Friday, November 12, 2010

Friday Charm School - Manners and Etiquette, Part 1

Over the next several weeks, we'll take a look at some basic guidelines for good manners and proper etiquette. Keep in mind, many of these date to the early 1960s and may feel strange or have passed out of custom. The Women's Liberation movement of the 1970s had a profound effect on many of these rules of etiquette, but it never hurts to aspire to being proper and charming.

Good manners are made up of little things. Whenever there is a question of manners, try looking at things from the viewpoint of others. Think how they would feel and react. Be kind. Your behavior among strangers should not differ from your behavior among friends. Always, always, always say "Please" and "Thank you".

How should a lady defer to an older woman? (If you're a man reading this, these rules apply when you are dealing with all women, young or old.) Here are some guidelines:

1. You should rise when an older woman enters a room, unless there is a gathering of more than 10 people.
2. You should rise to speak to or be presented to an older woman and remain standing as long as she stands nearby.
3. You should allow an older woman to precede you through doorways, into elevators, or onto public conveyances (buses, trains, subways) unless she insists you go first. In that case, defer to her wishes.
4. Should an older woman join your table at a restaurant, you should stand and wait until she is seated.
5. In a crowded bus or other public conveyance, your seat should be offered to an older woman.
6. If you are walking with an older woman, you should offer to carry her parcels for her.

In addition, the same type of deference should be shown to clergymen and public officials. You should rise when greeting a much older man.

What do you think? Do these rules of etiquette sound antiquated or is this something we should strive to return to?