William of Wykeham had the right of it.
A short article in today’s DT notes that most of us say ‘sorry’ if we bump into someone in the street.
I am a firm believer in W of W’s maxim that ‘manners maketh man.’ Good manners and politeness make up the oil that relieves the friction we generate as we bump along with each other in our daily rounds. I always open doors for ladies – even daleks – on the presumption that whoever is in the dalek suit is, in fact, female – give up my seat on public transport to mature ladies or those of a certain age, stand when ladies leave a table, or seat them on arrival…
I believe that all of these little courtesies tend towards making my social interactions that little bit better, and the same for those I meet in my everyday toils. If I’m on the tube in the rush hour and I give up my seat to a lady, it makes me feel good, it makes her feel good, and, who knows, I might get a nice smile to brighten my day.
‘Gentleman,’ seems to be a word that is losing currency, mores the pity, but I’m not giving up.