best foot forward

best foot forward

My sister told me recently about a friend she has who took her first trip to Utah recently. Her response? That people were so fake. Maybe that was true, but it doesn’t really mean much coming from a New Yorker. I think what she probably meant was that people were so nice. Like, they didn’t tell you to put a hat on your child, or offer their opinions of your babywearing or whatever. They were smiley and helpful and not so . . . in-your-face.

This reminded me of another conversation I had with my sister (or maybe it was the same conversation) in which we discussed . . . being “fake.” My sister has another friend who claimed that his family was so “fake” when he was growing up. Like, the cleaned the house when people were coming over. See? Totally fake. Oh, wait. No. No it’s not fake at all.

Fake is pretending to like someone you actually hate. Fake is pretending to like grunge-style when you’d much rather sport Dockers and loafers. I think that kind is the word for not making someone uncomfortable in your presence (even if that person is a stranger!). Hospitable is the word for making your house a comfortable place to be (even if it causes you a bit of discomfort to make it that way).

I am from Utah, and therefore somewhat defensive of my fellow Utahns, despite not having lived there for nearly 7 years and never planning to live there again. But I think they deserve some credit. People talk about Southern hospitality, but I think there is such a thing as Utah hospitality, too. Or maybe it is “Western” hospitality. I don’t think the south has a monopoly on making people feel welcome, no matter how foreign it actually feels to those who are being welcomed by it.

So, my question is, when did it become “fake” to try to make other people feel good in your presence? When did it become “fake” to try to put your best foot forward?

(Stephanie Joy — this didn’t turn out exactly the way I thought it would, but that’s okay, right?)

3 thoughts on “best foot forward

  1. hmmmmm, how to construct my thoughts?….There is no rhyme or reason for these and no real order…

    1)I agree and i disagree ….because

    2) I think that sometimes Utahans can be fake, but so can anybody from anywhere.

    3) I agree that what you said were actually not people being fake but people being nice, except for the person wearing clothes that they don’t really like, i think that can be fake.

    4) Utahans (mostly Utah county…or is it just where there are large populations of Mormons?) can be different than most other people from other places (I probably wouldn’t call it fake), but I think it’s mostly just caused by most people having very similar lifestyles (kinda like Stephanie said), so people get weird sometimes by trying to be different or unique.

    i dunno if that makes any sense at all, but those are my thoughts.

  2. I agree with you 100%, and I think it’s frustrating when people get mad at normal things like the ones you listed. There’s nothing wrong, or rather it’s a very good thing to treat people well and to have your house tidy/well kept when guests come over. And not speaking every opinion you have is not the same as denying/hiding those opinions. So yes, I absolutely agree with you, and I get frustrated when people wrongly accuse others of being something their not.

  3. How embarrassing, I hit submit and realized I put “their” instead of “they’re” at the end of my post. I hate making mistakes like that…

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