Mr. Kris Wolfe blogged on "Good Guy Swag" that there are lots of lost traditions that gentlemen should still use today. Some of them are still valid; some...not so much anymore. But on the grounds that ANYthing a guy does nowadays that is anything near the old school way of being a gentleman is a good thing, I thought we could look over Wolfe's list and see how we're doing. (Note: I am often the recipient of a kind smile and "thank you" from ladies when I hold a door open for them, and for that I thank my dear departed Dad, who would be less pleased to see me wear a hat indoors.)
Many of the rules that seem a bit...odd...today have their roots in sensible practices from long ago.
It's a matter of respect for a man to stand when a lady enters the room where he is sprawled on the Barca-Lounger. This is sort of like getting up when your friends meet you in a restaurant. The best is when you're halfway out of your chair, and the lady says, "Oh, don't get up!" and you sink right back down like a 20-lb. sack of sweet potatoes.
This one still applies: a man should walk on the street side when he is promenading down The Avenue with a woman. Back in the day, this was so that he would be the one splashed by mud or whatever when a horse and buggy rode by. Today, we try to make sure that as we walk through the mall, one's lady friend is not assailed by people offering to rearrange her eyebrows with thread or sell her magic skin ointments from the Dead Sea.
Yes, it's still good to open a car door for her, or at least hit the OPEN DOOR button as you enter the Pic 'N' Pay together. This dates back to the days when a woman would be wearing a long, heavy skirt and would be busy hiking up the hemline as she entered the Apothecary, so we still do it even though those long skirts are not seen so much around here anymore.
Wolfe says that a gentleman never criticizes a home-made meal. That's only common sense, and if you want a slice of that Sara Lee Walnut Ring you saw defrosting in the kitchen, just don't say a word about the swordfish.
“Frequent and loud laughter is the characteristic of folly and ill-manners…” is a quote Mr Wolfe pulled for us, written in 1746 in some old book, written long before people started calling live television shows and hollering "Baba Booey! Baba Booey!"
You don't see this one too much anymore, but a gentleman is supposed to pull out a lady's chair, which is hard to do when you're squeezing into a booth at OMG!It's Friday's. You should let her sit down first, though.
He helps her put on/take off her coat...but it gets interesting when the person holding the coat is of my towering height, forcing women to jump up to try to thread their wrists into the arm holes of their jackets.
It's still polite to give up seat on a bus, train, or motorcycle to allow a woman to sit down. Sure, that might mean the man walks home as the woman roars off...
A gent should carry a lady's bags as you leave the mall or pawn shop. But sometimes just offering to tote will be enough. She really doesn't want you pulling out stuff on the way back to the car, asking, "What's this for?"
He holds an umbrella over her when it rains. But unless I am walking with a woman from the WNBA, any umbrella I hold to protect myself is about a yard over the head of a woman walking with me, and ducking under the umbrella of a regular-size lady won't work for me unless I am rehearsing the role of Toulouse-Lautrec.
It's the same with the rule about giving a lady your jacket if she is chilly. My coat on the back of a lady tends to look like it's on loan from Ringling Brothers. It's usually better to ask them to turn up the heat in the saloon.
A gentleman keeps a lady's secrets, even if he is one of them.
He is on time. Plan in advance and be there on time. Take a magazine to read, though.
The last rule for a gentleman is to pay a woman a compliment. It's funny that we use the word "pay" in this sense, because it doesn't cost a nickel to tell someone they look nice or they are pleasant company or they have an enjoyable personality.
And now, gentle reader, I bid you adieu. May I be first to tell you, you look marvelous today?