Mannerly Men – Looking Back at Old School Etiquette

Ladies, if you have a son, you’ve undoubtedly done your best to instill in him good manners. If you have a husband, hopefully he’s already got them down already! (If you’re a man, read on…you just might learn something.)

The manners of yesteryear may sound stuffy and silly, but in today’s world, we’ve seen even the most basic forms of etiquette fall by the wayside. Most women will agree: one sure way to impress is by practicing good manners. It’s always appreciated and always noted.

Here are some customs that could stand to be revisited, at least to a degree.

Punctuality. Back in the day, there wasn’t such a thing as being fashionably late. You were just plain old late…and that was plain old rude. Being on time shows a sense of conscientiousness for all parties involved. (This also includes leaving at a proper hour and not overstaying your welcome. You know who you are!)

Holding the Door. Call me crazy, but this one has never gone out of vogue. Back in the day, gentlemen opened the car door for ladies in addition to a door to a house or an establishment. It’s a kind gesture that implies concern for the lady’s safety. (FYI – This does not mean walking in first and holding the door while talking on your cell phone!)

Proper Dress for Proper Occasions. (Guys, take off the baseball cap and that old t-shirt off before you read this.) Clothes do matter. Now, this doesn’t mean you need Christian Dior’s latest seasonal line hanging in your closet. It does mean that if you are going out to dinner or to a show, you should dress up, dress nicely, dress appropriately.

Back in the day, men dressed up for all sorts of occasions: travel, sporting events, business meetings, house guest visitations. As the sage rock band ZZ Top so aptly put it, “Nothing looks better than a sharp dressed man.” If you ask most women, they’ll readily concur.

Money Matters. Back in the day, it was ill-mannered to speak openly about financial issues. While that has certainly changed over the decades, we could all stand to watch our tongue in certain settings. If you’re going out to eat, for example, certain topics of conversations may not be suited (“This hangnail is driving me crazy. I can’t wait to get home and clip it. Will you do it for me?”)

Times have changed, this is for sure. But old school etiquette still contains courteous aspects that we could benefit from in our hurried “me-centered” world. It starts at home, of course. Parents instill in their children manners throughout their lives, layer upon layer. Let’s not give it up. Let’s continue to create an etiquette system that works in our new world and pass it on! At least for the sake of our daughters, let’s raise up some real gentlemen!

If you’re son has a birthday coming up, peruse our selection of free birthday ecards for sons. It’s a well-mannered way to say I care.


Now HERE's what a real gentleman looks like!

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