French Savoir-vivre for the Gallant Gentleman
Whether you’re single or already in a relationship, even married for decades, young or less young, gallantry is the gentleman’s best tool to show ladies that you care about them and appreciate to be in their company.
Of course, if you’re a bachelor on the lookout for your soulmate, becoming an expert in the art of gallantry will give you an edge.
For the man already committed, it is a good way to demonstrate your lady that you appreciate her even more, and also to show other women that you respect all of them.
Com’on, it’s not because you’re hooked that you stop interacting with other women.
Let’s clarify first what gallantry is. Nowadays, gallantry is about difference and no longer about superiority and inferiority. It doesn’t mean that one sex is better or stronger than the other.
Far from that.
Gallantry is a means of respect, politeness, and drawing attention. A form of seduction. We could define gallantry as a body of politeness between a man and a woman.
Gallantry is for the man who respect himself and wants to do the same with all women he’ll meet in his life. With women of any ethnicity, of any walk of life, and of any age.
The gallant practice the art all his life with all women, starting today, in a week, or in fifty years. For getting the favors of a lady, or making her life easier, more agreeable, or aimed at spending your life to her sides, it doesn’t matter.
So, how do you become a gallant?
Here is a list of quick tips that will make a positive difference on how women will perceive you:
Ladies’ Safety First
Remember the code of conduct “Women and children first.” You don’t need to be in an immediate life-threatening situation to be considerate to her safety. And it doesn’t mean either that you’ll beat to death anyone who approaches your lady. Far from it. You just position yourself to protect her in the unlikely event of a danger.
Walk the walk
A gentleman make sure she always walks on the “protected side.” That means he walks closest to the street where danger is, be it a moving vehicle or splashing water.
This applies also if you meet a lady going the opposite direction: let her pass on the “safe side.”
If you happen to meet a questionable person like a tramp, a drunkard, or else, put yourself to the side where the person will meet you so that she will always be protected.
Sometimes it might even be appropriate to move to the other sidewalk and avoid the “obstacle.”
Walks her home or to safety
The gallant will make sure she will arrive to her home safe whether she is your date, your colleague, or a new acquaintance. It’s even more true at night, if she lives in the middle of nowhere, or if she has to walk through notoriously dangerous blocks.
Holds her hands for balance
Offering your hand for helping her keep balance will be a welcome gesture when she needs to jump, climb up or down.
The general rule here is for the man to always be lower than a woman so that he can catch her if she stumbles and falls. Being strong and larger, you’ll be able to stop her fall.
So, what does it mean? Going down the stairs calls for you to go first and she will follow. Going up the stairs, the lady goes first and you second.
However, if she’s wearing a short skirt, it’ll be more appropriate for you to go first. Lechers and gentlemen don’t work together.
Women walk in first
An easy way to show your chivalry is to get the lady first in the elevator, in a room, out of the train, bus, or public building.
When in a narrow hallway and the you meet a lady going the opposite way, for instance at the office or in an aircraft or between shelves in a retail store, you have a make room for her to let her go as easily as possible.
This is a small favor that can get you a smile in return;-)
Get in a car
Exception number one to “ladies first” is when jumping into a taxi or on the rear seats of a car. Here the man gets first to spare the the lady to crawl to the opposite end of the seat to leave him room to sit.
Alternatively, she’ll go first, then you close the door with attention, and use the door on the other side to get in.
Opening the car door to a lady for her to get in, or out, is old-fashioned but might be appropriate depending on the situation.
If, of course, you don’t have a remote key, or yours is broken, open her door first before jumping in the car.
Get in a public establishment
The second exception to “ladies first” is when entering into a restaurant, theater, coffee shop, bar, or any other public place to check if it is a safe and appropriate location.
A more sensitive and modern way is for the gallant to open the door and hold it opened to let your company in. Then make sure to be in front to speak with the maître d’hôtel, host, hostess, or the ticket clerk.
