Although perhaps hearkening back to a bygone era, the little things that make a man into a gentleman are still as meaningful and admirable today as they were in the past. Although women are considered equal to men in modern-day, enlightened society, the small acts viewed as “chivalrous” can be seen expressions of respect and not dominance. At the end of the day, anything which makes a lady feel admired and appreciated will probably score a man points.
1. Stand up
When a lady walks into a room or approaches a table, it’s customary for gentlemen to stand up as a sign of respect.
2. Sidewalk etiquette
Although perhaps nobody really expects a guy to throw down his expensive coat on every puddle in the street, walking nearest the street and protecting a lady from the elements (rain, mud, snow, splashing form passing cars/buses etc.) is still kind.
3. Opening doors
Your mother definitely taught you this one. A gentleman always opens doors, whether they belong to a building, car or otherwise.
4. Chair care
It is common for a gentleman to pull out a lady’s chair, making it easier for her to be seated. A little-known extra touch to this custom is to always let a lady have the better of any seats at a table (example: facing a window as opposed to a wall). Also, a gentleman always waits for a lady to sit down before he does – evidence of which you can still see on talk shows, when hosts receive their guests. If it’s good enough for Conan O’Brien then it’s good enough for you.
Throughout history, women wore corsets and had very limited movement in the upper body. Therefore, men traditionally helped them take their coats off and on. Modern fashion has gotten rid of corsets, but not kindness.
6. Making Room
If there are no available seats on a train, bus, etc., a gentleman will always give his seat up for a lady, pregnant or otherwise.
7. Bearing the load
A gentleman will help a lady carry bags and packages.
8. Paying the bill
Although debated during the age of women’s liberation, a gentleman will still at least OFFER to pay the bill on a date. If a lady insists on contributing, that’s her choice, but shouldn’t be expected.
9. Inclement weather
It’s accepted that a gentleman will hold his umbrella to protect a lady before himself, and likewise give up his coat if she is cold.
10. Walk of honor
A true gentleman will always walk a lady to her car or home, never leaving her alone in a potentially intimidating or dangerous situation, especially at night.
11. Open ears
The Gentlemen’s Book of Etiquette and Manual of Politeness (1860) explains, “To be a good listener is as indispensable as to be a good talker.”
12. Time Management
A gentleman is always on time and never keeps a lady waiting. It is a sign that he considers her time as valuable as his, if not more.
13. A kind word
A gentleman will always find a kind word to give a lady, whether on her appearance, conversation or outfit. It doesn’t cost anything to make someone feel good.
14. Father knows best
In olden days, an aristocrat was expected to present his family’s ancestry to a lady’s father for approval. The modern man still asks a father for his daughter’s hand in marriage, simply because it shows respect to the family.