The other evening at the adult ESL class where I volunteer, the teacher passed out a packet of “American etiquette” tips to the students. The packet explained different customs that immigrants might encounter during day-to-day interactions with Americans- things like greetings, answering the phone, dining out, etc. One important section in the packet is titled “Being a Gentleman.” Apparently there are some finer points to being gentlemanly in our country that even I did not know about:

  • When walking along a city street with a woman, walk to her left, closest to the street. If in an unsafe neighborhood, walk on the building side.
  • When entering an elevator in the company of a woman, go first to clear the way. (Ha! This one cracks me up! The man should go first in case Jack the Ripper is hiding in the elevator?)
  • Go in front of the woman when walking down stairs. (So that you aren’t tempted to check out her booty, or what?)
  • If sharing an umbrella, the taller of the two should hold it.
  • Take off ANY hat indoors.
  • If a female companion is carrying a heavy package and your hands are free, offer to carry it. (I do like this one).
  • Rise when a woman enters or leaves the room, or when she gets up and returns to the table.
  • Hang up a woman’s coat for her.
  • Serve a woman first before serving yourself.

What do you think- are these a little archaic? Or do you like your gentleman to be extremely gentlemanly? Or are these just common courtesy gestures that every male should abide by? Thoughts?