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Insights On Chivalry, Etiquette, Manners and Common Courtesy


William Pettaway is the CEO of The Debonair Man and author of The Manbook For Very Distinguished Gentlemen. The Debonair Man helps men of all ages to Become Better Gentlemen and consults in custom clothing to accentuate the Man. We Believe In Building Character First Then Clothing.


The Debonair Man Š 2013


This booklet is dedicated to everyone who has ever been at point in life where you had to make a major decision about what direction you want your life to go in. You may have had events or circumstances that forced you to make a change in what you do, how you think, behave and or question what you have really learned from life. A situation may have presented itself by asking powerful questions. Should I flee or fight? Should I quit or try a new way to get it done? I’ve been there. I like to say either you produce or parish. It has been said “A man’s wealth is the good he does in this world” - Mohammed. It is my purpose and passion to bring this information to you in hopes it will enrich your life and everyone you touch. If so, I would be the wealthiest man on Earth. Peace and Blessings 4

In addition to the aforementioned rules, gentlemen should follow these additional rules when in the presence of a lady. Chivalry may be on life support, but it is not dead yet. Be one of the few to keep this flame burning for many years to come.

This is perhaps the most basic rule of male etiquette out there. It is also one of the easiest to follow so you have no reason to forget it. Whether she is about to enter your car, restaurant, clubbing, or anyplace with a door, you should always hold it open. If there are many doors, then hold them open one after the other.

Always help a lady put on her coat or over garment. This is a simple but powerful action. 5

if a lady arrives at the table and there are no available seats, you should stand up and offer yours to her.

When escorting a lady (that you know) to and from social events, you should offer her your arm. This is a little more intimate, but serves well when walking on uneven ground -especially if she's wearing high heels.

This is one that most guys already do, but helps complete the gentleman in all of us nevertheless. When at social events, make sure to ask the lady if you can get her something to drink (or eat, depending on the event). Show her that you care about her comfort and needs.


Always stand when a lady enters or exits the room. This rule has been somewhat relaxed, so you can stand upon entrance but remain seated upon exit. Nonetheless, if you can do both, you should. Discretion, honor and integrity are of paramount importance in developing and maintaining your reputation as a gentleman. Details of your love life should remain private. Similarly, if a colleague has too much to drink at a party, be discreet. Never break a confidence and don't participate in unkind gossip.

and display the mannerisms of a true gentleman. Gentlemen (and Ladies), these are the rules of etiquette you should observe in everyday life. The world will appreciate such a rarity. 7

DINING ETIQUETTE A gentleman waits for seating before eating. When sitting down for a meal, you should wait until all the guests are properly seated and ready to commence the meal before eating. Everyone should start dining at the same time; this is a subtle but very important rule. the dinner table, he simply says, “Excuse me.� It does not matter whether he is headed for the telephone or the bathroom. No further explanation is necessary. Thank the host at a social or business function. At a company party, always seek out and thank the most senior management in attendance, plus your own boss and the party organizers. 8

When you invite someone for lunch or dinner, accept the bill discreetly and without fanfare. When you're the guest, you may offer to pay your share or to buy the wine but it is ungentlemanly to argue about who will pay the tab. Maintain your social skills and be chivalrous with women.

The napkin should go on your lap once everyone is seated. If it is a large napkin, fold it in half. If you have to leave the table briefly, the napkin is placed on your chair. At the end of the meal, Put the napkin to the left of your plate.

Here’s an easy way to remember which silverware item is yours. The word “left” has four letters, so does the word “fork.” 9

Treat your server with respect. Address the person by name if requested, otherwise use “waiter,” “waitress,” “sir,” “or ‘ma’am” Pay attention to what your waiter or waitress looks like so you can recognize him or her later. Catch his or her eye or use a discreet wave of the fingers to request service.

Call someone “Honey,” “Sweetie,” Baby,” “Dear,” or “Boy,” (Unless you are ready to fight 12 rounds) Never snap your fingers to get his or her attention.


Engage people and be gracious. Make conversation with those on the sidelines, particularly at business functions. Your good breeding and kindness will be remembered. Invite people to become involved, whether it's in a group discussion at a conference, a baseball game at the company picnic or a conga line at a wedding reception.

