Third post about gentlemen's etiquette - and how this can benefit your hero, both in your writing and in real life.
But let's not delude ourselves - there's only so much you can do to nudge/poke/prod/alter the real man in your lives (believe me, I've tried. 40% of my efforts went to no avail!)
Now, your fictional hero... He's the perfect man, innit? Yes, he's lovable, strong, handsome, sexy, noble, a gentleman-- wait a sec! Does he know how to behave like a gentleman in everyday life? Even if not like a gentleman per se - does he know how to behave so he's, well, not an arse...?
In the past 2 weeks, I highlighted dinner etiquette and romantic date etiquette. But a man is a man not just when at a dinner table or on a romantic date - how then does he go about being this "Man out in the world" in his day to day life?
Read on for some pointers about this subject. How to be a man... out in the world or, How to behave in public: Social etiquette tips for men, is an article from Esquire.com written by Chris Jones and you can find it online here at their website.
How to Be a Man... Out in the World
A guide to public etiquette. In short, you should act swiftly and with purpose. Also, don't be an ass.
How to Arrive
In an Elevator
Women enter first. Look straight ahead. No phone calls. No talking to others unless spoken to. Even then, keep it brief. And we know you're in a rush, but don't crazily hit the close button as if you're about to piss your pants. That's annoying as hell.
Middle armrests belong to the middle seat.
Talking: minimal, but be courteous.
Two drinks: good for the nerves.
Three drinks: You'll forget the cattle in the row ahead.
Four-plus drinks: You might end up on YouTube.
Don't block the door. If you don't want to hold the pole, you probably already carry sanitizer. Use it.
Talking: never with strangers; quietly with acquaintances.
Be swift. No weaving. No giant umbrellas. No groups of more than two across. By all means, use your smartphone. Just don't expect people to move out of the way for you.
For a Table
First, decide if it's worth it. Staying? Okay. Then relax. Have a drink. Remind your date how beautiful she is. Have another drink. Unless you're alone, PDA stays in your pocket. Feel free to politely ask the host how it's looking if you've been waiting longer than expected. But don't badger the host every 2.8 minutes. And if your date is the one doing the badgering ... you should find a new date, lest you feel like that host for life.
For a Woman Shopping
Find the men's bench. There is always a men's bench. Then smile and see In Line.
This is when you use your PDA, but for e-mail. Keep phone calls to a minimum.
In a Restaurant
How to Order
This (very likely) isn't your last meal on this earth, so don't order as if it were. Make a damn decision and make sure it includes a salad or an appetizer.
How to Split the Bill
With friends: evenly. Always.
On business: The inviter pays.
With parents or in-laws: Let them pay.
First date: Man pays.
Fifth date: Man pays, unless otherwise mutually agreed upon.
Can I Send My Order Back?
Is it clearly over or undercooked? Yes.
Did the waiter mishear? Yes.
You just don't like it: tough shit. See How to Order.
Your date doesn't like her dish: of course. That's horrible, we'll get you a new one right away.
Words That Should Never Be Used at the Dinner Table
Turgid, raw, sublime, Anne Hathaway.
In the Restroom
Sometimes: Use the middle urinal.
Never: Pee in the stall. That's the equivalent of showering in a bathing suit.
And for chrissakes, don't throw paper towels on the floor simply because you'd rather not touch the door handle.
At the Bar
How to Order a Drink
Get as close to the bar as possible in a position where you can make eye contact. Then wait patiently, card or cash in hand. No waving or shouting. And don't cut in front of anyone else.
How to Order a Drink for a Lady
Discreetly. Ask the bartender to put her next drink on your tab. When she receives it, politely wave. Then wait — the next move (if there is one) is hers to make.
How to Get a Buyback
Do: Buy a few rounds and tip well.
Don't: Ask for a buyback.
How to Deal with an Asshole at the Bar
Calmly. Ask him politely to keep it down. If he persists, not so calmly, but firmly. Never lose your temper. Unless punches fly.
Things a Man Should Not Do
Order a drink named after a sexual position.
Take a call from his mother.
Argue with a woman.
Clip his nails.
How to Win an Internet Feud
There is a school of thought that fighting on the Internet is childish and foolish. That school of thought is populated mostly by sanctimonious pussies and old people.
It's true that you should never start an Internet feud, unless you're watching golf, say, and you need something else to do.
But if someone writes something about you online that would result in the turning over of tables were they to say it to your face, then you have every right to respond.
The Internet is our most real version of life, because it's the only place where people will write what they really think about you. That means you, too, should write what you really think about them.
The best tone to take is withering patronization; sometimes a gentle pat on the head hurts the most.
Next best is a reasoned, well-documented, possibly footnoted rebuttal. Last resort is some threat of mindless violence. Threats of mindless violence should be reserved for places where we used to gather: taverns, parks, hockey arenas, sewing circles.
Online, no. Online, words have retained their power. Verbs and nouns really do become sticks and stones. Use that power wisely. But by all means use it. Get all that bitterness, that entirely valid feeling that you were never quite good enough, get all of it out.
From Mauritius with love,