Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Retro Etiquette of the Sexes

 When a man is careless or thoughtless, it is all the more evident. Begin as a boy to observe all the small, sweet courtesies of life.

Social Etiquette:
The Differing Courtesies That Marked Good Breeding in Man and in Woman, from 1891

 "Are girls as well bred as boys?" Yes— and no! says Marion Harland in answering this question in The Weekly. Their training lies along different lines. One thing must always be considered —namely, that a woman's part is in many points of etiquette, passive. It is the man who takes the initiative, and who is made such a prominent figure that all eyes are drawn to him. Have you ever noticed it? Man proposes, woman accepts. Man stands, woman remains seated. Man lifts his hat, woman merely bows. Man acts as escort, woman as the escorted. So when a man is careless or thoughtless, it is all the more evident. For this reason, begin as a boy to observe all the small, sweet courtesies of life.


I often wish there were any one point in which a woman could show her genuine ladyhood as a man displays his gentlehood by the management of his hat—raising it entirely from the head on meeting a woman, lifting it when the lady with whom he is walking bows to an acquaintance, or, when his man companion greets a friend, baring his head on meeting, parting from or kissing mother, sister or wife. These, with other points, such as rising when a woman enters the room and remaining standing until she is seated, giving her the precedence in passing in or out of a door and picking up the handkerchief or glove she lets fall—are sure indices of the gentleman, or by their absence, mark the boor.


But our girl should not think that she can afford to overlook the acts of tactful courtesy which are her duty, as well as her brother's. Her temptation is often to exercise a patronizing toleration toward her elders, aud while she is not actually disrespectful, she still has the air of a very superior young being, holding converse with a person who has the advantage merely in the accident of years. Another of our girl's mistakes is that of imagining that brusqueness and pertness are wit. There is no other error more common with girls from fifteen to eighteen, and they generally choose a boy as the butt of their sarcastic remarks—and, to their shame, be it said, they frequently select a lad who is too courteous to retort in kind. — From "The Weekly" as reported in the Los Angeles Herald, 1891


Etiquette Enthusiast, Maura J Graber, is the Site Editor for Etiquipedia© Etiquette Encyclopedia