There is a reason that Southern gentlemen have a reputation for being openly polite and charming. As a result of all the iconic stereotypes we’ve seen on tv and in the movies, many people have grown to associate the concept of a southern gentleman with the word respect. This usually applies to situations involving females, but it also holds true in other aspects of their daily life and how they treat their fellow man.
For starters, southern gentlemen follow their own definition of masculinity that elevates and reveres women, rather than trying to dominate them. It may seem simplistic, but a southern boy’s relationship with his momma is the catalyst for how he regards all other women in his life. In general, boys from the south form a very close bond with their mothers that impacts their future relationships, as well as any benign day-to-day interaction with a female. For this reason, many women brag about the benefits of dating a southerner. From holding open a car door to following-up after a date with a well-written polite note, decorum in the South is pretty unconventional to outsiders.
There are other rules of etiquette that southern gentlemen learn at a very early age. Many of which revolve around being in the company of others and/or eating. When entering a building, you must take off any head covering. This is especially true while eating or in the presence of a female. At the table, there is no talking while eating, nor chewing with an open mouth. Nobody should be able to hear you eating and elbows should never be on the table. Discussions during means are to be kept to pleasantries and there is to be no interrupting of others, especially if they are older.
It would be unheard of to have somebody enter your house, either invited or not, and not offer them something to eat or drink. The phrase Southern hospitality exists for a reason. Just like you would never show up to a host’s home empty-handed, you would not let a guest sit at your home without being offered refreshments. However, if you are the guests, it is unheard of to actually request something to eat or drink. One must wait to be asked.
Everybody is expected to hold open a door or the next person if someone is approaching. Southerners seem to have a sixth sense for knowing when someone is about to need a door held open. When greeting each other, it’s mandatory to always say please and thank you, and it’s customary to use the designation of ma’am or sir if you don’t know someone’s name or if they are older.