Mind Your Manners

Gentlemen, where are your manners? You may not have any at all, so take this ten question test and find out.  Do you:

1. Stand up when a lady enters a room?

2. Stand up when a lady stands?

3. Offer a lady your seat if no others are available?

4. Retrieve dropped items for a lady?

5. Open doors for a lady?

6. Help a lady with her coat?

7. Offer to bring a lady refreshments?

8. Offer your arm to escort a lady?

9. Remove your hat when entering a building?

10. Lift your hat to a lady when she greets you in public?

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If the answer is No, No, No . . . and No!  Then you are either a boorish lug, a twenty-first century hipster slug or a woman. There just ain’t no male manners no more. Certainly none that are as elegant as they were during New York’s Gilded Age, when class was defined the rules of etiquette. Did you even know there was a time when propriety dictated behavior and a proper gentleman (like I) never:

1. Refer to another person by their first name in public?

2. Curse or discuss “impolite” subjects when ladies are present?

3. Leave a lady you know unattended, except with permission?

4. Greet a lady in public unless she acknowledges you first?

5. Eat or drink while wearing gloves?

Today, we get away with social murder. Back then, men of the species respected the rules for everything from dancing to dinning:

1. Do not use your knife to carry food to your mouth or put your knife into your mouth.

2. Do not rinse your mouth out and spit into the finger bowls or water glass.

3. Do not gorge yourself excessively during any one course.

That’s progress for you . . .

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For more Steven Heller, check out Citizen Designer: Perspectives on Design Responsibility‚ one of the many Heller titles available at MyDesignShop.com.

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3 COMMENTS

  1. I enjoyed your post today on New York etiquette. I collect etiquette books and old self-help instructional books before 1930, but do not have that particular volume. A couple of my own favorites are “Our Deportment or the Manners, Conduct, and Dress of the Most Refined Society” from 1881 and “Eediotic Etiquette” by Gideon Wurtz (1906) which is a pretty hilarious send-up of etiquette books in general.
    Phil