You want to be confident and show your good manners. As a considerate gentleman, you even reserved a table or purchased the tickets in advance. No time to wait in line or suffer the weather (storm, cold, heat wave, and so forth).
Restaurant and “Art de la Table”
Pull her chair out
When you’re both ready to sit, be considerate and pull out her chair out. You no longer need to automatically stay there and then bring the chair back in as she takes her seat. You might consider doing it if the situation is appropriate. Just make sure it fits your persona — you don’t want to overdo it, do you? — and the lady you are with.
Ladies sit first
Wait until the women are seated before taking your own place. She’s your guest — that means the person of honor — so allow her to sit first.
Place the order
Wait for her to choose her meal first, then call for the waiter and again let her and all other ladies place their order first. Make sure you handle the wine card and at the same time you select the wine she would like to drink.
Start eating only after she has done so. Should your plate arrive first, according to this rule, you’ll wait until the waiter brings hers. If you are a guest at her home or friends’ home, the host starts first, then your lady, and only then can you start your plate. Such formality is rare but still happens for holidays or special occasions or if you happen to visit other countries.
Tend for her glass
The man fills the glass of the lady he’s with, making sure it’s filled — but not too much. Sure, this is the waiter’s job, but don’t have her wait too long.
Pick up the check
If you invited her to the restaurant, this is a no brainer, you pay it. If she invited you, you may offer to take the tab. Some suggest to never split, but that’s not always possible. Say you’re a budget or you often go for lunch together, you might suggest to share the tab. The art of the gallant is for all, well-off and less well-off gentlemen. A lady that is a lady will know that and she will accommodate.
Carry her bags
A gentleman will help a woman carry and handle her bags, luggages, boxes, or any other heavy loads. Don’t wait for her to ask. If she refuses — she is polite — just grab the bag to carry and ask her where to put it.
This applies not only at the airport, train or bus station, but also in the street or at the office, with friends, associates, or an unknown woman.
Do so without going overboard taking the risk your compliments becoming doubtful flattery. Give genuine and a propos compliments on her look, her shoes — this is a big one — her humor, friends, family or else. It’ll be much more appreciated than a big praise that doesn’t fit who you are.
The man never cuts short a lady speaking. He listens actively, not looking around and also not thinking in his mind what he’ll say next. It also means that your phone stays in your pocket or out of reach.
Take her sides
When a lady is involved in a dispute, the gentleman takes her side even if he doesn’t always agree with her. It shows how your treat and respect her in public. Your words, actions, and reactions demonstrate how you want her to be treated. Project poise and self-confidence. You want to be the one she feels safe with. People will notice and will treat her with respect in turn.
Give your jacket
He gives her his sweater or jacket if she’s cold. This simple act makes wonder. It also shows your strengths, that you’re not a wimp scared of a cool breeze.
When a lady comes to you, in a meeting, at the office or at a restaurant for instance, the simple act of standing up is the sign that you’re attentive and care for her. Further, it will tell she is of importance to you.
Hold the umbrella when it rains
When walking with a lady under the rain, offer to hold the umbrella.
A gallant doesn’t mind getting a little wet in order to protect his lady from the rain.
Better, carry with you an oversized umbrella and invite her under yours.
Help her take on or off her coat
Yes, woman still likes when a man helps her put on or off her coat or jacket. Once in possession of the coat, hang it properly or lay it down on a chair and let her know where you put it.
He’s always on time
Punctuality is a given for the gallant gentleman. At the same time, if she’s late, don’t make it a fuss, don’t even comment on it. Remember that she had to prepare too and it may require her more time than you to do so.
You know the key rules to be a gallant gentleman. Every tips here are simple to use and require no special intelligence or superhero power.
If you put into practice the above without overdoing it — that would kill its purpose — you’ll be surprised of the positive response you’ll receive from women with a sense of chivalry.
Your turn now.
Go and start first by listening to the ladies you meet during your day. At Starbucks or at work. At home or at the grocery store. Listen carefully, and make sure what she says to you and others. Start here and the rest with follow.