How Should A Gentleman Treat A Lady?

Some say that many cultural norms are rapidly changing; that views on marriage and religion are changing, and that general social attitudes in society and between man and woman in particular are underlying even more changes to come. Are relationships between men and women much worse, many ask? Clearly, men and women in the younger generation approach each other on more equal terms. Most women have wanted more egalitarian social, economic and sexual practices to be followed. Men have largely agreed with those principles over time, and most men have fallen in line with man and women being on a more equal footing than was the case in the past. But alas, there are reasons to believe that battles between the sexes are not over. In public, there is much nasty commentary. It often starts with troublesome sexual innuendo, which, in my view, has no place in polite discourse. Women are, indeed, surprised and alarmed over issues raised, often in the harshest terms, over matters they considered to have been aired and settled long ago. It seems fruitless to revisit any significant number of these indiscretions. Many examples of recent vintage have been aired in the press. Some are well known and come from many sources: politicians, radio and television talk show hosts, even from members of the mainstream media. Why can’t these men behave with some measure of decency, especially in front of our children? I call them “these men” because referring to them as “gentlemen” would be so obviously inappropriate. There was a time when a gentleman was thought of and defined by his behavior, and, in particular, was defined as someone who knew how to treat a lady. Hopefully, we do not have to return to the 19th century to take a measure of instruction from the “Rules of a gentleman’s behavior toward a lady” which I paraphrase from memory below. Rules for a Gentleman’s Behavior in the Presence of a Lady 1. Always assume you are in the presence of a lady. 2. Always open a door for a lady or allow her to proceed in front of you along narrow passage ways. 3. It is the custom to stand when a lady enters the room. 4. Never raise your voice or speak harshly to or in front of a lady. If you have lost your temper with another even if you did not speak harshly and you do that within ear shot of a lady, apologize to her for this inappropriate indiscretion at the earliest possible moment. 5. Never use foul or inappropriate language in the presence of a lady. 6. If another man should insult a lady in any way, or use foul language in her company, escort her a safe distance from his presence. Don’t make a scene. Just ask discretely if you can speak with her privately.  You may tell her your purpose once privacy is established. 7. Never speak ill of a lady or impugn her motives either in her presence or in other polite company. 8. If another should speak ill of a lady in her presence, first escort her from his presence using the same or similar strategy as used in 6–above. Once she is in safe hands return to the scene and ask if he was aware of his despicable behavior, and if not, so inform him. Then, tell him you would be pleased to return to the lady with his apology should he wish it. If he thinks not, consider smacking him in the chops. ——————————— Many modern woman would not particularly enjoy the level of chivalrous concern expressed in the “rules” given above. They are given here as a reminder of how things used to be. All those who consider themselves “gentlemen” are advised to take note of how our modern ways might be effectively altered from the present unpleasant developments; but, while keeping the interests of our present ladies in mind, try to recapture a measure of the magic of our past.


2 responses to “How Should A Gentleman Treat A Lady?

  1. Thank you. Pleased that you liked it well enough to post it on your blog.

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