From More Things You Need to Be Told by the Etiquette Grrls, Lesley Carlin and Honore McDonough Ervin
Yes, lots of these things may seem un peu outdated to your post-post-modern ears. However, that doesn't mean that you shouldn't be doing them! Vintage clothing is by its very nature outdated too, and the EGs [Etiquette Grrls] still wear it with pride! And we are quite bored avec the argument of "If I don't understand why it's customary, I don't have to do it." That is just laziness disguised as semantics, dear reader. Why do boys have to remove their hats indoors? The only reason you need is "Because the EGs said so."
- Polite boys stand when a girl enters the room, and when she departs. Actually, everyone, regardless of gender, should stand when an elder, or a very important person, enters or leaves.
- Boys should open doors for girls. Please actually hold the door for the girl, instead of merely flinging it open and running through, leaving her to sprint through before it slams. Open the door and step to the side while the girl passes through (perhaps saying, "After you," if she hesitates). At this point, the girl should politely thank the boy. He then says, "You're welcome," and, when she is through the door, goes through it himself. See, dear reader, this is really quite simple!
- Girls precede boys through every door except revolving doors. Boys, if you encounter a revolving door when you are walking with a girl, you should enter it first so that you may push the door. (Of course, you should not push it too fast, so that the girl has to leap like a gazelle to enter the revolving door you've set spinning out of control.)
- Boys graciously give up their seats on buses, trains, etc., when all the seats are taken and a girl is forced to stand. Simply say, "Excuse me, please take my seat." He should also offer to assist her with her luggage, especially if she is obviously attempting to heave her heavy Pullman suitcase onto the awkwardly placed luggage rack. (Girls, of course, should immediately thank the boy for his kindness.) Again, the same principle applies to when the elderly, the infirm, the obviously frail, or the pregnant are standing, no matter your, or their, gender.
- It is very nice for a boy to help a girl into her coat. Just stand behind her and hold the coat by the shoulders while she puts her arms into it. There is no need, however, for you to button it up for her, or help her on with her mittens.
- In a bar, if there is no table service, it's nice for the boy to fetch the drinks.
- Very old-fashioned, polite boys sometimes order for a girl in a restaurant. Now, if you're going to do this, you should inquire what the girl would like to eat before placing the order with the waitress. It would be very bad for her to have to correct you because she breaks out in terrible hives when she eats shrimp, for example. Also, you really have to be a traditional, perfectly chivalric boy to pull this off with grace, since your waiter at, say, Bennigan's probably isn't going to expect it.
- If a boy has asked a girl out on a date, he should pay. This is just the polite thing to do. If for some reason the girl has done the asking, then the responsibility of paying is hers. Under no circumstances should anyone on a first date reach for the check and demand the other party pay up! In longer-term relationships, you may find yourselves switching off occasionally, as both parties will be making plans, and this is fine. The EGs just think it's nicer to alternate than to have both of you reaching for your wallets every single time you go out.
- When you are taking seats at a theater, concert hall, movie theater, church, lecture hall, etc., the girl precedes the boy into the row of seats. In a restaurant, when the maitre d' is leading you to your table, the girl precedes the boy.
- When a girl is taking a seat at a table, the boy pulls out her chair for her. This is a maneuver that takes a bit of practice to be done gracefully, however. (The EGs have heard embarrassing stories of teenage boys who know they should do this at, par exemple, the prom, but get a bit over-zealous and yank the chair completely out from underneath their poor dates. Not a pretty picture, dear reader.)