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This will probably sound mean, but...

doctorbeatdoctorbeat Member
edited January 2014 in The Pub (Off Topic)
...I hate it when people say 'bless you' when I sneeze!

How on Earth did it become 'good manners' to strike up a conversation with a stranger who is in a compromised position?

If I have just sneezed and have snot hanging out of my nostrils, the last thing I want is to have someone draw attention to it by 'politely' saying 'bless you', to which I am obligated to reply 'thank you' while scrabbling about for a handkerchief to wipe mucus off my face.

Since moving to the States, it has got even worse. Complete strangers will say 'bless you' to you if you sneeze in a public space, or even more maddeningly, 'God bless you'.

As a snuff-taking atheist, I have developed a strong aversion to this ridiculous practice.

It's actually affecting my snuff taking habits. My bosses and work colleagues know all about my weird habit, and I snuff openly in my office.
Sometimes though, I decide not to because I don't want to sit through the barrage of 'bless-yous' which inevitably follow.

At least three people bless me every time I take snuff :(

Who's with me?
Does this annoying practice deserve to
die out, or am I just being a grumpy b*****d? :D


  • Sorry, I always appreciate good manners and that represents same. Would you prefer 'Oh gross, get away, why are you in public?'
  • crullerscrullers Member
    edited January 2014 PM
    Saying "Bless you" after somebody sneezes is based on an old superstition that when one sneezes their soul briefly leaves their body (or something to that effect) and it's just turned into a default response to a sneeze over the years. It does not bother me at all when somebody says it to me but I don't offer the same "blessing" in kind.
  • Bless you @doctorbeat ! lol seriously though, I live in the States and know exactly what you mean. I always wondered how the whole "God bless you" thing got started in the first place. I always found it rather odd that my involuntary bodily action warrants that type of response from it seems practically everyone! Especially when I'm not in the greatest of moods ( like now BC I'm out of snuff :p ) it even becomes a bit irritating!
  • No, I'd rather they just pretended not to notice.

    Good manners is saying 'please', 'thankyou', holding a door open, inquiring after someone's health, not drawing attention to a bodily function.

    Although saying 'bless you' is taught as good manners, I don't believe that, as an action, it is a polite thing to do.

    What's next?
    Are people going to greet me on my way out of the bathroom after taking a dump with a hearty round of applause?
  • Sorry, I always appreciate good manners and that represents same. Would you prefer 'Oh gross, get away, why are you in public?'
    I get where your coming from, manners are great! But no response at all, at least when I have snuff and mucous coming out of my nose, would be preferred!
  • Someone told me it goes all the way back to the Black Plague. Someone sneezes, you say "bless you" as a wish that they aren't going to keel over and die. If that's bullshit, blame my primary school teacher.
  • Sickness was always associated with demons when it wasn't understood medically, So god bless you when you sneezed was some believer stating the god had expelled the demon. Shortened to bless you for the agnostic ,My mother just said cover your mouth when you cough. then you go and turn the door knob and get everyone sick. I suggest move to the big apple you could be bleeding on the side walk and people will walk right past. It good to know some folks still have compassion for their fellow man. Next time some one blesses you them them to go suck eggs; I am sure they will stop blessing you!
    My knowledge is worthless if not shared and applied . "Joseph McKenna"  
  • The soul escaping/plage origins sound plausible, but who cares?
    We know now that your soul does not escape when you sneeze, and that saying a blessing will not protect someone from contracing a disease (or affect the outcome if they are already infected).

    It may be 'good manners', but it's obsolete.

    I challenge the nay sayers to try this:

    Go to a large supermarket anywhere in the USA, and sneeze.
    Total strangers all around you will see this as an opening to strike up a conversation with you, and will be offended if you don't thank them for it.

    If they want to be well-mannered, they could try putting their blinker on when driving around a corner or changing lanes on the parkway.

  • Personally, I feel more strongly about near total strangers who expect you to kiss them on the cheek. If someone wants to publicly affirm their hope that I won't die in the next 24 hours, even if they call upon a deity from one of those monotheistic Abrahamic religions that seem to start so many of the world's squabbles, then I'll let it slide without taking offence.
  • I'm going with grumpy bastard. I say bless you as a kneejerk reaction anyway and continue on my merry way. It is just a ritual of our society. This is like saying holding a door open for a lady is sexist. Considering my recent complaining of necroposts in the chitchat thread, maybe I have no room to talk, but come on.
  • From now on when someone farts the "polite" thing is to say congratulations. I too don't enjoy people doing this and really gazoontite or however its spelt would at least be politically correct as to not offend those who do not believe in God atheist agnostic or what have you. Every other thing has to be politically correct
  • It does annoy me, and it irritates me no end that my girlfriend does it as a kneejerk reaction when a stranger even sneezes across the room. since living in situations where drawing attention isnt the best idea, i almost feel physical discomfort when she says it out loud. and this brings me on to my own kneejerk...

