You've heard it before: Chivalry is dead. Well, yes and no. The once-romantic and noble code of conduct for medieval knights may seem outdated when you find yourself on a Friday night elbowing your way through a crowd to get a bartender's attention. But chivalry is at its heart, a way of showing respect and gallantry. And while that sometimes takes a backseat in this age of modern conveniences and self-interest, all is not lost. There are simple steps a man can take when he goes out to show that he's got some honor. Herewith, your cheat sheet to modern-day manners.
It's an age-old edict that you learned from your dad, and he likely learned from his. Simple and subtle, she goes first. You open the door for her and help her out of her coat. Not because she can't do these things for herself, but because you want to show your date that she's your priority. You needn't go overboard though—rushing around the table to pull out her chair, for example, might be a bit too old fashioned. But asking her what she'd like to drink and ordering it for her is a nice touch.
People who've become overly attached to their electronic devices often act as though nobody can see them, because they're not seeing anybody themselves. But actually, the constant checking of your phone just makes you look needy or impatient. Get your face out from behind your phone screen and be aware of what's happening around you. Especially if you're in the company of someone else. Don't make it seem like there are more important things you'd rather be doing. Give up the distractions. Pay attention, listen and respond thoughtfully.
Even in the most crowded of spaces, you need to be mindful of others in your immediate surroundings. Never reach across someone, or stretch your arms (and thus, your armpit) in front of their face or over their head. If you absolutely need to reach past someone to get something, you actually do have to say, "Excuse me." And there are better ways of ordering a drink quickly than waving a $20 bill in a bartender's face.
Nowadays, there are no hard and fast rules for what you should be wearing for a night out. But there are few no-brainers. Starting with, hats off—you don't need to wear a cap inside. To a ballgame? Sure. To a bar? No. You don't need to wear a blazer, but it does show that you've put in some effort to look your best for the other person.
What if Grandma Was Listening?
Just something to keep in mind when you're out in a group and the conversation can easily veer into dicey territory. Keep the foul language to a minimum. After all, you never know who is overhearing you speak at the very moment you drop an unsavory anecdote. And remember, "please" and "thank you" go a long way, whether you're speaking with your waiter, your date or someone in line for the bathroom.
Be True to Your Word
If you say you'll be there, be there. And try to be on time. Your cell phone is not a get-out-of-lateness-free card, so don't go phoning two-minutes-till with some lame excuse about how you're on your way now or traffic sucks.