Show your good manners when introducing people by telling them more than each other's names. "Hal, I'd like you to meet Phil Brown, he's a pilot with Delta. Phil, this is Hal Black. He recently returned from the Gulf with the military." Many people have difficulty remembering names, and will appreciate your thoughtful manners if you say "George, you remember Alan, don't you?" 11

MANNERS A gentleman does not curse in the presence of women children or older persons. Swearing is a big no-no. It shows that you don't have the vocabulary to express your thoughts appropriately. Furthermore, it is always very crude and impolite to be vulgar.

This is perhaps one of the cruelest things one can do. When you mess up, the last thing you want is for someone not only to bring it to your attention, but to ridicule you on top of that. Your handshake should mirror your personality. You want the other person to think of you as someone resolved, concrete and positive. But it shouldn't be a test of your strength; don't hurt them. Your grip should be the same for women. 12

Practice good etiquette Being courteous and respectful extends to how you handle your oral and written communications. Letters and voicemail messages should show that you are well-mannered and professional. In addition, practice e-mails Netiquette and cell phone etiquette.

Send handwritten thank-you notes for any gifts you receive, whether they are from suppliers or clients, or even your greataunt Martha. Thank your server at lunch, the doorman at your building and your colleague who brings in donuts. Recognizing other people's thoughtfulness demonstrates your good breeding.

Nobody likes a braggart. Keep your assets vague if you have to discuss financial matters. You can wear expensive things without blowing your own trumpet. 13

This includes picking your nose, chewing your nails and picking your teeth. These areas should only be ventured in private. Committing these acts overtly is a colossal mark of a lack of class.

Only tip when it's called for, as opposed to those occasions when it's simply awkward (i.e. hospital nurses or police officers). When you do tip, don't be cheap. Respect the 15% gratuity for restaurant tabs and nothing less than $50 for a significantly useful maitre d'.

Even if you know that deep down you're not, appear as if you were virtuous. A real gentleman always comes out of everything smelling like a rose. 14

Look at your inter-actor. Your attention should always be focused on the person you are talking with. Always look at them when listening as well as when you are in control of the conversation. Again, it’s a question of respect.

Don't play hide & seek with the people you know, even if you don't feel like talking to them. Bite the bullet, initiate the mandatory greetings, and get it over with.

Unless you are on intimate terms, always let your social superior address you. This may seem archaic, but think of it in modern terms. You see G. Bush at the party; do you go talk to him? Not unless you want his secret service to intervene. It can be clumsy, so arrange an introduction. 15

COMMON COURTESY When you speak loudly, it raises the stress level among company. It always implies that you can't reason with people and rely on "brute force" to get your point across. It also draws negative attention.

Ogling someone is the equivalent of psychological aggression. You don't want to intimidate people for no reason.

When you lose your temper, you are showing everyone that you can't control your emotions. If you can't even control yourself, then how can you possibly control anything else? Keep your cool at all times (it won't be easy but it is worth the effort) and people will take positive note of your level headedness. 16

Let people finish what they are saying before adding your comments. Interrupting others is a sign of poor etiquette and a lack of social skills. If you want to come across as egotistical, you can do so by constantly interrupting.

Even if you don't like someone, there is no need to lower yourself to their level. Be polite and courteous; show that you're the better man or woman. In a theater, a seminar, at a meeting or any place where people gather to hear something, a gentleman always turns off his cell phone.

To establish a friendly relationship with the hotel concierge, a gentleman asks the concierge for some necessary service, one that is important enough to justify a substantial tip. 17


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Good manners are simply a matter of respect, common sense and courtesy. A Gentleman is someone who makes others feel comfortable. A Gentleman never makes himself the center of attention. His goal is to make life easier, not just for himself but for his friends, his acquaintances, and the world at large. --- John Bridges

The Debonair Man Š 2013


The Manbook For Very Distinguished Gentlemen  

The Manbook For Very Distinguished Gentlemen booklet gives insightful perspectives on Chivalry, Etiquette, Manners and Common Courtesy. It...

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