking one-on-one with someone. It makes you wonder how we could hole our attention without phones back in the day? It’s blatant rudeness!


What other bad behaviours do you see that use to be incredibly rude when you were growing up? Do you consider them rude or in poor taste now? Or have you loosened up your expectations? Tell us below.

Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. he social protocols are the oil that lubricates persona interaction, and their demise will be a cause for regret in society. This is already becoming apparent, although not as universal as might be the case. there are still parents who are bringing up their children with manners…. 🙂

  2. If your writers are going to dabble in social history, get it right.

    Ladies were allowed to wear a hat indoors on social occasions, and expected to wear one in Church and when paying visits. It was men who were expected to take off their hats.

    Miniskirts were all the rage in the nineteen sixties, and skirts had been above the knee before that.

    Using your smartphone to scroll through FB in a restaurant is probably because the music is pumped up so high you can’t have a conversation even if you want to.

    Placing your knife and fork together on the plate was, and still is, an international signal to a waiter that you have finished with that plate. It isn’t, strictly, a matter of manners.

    5 REPLY
    • Long before that it was considered the correct thing to do whenever one had finished a meal, not necessarily just to let the maid or waiter (if out) one had finished. The proper system in a restaurant is for the staff to wait until everyone at the table has finished their course – not collect plates prior to that.

    • So right Anne and Angela. No plates collected until all have finished the meal, that’s why if u don’t want to finish what’s on your plate the cutlery is placed correctly on the plate. An indication you have finished.

    • I still follow this protocol (maybe because I was a RAAF steward for 20 years) and waiting staff at our club really seem to appreciate it.

  3. A man doesn’t know to walk on the outside of a woman. Also don’t open the car door .

    1 REPLY
    • Sorry to disagree, Lyndall. Not only those, but help with the shopping, compliment on the new hairdo, help into jacket, move chair at table, hold umbrella to protect, “Sit down, you’ve cooked tea, I’ll wash up,” plus a whole lot more.

  4. Being late is still rude

    8 REPLY
    • My father always said;
      “If you turn up late for an appointment then you are showing the other person you have no respect for them”.
      I have lived by this and always make sure I am at least five minutes early for appointments.

      1 REPLY
      • All of the above are true. Women did wear hats indoors, but not men and certainly not a cap on backwards at the dinner table!
        Punctuality is always expected in the communities I move in and I have taught this to my children and grandchildren.
        Courtesy costs nothing—practise it!

    • Yes, I agree and in business and in private life have always made a point of being on time. But this is not always possible, and if I can’t be on time I ring and advise my delay. This includes ringing business clients or my hairdresser if I’m going to be late. It is about respect for others, eg your time is valuable as is mine. Sadly not often reciprocated. On a lighter note, have often turned up to a party or dinner on time to find no one else has arrived, and on one occasion found the hostess in the garden and waited for her to have a shower and get dressed and answered the door to her guests

    • I have an almost phobic hatred of being late. Once I’m ready to leave the house I just have to go. I can’t remember the last time I was late for anything.

    • I very quickly learnt to say at least half an hour earlier than the real time for a party/BBQ/lunch when I first came to Australia. I was shocked at the way people would casually stroll in an hour after I had said we would be eating with some inane excuse. Fast forward a few decades and we don’t even bother keeping food for them, decided it was their problem not ours.

    • A pet hate of mine, people being late. There is no excuse now with mobiles just call and tell the person who is waiting. It is that easy.

  5. Angela Cockburn you are correct about the hat/headwear for women, especially in church. Hats and gloves for women were a commonplace ‘going out’ attire, especially in the 50’s (my era) and more than just a fashion/good breeding statement. Once a woman arrived at her destination, her hat and gloves could be/were usually removed unless the event dictated otherwise. Men NEVER wore hats indoors – this was definitely a sign of bad manners. Skirts above the knees appeared with the Roaring Twenties with the Mini Skirt the rage of the 60’s, along with Bikinis. Both are still here today. I still place my knife and fork together when my eating is completed and taught my children that too. Women’s liberation unfortunately challenged a man’s respect for a woman eg: walking on the kerb-side, pulling out a dining chair, opening car doors and other ‘gentlemanly acts’. We are an age of technology and with it goes anti-social behaviour.

  6. What I miss the most about the demise of good manners is that good manners forced people to consider others – even when they didn’t feel inclined to. And that was a good thing because, quite often, when you were forced to consider others, you ended up discovering that they had a lot to offer: it was just the ‘outside packaging’ that didn’t suit your personal taste.

    I taught my children the ‘spirit / essence’ of good manners. For example, I don’t believe in ‘respecting your elders’ because age alone isn’t worthy of respect. I taught my children to respect everyone until they gave you very good reasons not to respect them. And the salient point about older people was that their years meant that they might have experienced and learnt a lot, so if you had any sense, you should try listening to them and learning from them. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *