Saturday, April 7, 2012

Etiquette

A friend and I got into an etiquette debate the other day.  Here's the question: Is it still good manners to pull out a chair for a woman, so she can sit down at a table?  Or is that an outdated and mildly sexist practice?

Also, standing whenever a woman enters the room.  I've never seen this happen, but I know that it used to be part of good etiquette.

I think it's still good manners to hold the door open for someone, if someone is right behind you when you're entering a building.  I'll even hold the door open for someone who is five seconds away from the door.  But I do this for both men and women, even though the old etiquette books say to distinguish between the two.

17 comments:

Sammy said...

Well, I think standing up when a woman enters a room is kinda strange. You might make her feel awkward, and pulling out a chair isn't as odd, but still not normal in this day and age. I mean, if you are passing her chair, and pull it out so she can sit down, that's one thing. But if you are already sitting down, and get up to pull her chair out, that seems a little different. I know it's is the nice and polite thing to do, but I think that she wouldn't mind pulling it out for herself. But then again, it might make her feel important to think that someone would get up for her. But I don't know. I guess I never really thought about it before. That's why I like this blog. Lots of things to think about. :) ~Sam

Anonymous said...

it's definitely not sexist,but it can look strange. and it's a good thing to hold the door open for both men and women, because that shows you are a nice and helpful person. but if you open the door so that a woman can enter and then slam it in some man's face, that's weird.

Anonymous said...

Being a lady myself, I love it when men are polite and open doors for me, offer to carry something, pull a chair out for me, etc. Some women think those sort of things are sexist and that it means they're weak or something, but I don't mind it at all when a man acknowledges, y'know, that I'm a woman.

I've never seen a man stand up just because a woman enters the room, and like what Sammy said, I think that would make me feel a little awkward. I'd probably be like, "Um...what are you doing?"

But PLEASE make sure you treat all women equally. If there are two girls carrying things, either offer to take both their loads, or don't offer at all. There have been plenty of times where a man has extended a courtesy to a prettier girl, and not to me, and let me tell ya, it hurts.

Kira said...

I think it's still okay to pull out chairs for women, even if this marks you as a little old-fashioned. Definitely yes to holding open doors for people, both men and women, but I've never really heard much about the standing-when-woman-walks-into-room thing.

Anonymous said...

1. It is not sexist, but polite. However, it is now performed in formal dinners.
2. I have no comment.
3. That's good. Keep doing that.

Justice said...

I'm female, and I personally might feel a little awkward if a guy pulled a chair out for me, but that's probably just because I'm used to doing things myself. I would still be flattered, though (if slightly embarrassed at being "waited on" like that!). I say it's still a proper, polite thing to do - at least in more formal situations.

As for standing when a woman enters the room: that's a little much. It may've been the norm in 1912, but most women in 2012 would find it odd.

It's *definitely* still good manners to hold doors open for someone. I don't know of any person that wouldn't appreciate such a simple, basic act of kindness. But holding to the old ettiquite rules of distinction between men and women could look rude. Either do it for everyone or do it for no one, I'd reason.

Anonymous said...

I think the standing up rule is only for nuns back in the days of those catholic school.
Also, I think if I were a man, I would only stand to greet the women that came in the room.

I always hold the door open for people, especially if they're holding things.

Anonymous said...

I think it's sweet when a guy pulls out the chair for the lady. :) It's like the "gentlemen" thing to do. I don't think it's old-fashioned at all. Holding the door open is just the polite thing to do. It shows that you are a nice and kind person. But you should hold the door open for both guys and girls. Lastly, a man stands up when a lady enters a room seems a little out-dated for me. I remember seeing that happen in the movie, Harry Potter and the Half-blood Prince (#6), where Harry stands up when Ginny walks into the room. It's during that dinner thing they were invited to. Even though it's kind-of awkward, it shows that Harry really cared for Ginny. So, maybe it's not that old-fashioned. It really depends on the guy and if he really cares or likes the girl. <3 Anyway, those are my thoughts and opinions. XD -K.C.

Hannie said...

I think it's polite. *Gets dictionary* Oh, okay. (Dictionaries don't help much.)I think it's polite. (Except for the stand when a female enters a room, that's just weird.) And holding the door open for somebody, I think that's very polite! ^_^ (Oh, and Michael. I don't mean to sound like a stalker or anything. But, what state do you live in??)

sarah said...

