Bringing back “May I?”

I was on an airplane with a colleague. When the flight attendant rolled up with the drink cart, I asked for a Diet Coke. My colleague said, “May I have a glass of orange juice?”

I thought about that. I thought about it for a long time (we were flying from India to Germany. I had nothing but time.) I realized that I’d somehow let “May I” drop out of my vocabulary. My mother had insisted upon it, and I knew that I’d used it for a long time, but I wondered, when did it disappear, and when was the last time I heard other people using it?

I decided then and there to bring it back, as an example for my kids and for anyone who might be listening. So for the last six months, it’s been, “May I have a grande nonfat vanilla latte?” at Starbucks. “May I just have a warning, officer?” on the road, and “May I purchase the winning lottery ticket?” at the convenience store.

Seriously, though, I think it’s making a difference.

Think about it. The last time you ordered at a restaurant, did it sound like this: “I will have the petite filet, rare, baked potato with butter and a side salad. Could I have the dressing on the side?”

May I? Bring it back.

About marijean

I'm a public relations professional, social media consultant and work-at-home-mom living and working in Charlottesville, Va. I'm Marijean Jaggers and this is my blog.
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4 Responses to Bringing back “May I?”

  1. We’re big on manners here in our house and “may I” is part of that. We went out to dinner last night (Continental Divide — the tuna tostada was divine) with my in-laws. My FIL said, “I’ll have the…” and so did my MIL. Pete, the girls, and I, however, all said either “Could I please have…” or “May I …”

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  3. Michelle says:

    I had SO many teachers that tried to teach us “may I.” So, if you asked, “Can I go to the bathroom?” The reply was always, “Well, yes, you have the ABILITY…” Then, of course, you had to rephrase your question to “May I go to the bathroom,” before you wet your pants.

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