Sunday, October 4, 2015

Etiquette and Social Custom

The only exception to the old and present day rule is in the case of husband and wife. In such cases the husband gives his left arm to his wife. The origin of this is to show the domination of man over woman. 

"It's a Matter of Etiquette"


Should a man offer the right or left arm to a woman?  In social circles just now there is going on quite a discussion regarding this question.  To one’s wife, one gives the left arm.  To all other women, the right arm.  It is now being urged that the social custom be changed, and that man be considered quite correct should he offer his left arm to all women.  This question of etiquette, like so many others, originated in France centuries ago.


Shakespeare writes of a man “as polite as a French courtier." The "grand Maitres de maintien" decreed some ages ago that a man must give his right arm to members of the fair sex because one always places on the right hand those whom one wishes to honor.  French gallants, just like the American men of today, held the daughters of Eve in high honor.  At a ball when inviting a woman to dance you must give her the right arm, and after the dance, in promenading, you do not change the arm. It is the same rule at all functions, or even when walking in the street.


The only exception to the old and present day rule is in the case of husband and wife.  In such cases the husband gives his left arm to his wife.  The origin of this is to show the domination of man over woman.  It is now being urged that the right be dethroned in favor of the universal use of the left.  The argument is that in such case the man has the use of his good right arm for the defense of his fair companion, and to assist her the better if slipping or falling.  The coming season ought to definitely settle the question. 
–Sacramento Union, 1908



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