    I apologise! im far too english, if she says it loudly i have to restrain the urge to shush her and apologise profusely for disturbing people or getting unnecessarily involved in their business haha.
  • I find that I just can't be bothered to give a fuzzy rats ass whether I am "blessed" or not. There is just too much of actual importance going on in life.
  • Back in the states it was drilled into folks to say it- where a divergence is obvious is when someone says ""Gesundheit" a Germanic variation for immigrant families such as ours. As I was told it was said because ones heart stopped albeit briefly and saying such was because it started back up again.

    Having been spurred to test my Google skills I went searching and found what passes for "information" these days- Wikipedia and where my supposition was somewhat bolstered. And according to it- saying it after a sneeze is quite wide spread.

    Me, I could care less if someone feels compelled to utter it to me after a sneeze.
  • NikolaosNikolaos Member
    edited January 2014 PM
    Its clear a matter of politeness, thats my humble opinion. No trolls,fairies,God or demons here. just an expression of politeness. But in the other hand i respect totally your opinion doctorbeat.
  • @doctorbeat You have officially outed youself as a crank. Welcome to the club!
  • You could just avoid using snuff that makes you sneeze in public. I save the sneezey, mucous inducing snuffs for home use. Not because of the bless you thing I just hate rummaging around for a hanky with snot dripping out of my nostril.
  • @JakartaBay you're quite right. Roots of "bless you" go back to the Black Death.

    Well, there are three main types of plague - one of them attacks lungs. Hundreds years ago people suffering on pneumonic type of plague were often dying right after they sneezed. Sneezing was just killing them. That is why we say "bless you" nowadays.
  • @bigmick Unfortunately ALL snuff makes me sneeze :(
  • cstokes4cstokes4 Member, Moderator
    Moved to the OT section.

    Personally, I'd rather la bise than shake someones nasty hand.
  • I'm an atheist too and whilst some religious practises may slightly grind my gears I can't say 'Bless you' irritates me at all. Live and let live, eh?
  • Yes, it can be annoying at times, but I politely respond with a "Thank you" and go about my business. I wouldn't let it bother me to the point that I felt the need to rant about it on the internet.
  • What I hate is fake "over-southern-ing" as I call it--- or fake "over-yankee-ing" ---- like how everyone here in the South has to attempt a #$#$# hee-haw accent while all up North have to put on some fake mafia/itailio accent---- stupid and it pisses me off entirely :)
  • Yes, it can be annoying at times, but I politely respond with a "Thank you" and go about my business. I wouldn't let it bother me to the point that I felt the need to rant about it on the internet.
    @mjohns @cstokes4
    that's an easy one... do what I do... as them if they're the #$#$;'ing Pope, LMFAO

  • howdydavehowdydave Member
    edited February 2014 PM
    If you have problems with common, everyday, social nicieties then that's YOUR problem.

    You said: "Since I moved..."
    Like it or not, you will have to get used to local colloquialisms!

    Do you feel the same way about a person saying "Good bye"?
    After all... what they are saying is the common contraction for: "God be with you."
  • @howdydave
    boy, that really brought the room down :))
  • It seems to me, that since Dick Dorkins has amassed such a large following, that it has become fashionable for many atheists to mock and be entirely intolerant of anything religious. This is especially apparent on twitter. This is a path I refuse to go down. It is full of hate, superiority-complex and cynicism, and is not for me. There's even a church of atheism now. How fracked up is that? It goes against everything atheist.

    For every crazy theist there's a well balanced theist.
    For every well balanced atheist there's a crazy atheist.

    Blaming every thing that's wrong with the world on religion, as many fanatical atheists are inclined to do, is short-sighted, bigoted, and narrow-minded.

    I repeat, live and let live. There's enough intolerance in this world. Don't add to it.
  • Ok, and please don't turn this into a discussion on religion, thanks.
  • I don't like it either. But I have noticed that the people who say it mean well and that is okay with me. I just ignore it and let it go.
  • SnuffySnuffSnuffySnuff Member
    edited January 2014 PM
    Ok, and please don't turn this into a discussion on religion, thanks.
    Sorry @Xander - your post is possibly directed at me, but let's be honest here. This thread started out as a discussion about religion the second the OP emphasised his disdain for "God bless you" :)

This discussion has been closed.