Friday, February 6, 2009

Chivalry = Etiquette + Courtesy


This is always a tough one, with machismo and feminism thrown in for good measure. There is even the silly argument that since women have fought for equality, then they should not expect men to do anything extra for them. Some view being chivalrous or courteous to women because they are the weak and fragile little things, while others feel that doing these ‘extra’ things makes them appear nice. The etiquette of yesteryear was based on two things: respect and chivalry, whereas the etiquette of today accounts for only the respect element. Yesteryear: the woman exited the elevator first. Today: the person closest to the door exits the elevator first. Yesteryear: the man held the door for the woman. Today: the person reaching the door first holds the door for others to pass through. Yesteryear: men shook hands Today: people shake hands Yesteryear: people waited to start dinner until the woman picked up her fork Today: people wait to start dinner until the host or hostess picks up his or her fork. Yesteryear: the man picked up the check Today: the host or hostess picks up the check Agreed, times have changed. New situations demand a new approach. Agreed also that the modern courtesy need not rival the old world charming chivalry, but if some basics can be sustained, it will go a long way in differentiating boys from brats and men from gentlemen. Trust the tested that this will not even make any macho honcho look a silly billy by combining courtesy and etiquette with basic chivalry. Go ahead, try it, and see if you don’t get the nodding approval and a smile from any lady.

Posted on 07/11/08

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