There was a time when, I too confused chivalry with feminism, but thankfully the difference became apparent, as frankly there is nothing more charming than a man with small gestures to show he is a gentleman. It’s almost dazzling and disarming how a few simple act of chivalry can turn me into a marshmallow…read on…These great tips on being the disarming man as there is absolutely no excuse to bad manners…and no one said it was easy to impress a lady…
BEING MR DARCY
Feminism has confused chivalry, but here are some manners a gentleman must keep
You probably know this from numerous girlfriends, friends who are girls, sisters and your mother — a gentleman is a hit with the women. With feminism and the new Ms, you’re probably confused about which chivalrous gestures are politically correct and which are not. You don’t want to risk offending your date, but there are some things that add a sparkle to your personality and make sure the first date isn’t the last.
We’ve drawn up a list of habits you should practise indiscriminately — with your mother, teacher and the lady in the lift — to make them second nature.
WALK ON THE OUTSIDE
This is the first subtle sign that you are a gentleman — walk on the outer side, keeping your woman away from the traffic. This is especially sweet in the monsoons as you will be shielding her from gutter splashes as a car zooms by. Do this smoothly, nudging her gently to the inner side (not pushing) while engaging her in conversation.
First and foremost, a gentleman is so erudite and articulate that he doesn’t need crude words to express astonishment or dismay. F-words are generally juvenile, especially if you use them in place of adjectives — the pasta is f****** good, you have no idea what the f*** happened — just sounds crass, unintelligent and unimaginative. Now, women swear too, but chances are, she’ll be watching her language around you.
Especially in a formal setting, in the presence of elders and ladies, it is impolite to curse. Save that for watching cricket matches with your buddies. On the other side of the same coin is using words you can’t pronounce or know the exact meaning of. This can backfire vastly and make you look foolish. Stay safe, impress sparingly.
CARRY THE LOAD
Offer to carry any bags (except her handbag), jacket, umbrella, etc she might be carrying. A gentleman is like a good scout and must always be prepared. Carry a kerchief which you can offer to her to wipe off stains or dust a seat. In the monsoons, carry an umbrella and open it at the first sign of drops. Make sure it is big enough for two, unless you want to come off as selfish, and hold it over her head, making sure she is entirely sheltered — even if this means getting a bit wet yourself. No raincoat will give you the opportunity for such intimacy!
DROP HER HOME
Don’t just drop her at the bus-stop, train station or outside her building. Wait with her till the train/bus arrives, or more elegantly, drop her off in a cab — even if this means going out of your way. Nothing is as important as making sure she reaches homes safely. If she insists vehemently, take the hint — her parents may not know she’s on a date. In this case, hail or call a cab for her, and tell the driver where to drop her. Estimate the time it will take for her to reach home and send a discreet text asking her if she’s reached.
TURN OFF THE PHONE
When you are with a woman, she must be the centre of your universe for that time span. Resist any urge to seem important by talking loudly on a cell phone, constantly checking messages, or even worse, surfing and checking e-mail instead of engaging her in conversation or listening to her.
Answering the phone at the dinner table or movie is even ruder. The rule of thumb should be to switch off the phone or leave it on silent and call back the missed calls after the date is over.
Don’t leave your manners at the bedroom door — be a gentleman to the last minute. And that means being generous in bed and letting her finish first. Too many men only think about their pleasure in bed, which is a complete put-off, not to say, frustrating. So pay attention to her between the sheets to see what she likes.
If you bump into someone you know, don’t ignore your date. This is one of the most uncomfortable situations to be in — waiting in the sidelines while the guy talks to someone else. If you can’t remember the name of the person you’ve bumped into, introduce your date and hope that the other person will jump in with his or her name. Your body should be slightly angled towards her so that she feels included in the conversation.
Mention her profession or some such relevant information if the conversation is going to be longer.
HOLD THE DOOR
Studies have shown that 90 per cent of women notice if you open the door for her and regard it as the most gentlemanly gesture. It makes her feel respected and reflects on you. She even notices if you open doors for other women (hint: benign elderly ones, not hot, young ones).
Don’t race ahead to get to the door; amble purposefully in its direction and open it leisurely. Like with all good habits, if you practise this long enough, it will not seem fake.
This article appears in Mumbai Mirror dated June 3rd 2011, its only a posting for readers benfit, its not written by me
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