So I squeezed my way in, much to the displeasure of the men beside me, who proceeded to tell me they had one more friend coming and I was not allowed to sit on THEIR empty stool.
Because, God forbid, they allow a woman to sit for a few minutes on an otherwise unoccupied chair.
And yet they don't seem to compute that the more we stray from common chivalry and traditional elements of courting, the more we will be disappointed.
Among the many questions I receive on Facebook and Twitter about etiquette, one is from a correspondent who wants to know what is the latest thinking concerning men’s manners toward women? At this blossoming point in the summer season of social give-and-take, it’s a good question. He shakes your hand only when you offer it first, same for a kiss on the cheek.
What, he wonders, is the status in this modern age of “Ladies First”? As a reminder, here are some of the traditional “Ladies First” points that men have been taught over the years: When men wore hats, they took them off in your presence. Whether you are a friend, a date, or a business associate, he is ten minutes early when meeting you so you are not left standing or waiting alone.
The second man asks the first, “Why do we even bother? But it’s a rough-and-tumble world out there, and good manners seem to have been an early casualty.
We see what happens when the media finds any act of courtesy between the sexes: It’s like spotting an animal in the wild, it is so rare, and the good news goes viral whether it’s Prince William holding an umbrella over the Duchess of Cambridge at a film premiere on a rainy night or Brad Pitt opening a car door for Angelina Jolie in Malta (or heralding it an act of chivalry when Russell Brand doesn’t seek everything he could get under California law in his divorce from Katy Perry.)On subways, buses, elevators, and in other situations where we encounter others we do not know, many men will not follow the “Ladies First” rule because they have been told it might come across as chauvinistic, that just because you are female, he thinks you need his help.