How to be a Gentleman in the 1800s

The Basic Social Rules


  • Wear gloves on the street, church and other formal occasions, except when eating or drinking. White or cream colored for the evening and gray or other darker colors for day wear.
  • Stand up when a lady enters a room.
  • Stand up when lady stands.
  • Offer your seat if no others are available.
  • Assist a lady with her chair when she sits down, especially at a table with small and light chairs.
  • Retrieve dropped items for a lady.
  • Open doors for a lady.
  • Help a lady with her coat.
  • Offer to bring a lady refreshments if they are available.
  • Offer your arm to escort a lady, with whom you are acquainted with of course, into or out a building or a room at all social events, and whenever walking on uneven ground.
  • Remove your hat when entering a building.
  • Lift your hat to a lady when she greets you in public.


  • Refer to another person by their first name in public.
  • Curse or discuss "impolite" subjects when ladies are present.
  • Leave a lady you know unattended, except with permission.
  • Use tobacco in any form when ladies are present.
  • Greet a lady in public unless she acknowledges you first.
  • Eat or drink while wearing gloves.