Here is some advice for being an old school gentleman, namely, the anatomy of etiquette. The anatomy of etiquette describes a man’s essential manners by each body part. This comes from Esquire Etiquette, which was published in 1954 in Great Britain. Check it out via Art of Manliness…
Take off your hat (civilian, that is) whenever you are indoors, except in a synagogue and except in places which are akin to public streets: lobbies, corridors, street conveyances, crowded elevators of non-residential public buildings (department stores, office buildings).
Lift it momentarily as accompaniment to courtesies when hello, goodbye, how do you do, thank you, excuse me or you’re welcome are expressed or understood.
Ordinarily, you don’t lift your hat to and among men, when no women are present. It would be awkward to lift hat and shake hands, and men usually shake hands in greetings and goodbyes.
Hop to them whenever a woman enters a room where you are sitting, and stand on them until she sits or goes. An old school gentleman never sits unless and until all women in the room are also sitting; and then, unless he is in his own house, he sits only on invitation.
Stand up for men, too, for introductions, greetings, leave-takings. This “comes natural”; it’s not comfortable to shake hands from a sitting position, so you stand whenever a handshake is imminent.
Walk on the street-side of the sidewalk when you can do it gracefully. There are few run-away horses, these days, but there are still splashing puddles and other terrors of the street from which you can “protect” your woman companion.
Shake hands for all introductions and all goodbyes to men—but don’t ever offer your hand to a woman unless she extends hers first. When she holds out her hand, you’re supposed to do the shaking: two or three short up-and-down movements will do it—no pump, no crush, and no lingering.
Give your hand to a woman, palm up, as a kind of rest or ledge for her hand when you help her down from busses, out from cabs, down into boats, and so on.
Your hands are an important part of your dancing position. Your left or leading hand should hold hers lightly and naturally; contorted positions make bad manners as well as bad dancers. Your right or holding hand should be placed firmly yet loosely just about her waist—not grappling her neck, not sticking to her bare back and certainly not slid underneath her jacket.
Hands in repose belong in your lap at the dinner table, at your sides when walking or standing.
1. It’s “ladies first,” except when your going first is in form of service to her. Thus, when there’s a waiter to lead you to a table or an usher to lead you to your seats, you fall back and let her precede you—but when there is no one else to perform the service involved, you go first in order to find the table or the seats.
2. Hold all doors for her. The classic maneuver requires some cooperation on her part, however, because “ladies first,” she arrives at the door before you. She steps slightly to one side, so that you can reach the doorknob and so that the door can open toward her without knocking her down. You open, she passes through, you follow—and on to the next door.
3. Hold all chairs for her, when she sits and when she rises. The idea of holding a chair for a sitting duckie, by the way, is not to trip her off her feet by jabbing the chair edge into the back of her knees. Nor is it to contribute to her sense of insecurity by letting her sit into space. Just pull the chair back as she steps into place in front of it, then push it under her (without touching her with it) as she bends her knees to sit.
4. Help her in and out of her coat. Again, the extent of your help is up to her, but even for the most determinedly helpless frail you should not fluff her hair outside her collar as if you were her lady’s maid, or reach under her coat and pull down her jacket as if you were a barbershop porter, or chase her flailing arms about with the coat as if you were roping a calf. Just hold the coat.
5. Man is a beast of burden, but he got a break during the war when it was widely understood that a man in uniform did not carry packages. No longer must you snatch every odd package from every woman you walk so much as two steps with. … Of course, you should still relieve her of heavy things—suitcases, briefcases, books and magazines which give her too many things to carry.
6. It’s the man who pays, but not necessarily for expenses which come up during a chance encounter with a woman. You’re not expected to pick up the check when you have only happened on to her at the drugstore lunch counter, nor to buy her train ticket if you find that you’re both going out of the same station.
The man who believes everything every woman tells him needs more than an etiquette book to straighten him out, but these are the times which try men’s credulity. You want to take her at her word but it’s good manners not to when she says:
“Please don’t get up”—or, if you have already struggled to your feet, “Please sit down.” No matter what she says or how much she meant it, you gotta stand while she stands. If she really meant it she’d sit or leave, so you could relax.
When feeding your face, the idea is to do it neatly, quietly, and all but incidentally.
For a man, a fourth general “don’t” assumes equal importance: don’t be prissy. Don’t cock your little finger or pat-pat your pursed mouth daintily with your napkin.
Read the full article at: Art of Manliness