I definitive wouldn't so the second one. The first one is nice if you're dating that person (it makes them feel special), I wouldn't do it for a friend or someone like that. The last one is nice and it doesn't matter what sex they are. =D

Yoona said...

I spent a few months in South Korea last year, and men are extremely polite to women there. When a woman enters the room men always stand up, and bow while saying an-nyeong-ha-se-yo (formal hello). I found this really lovely and sweet.
It is important to note, though, that Asia is still very much a patriarchial society(which I actually really like) so this kind of respect to women would not be as evident or even expected at all in places where women are more independant.

Anonymous said...

People hold doors open for each other all the time. It doesn't matter if its a man or woman. Men should definately pull a chair out for a lady to sit. It goes along witht the "ladies first" rule. I find it a little weird to stand when a woman enters the room. I've never seen or heard of that before.

Sparksbet said...

The only people who would think pulling out a chair for a woman is sexist are the hot-and-bothered feminists who treat mothers like they're some sort of plague whenever they see them in public with their children. It IS a bit outdated, but only to the point at which a woman wouldn't expect it and wouldn't be offended if a guy DIDN'T do it. I think the vast majority of women would be flattered by such a chivalrous gesture. (In my opinion, chivarly is only dead because over-eager feminists killed it.) I think standing up when a woman enters the room is a bit more outdated and slightly odd, but not necessarily bad or anything. I've never seen it happen before, but I think it would be cute in some instances. As far as holding a door, I think that's just general politeness for either gender. In general, I think any act of chivarly or politeness like this towards a woman is gallant, and it makes the man doing it (in my opinion) FAR more attractive.

Donita said...

Thought you might like the opinion of a British woman. Door Opening - I'm a girl and I do it for everyone, but I have noticed older men get a little discombobulated as it seems to make them feel I don't think they're capable of opening it themselves. I love it when someone holds the door for me, (with proper eye contact, not as a sort of irritating afterthought) but only if i'm no more than say ten steps away or I end up rushing, and it's awkward. Standing up - I'd expect it if I was your potential Mother in Law and this was our first meeting, or at an interview, or in another formal situation where it is important to show respect, or where the situation is more formal like a prom, where you are actually showing the parents that you respect their daughter. I think you should also stand for other men in this sort of situation, If they're older. It's better to look a bit formal than disrespectful. If you are about to shake hands - stand. Nothing looks worse than an older woman shaking the hand of a younger man who is still sitting on his arse. Pulling a chair out - not if you're on the other side of the room, but if you're near and it can be done gracefully, and without being overdramatic, this is nice too. Even if she sits before you can get to her, she will appreciate that you tried. (Just shrug appealingly.) This is for men to do for women only. If a woman expects it, she may even hover and delay sitting, to indicate she needs assistance. Whilst a woman might privately find any of these actions a little old fashioned, most will appreciate the gesture. Only a woman with major issues will find it offensive. In which case just quietly back off without arguing. If she objects or giggles she's only letting herself down, and you can rest assured you did the right thing.

Joanna said...

Pulling out a chair for a lady is nice, because women should be the weaker sex (I am a girl, don't worry). It would be awkward to have all the men stand while you enter a room, it reminds me of "Sound of Music", even though I am sure they don't do it in the movie.
My dad and brother open car doors for the ladies- mother, sister, girl-friend, girlfriend, etc. and I think men should still do that.
Women should still think they are a special treasure, to feel like a lady. Most men now don't do anything for anyone anymore, probably only the pretty ones.

It is nice to hold doors, to carry books and things for them like a schoolboy. I find that attractive. :)
If I was a man, I would try to stand for the woman entering, even if I was the only one. That would be a sight!
-Joanna

Hannah said...

Standing up for a woman (like the 2005 movie Pride and Prejudice) is a little outdated, but I think is cute and gentleman-like if you do.

I think that pulling out a chair for a woman is super polite and well looked upon. Always do it and its not strange. Acting like a MAN is rare and only a few know how to do it through mannners and kindness!

Anonymous said...

My boyfriend and I pull out chairs for each other and open each others doors all the time. Other people think it's strange sometimes, but we like doing things for each other... it's one of the ways we show each other respect and love.