“Over the course of my life, I’ve been to a lot of parties. What I’ve learned is that it’s not enough simply to get invited. What’s really important is knowing how to behave yourself, so you get invited back.”
-John Bridges, celebrated etiquette author
Being a gentleman is kind of like an album of Chopin, it never goes out of style when you want to impress someone. We say at Falling Creek on more than one occasion that "we are to conduct ourselves like ‘gentleman’,” usually in the case of an inter-camp dance. But the essence of gentlemanliness can fit into any situation away from The Creek. We are always happy to read the letters we receive from the parents, on the etiquette and manners that our campers have displayed since they’ve returned home. And we only have you, gents, to thank.
We have decided as an extension to have a monthly series about tips on what it means to be a gentleman. This advice is applicable to any future house party, dinner soiree, or business meeting. So pull up your leather-upholstered arm chair, turn up the gas in your model fireplace, and dust off that hefty tome you keep beside you for ‘light reading.’ It’s time for a gentlemanly tip from the gentlemen at Falling Creek.
Tip 1: Standing and Sitting: An Art in-and-of-Itself
It may sound old fashioned, and some may even respond like you’re acting silly, but always stand when a women enters the room. It is a sign of respect and tells them you are honored to be in their presence. If you are concerned about gender equality, go ahead and stand when anybody enters the room.
Also stay standing at a dinner table or restaurant if she— or any of the other females present— have yet to sit down, especially if that person is your mother. Chances are, she made or paid for the meal you’re about to eat, and what better way to honor her than waiting so that you can enjoy the meal together.
On the same token, wait to start eating after everyone has been served.
When you sit down, the first thing you need to do is unfold your napkin and place it over your lap (or tuck it into your shirt if you’re eating ribs). This shows you care enough about your appearance that you know you would indeed look silly if you splattered coleslaw on your new pair of slacks.
If you feel the need to get up and stretch your legs, take a phone call, or use the gentlemen’s room, remember to excuse yourself. Just imagine how you would feel if someone who you thought you were mutually enjoying the company of got up and left without saying a word. It can leave you wondering if you are as stimulating a conversationalist you thought you were.
Upon returning, apologize for the interruption and go back to your conversation about local politics (or whatever it is you were talking about).