Maggie Smith, in her Oscar-winning role as Miss Jean Brodie instructs her girls, “We must away and catch our tram. I doubt we will get seats. It is 1936 and chivalry is dead.”
It might be all the etiquette books I read or the period dramas I watch that makes me feel men should give up their seats for me on the train.
I do tut inwardly when they don’t.
I do, however, smile and profusely thank those who do.
Given that chivalry died sometime in the mid-1930’s, I would like to discuss here what I believe is the protocol for offering your seat.
1. One must offer their seat to those less able to stand. This includes older people, pregnant women, and those with small children.
2. It is polite to offer your seat to a lady, even if she is not showing a baby bump. It has become more popular to wear a “baby on board” badge when travelling in London. The Duchess of Cambridge was presented with one when she was with child.
3. Gentlemen, if you do wish to offer your seat, do NOT stay seated and say ‘Would you like this seat?’ The person would likely feel that it would be a great imposition if they accepted.
DO stand up, and say to the person, ‘Please have my seat.’
Do NOT sit back down if they decline.
4. Ladies, if a man offers you their seat, DO take it and say thank you, even if the next stop is yours. It is guaranteed to make you feel you feel special, and the gentleman feels like a hero.
Just for fun, please take time to answer the poll below. Is chivalry indeed dead or just asleep?