I was raised on a pretty strict sense of etiquette.

To a point that the memory of attending a weekly manners class for 3 months (though when you’re 11, it seemed like 3 years) in some back office of the local Joslin’s department store. Yes, that’s correct… I even remember the name of the now defunct store that’s long since been bought out by Dillard’s.

The best (worst?) part was the ‘graduation’ from the class. The store put up a small runway stage and, donning our first suits, the boys in the class and I were joined with a corresponding girls etiquette class who met on a different night, paired up. We were then sent down the stage escorting our partner to the front, she’d break off, curtsy to the crowd (parents and visibly confused onlooking shoppers), rejoin us and we’d saunter back behind a curtain.

I’m being entirely serious, here. This was actually a thing. And clearly, a tad traumatizing…. I still remember details of this entire thing quite vividly.

My beloved Grandma, who enrolled me into these classes, took this stuff seriously. No wearing ballcaps inside a building… and especially not at the dinner table. I remember walking into the mall regularly and she would stop at the door and wait until me or my Grandpa would open the door for her. She was a take no bullshit kind of lady and knew beyond a shadow of a doubt how she was to be treated, to be honored, and she was absolutely drilling this info into my head on how I was to treat any other women that would come into my life from then on.

And now… I wish I could thank her every day for it.

I make light of the classes now… it’s still an utterly ridiculous and hilarious memory. But there’s a lot credit to be given on the general knowledge I took in.

From the very moment I started dating in high school, I’d bewilder the parents of my date by opening the car door for their daughter I’d be taking to dinner or putt putt. Not just the first time to make a good first impression. Every time, automatic. I almost started confusing my dates because it was a constant practice. And I’d hear about how irregular that was.

Wait, what? Not everyone does this?

And the thing is… I still do it for Jess. Because, of course. And I still make a conscious effort to walk along the street side of the sidewalk (you know, to take in a splashing puddle from a car, or other random thing that probably won’t happen but could).

I sure wouldn’t have known that was even a thing unless I’d taken this class.

But – I bring this up not to talk about the kind of man I try to consistently be – though, I think it’s absolutely crucial to bring a reminder and a further awareness to – but because it’s become a bit of an interesting topic… especially with the direction modern thinking seems to be taking.

I was talking to a very close girl friend of mine not too long ago about my actions and my intentions of starting the Modern Day Gentleman, and I told her this whole story, about the etiquette classes and how a lot of what I learned has stuck with me. And the way she replied had me floored….

“I’d actually be a little offended. I’d feel belittled – like I could hold my own.”

Wait a second…

I was so confused.

But that’s kind of where we are now. And I don’t totally agree with it.

So Ladies – if we hold the door open for you, be ok with it. Because it’s coming from a space of love and honoring you. Never belittling. We’re doing it because we care for you, not because we think we should protect you. There’s a big difference.

And Guys, there’s nothing wrong with showing a little etiquette towards the women in our lives. Quite frankly, we need to step up our game anyway. It’s been lacking for quite a while. If we thought more about It was honestly a big reason why the Modern Day Gentleman came to me in the first place.

I mean, aren’t you kind of tired of having our name dragged through mud because of a bunch of knuckleheads that don’t know how to act right?

Maybe we can start changing the narrative a little if we started doing some of the little things again. They often mean so damn much.

Just sayin’….

Navigating etiquette for the modern day