Friday, February 6, 2009

Being Chivalrous is being Courteous


Yes. I know. Most of the below points may seem quite mundane or even totally outdated to the modern-era ears. However, that does not mean we cannot imbibe them or that we should not be doling the basics. Even the feeble argument “if I don't understand why it's customary, I don't really have to do it", reeks of sheer laziness disguised as semantics.
First, try and figure out why polite men remove their hats indoors, and we do not mean indoors as in a saloon or a barber’s shop.
•Polite men stand when a lady enters the room, and also when she departs. Actually, everyone, regardless of gender, should stand when an elder, or a very important person, enters or leaves. Sit back after a cursory check to ensure that the ladies at your table are seated. Please do not keep standing waiting for the last lady in the room to sit down.
•Polite men should open doors for ladies. We have covered this, but there is an angle here. Please actually hold the door for the lady instead of flinging it open and running through, leaving her to sprint through before it slams. Do not just open the door, but also step to the side while the lady passes through. The gent may be required to mention "after you", in case the lady is hesitant. Now, in case it is a revolving door, the gent should enter it first so that he may assist in gently pushing the door. Please gentlemen, we do mean ‘gently’.
•Polite men will offer to assist a lady at a self-service counter to fetch their order. Please offer assistance only if the lady seems helpless, especially those with small children or if pregnant. This courtesy offer should also include the elderly or handicapped people of either gender. Please do not offer to pay for the stuff.
•Polite men may sometimes order for the lady in a restaurant, but please, only after seeking permission and inquiring with the lady her particular preference. It would be quite awkward and out of place to order your preference for her too and then discover she does not eat that particular food for whatever reasons. Please refrain from voicing about the high price and small portions.
•Polite men will pay the bill if they have asked the lady out on a date. However, if the lady has requested the gent’s company, then she may take the responsibility of paying. In longer-term relationships, it is absolutely fine to switch paying the tab as both have jointly made the plan and share an understanding. Please pre-decide who pays instead of both reaching for their wallets at the same time.
•Polite men know when to lead and when to precede. When taking seats at a concert hall, a movie theater, a seminar or lecture hall, etc, the girl precedes the boy into the row of seats. However, in a restaurant, when the maitre d' or the table steward is leading you to your table, the lady precedes the gent. Please, under both situations, do not race the lady to the seat.
•Polite men know they are expected to pull the chair for the lady while seating at a table, and that this maneuver requires poise with a bit of practice to be done with tact and grace. Please do not indulge in any misadventure on mistiming, no matter how tempting the thought of literally pulling the chair.
•Polite men will assist a lady get into her coat. Just stand behind her and hold the coat by the shoulders while she puts her arms into it. Please do not even attempt to button it up for her.

Posted in the community by Arun Chaturvedi on 07/12/08

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