Chivalry doesn't have to be dead. In the modern age, some believe that etiquette is a value of times gone by. Yet, certain manners never go out of style, and showing consideration through etiquette is a sure-fire way to stand out as a gentleman. Entire books and websites are written on the topic, but there are a few key points that every gentleman needs to know.
Grooming, Hygiene and Appearance
The foundation of etiquette is being polite and considerate of others. A gentleman should not be offensive in sight nor smell to his companions. You and the clothes you wear should be clean and presentable, and you should dress your best for every occasion. Brush your hair and teeth, and shave or groom your facial hair. Consider wearing cologne, but never too much cologne -- someone should only be able to smell you when very close to you. Remember the old saying -- you only get one first impression. You never know whom you will encounter or meet in any situation.
When With a Lady
Some traditional manners have died out in our modern era. For instance, it is no longer considered proper to stand every time a lady enters a room. However, the notion of treating a lady with absolute respect will never change. Make eye contact, and listen to her every word intently. Hold doors and car doors open for her, unless she objects. If she does, politely apologize and state that your intent was to be gentlemanly. Always walk curbside of your companion. Extend your arm for hers when taking stairs. She may not take it, but the gesture itself shows etiquette. Be honest, polite and yourself. Being considerate towards a lady show her that you care.
When seated for your meal, unfold your napkin and place it in your lap. Use salad forks appropriately. Do not talk when chewing, and chew with your mouth closed. Keep your elbows off the table. Adapt your order to your companion's cultural or dietary eating habits. For instance, if she is a vegetarian, consider ordering that way as well. Drink alcohol only if your companions are doing so. Assume that you will pay the bill, but if you don't, offer to tip. Tip at least 20 percent, or $2 per $10 of the bill. Never ask to see a bill you are not paying for, and always pay your fair share when splitting the tab.
Being Considerate and Charming
Being considerate is at the heart of being a gentleman. Remove your hat when indoors. Show civility, especially when topics of controversy, such as politics come up. If a conversation gets too heavy, try to lighten it with a tasteful joke. Be self confident, yet don't talk about yourself too much. A fine rule is to only talk about yourself when asked. Compliment your companions freely and ask them questions about their work, hobbies and interests. Show genuine interest in the people you are with and make it a goal to get to know them better.
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