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Who should enter the car first?

Is it really "lady first" ?

· French Etiquette

Opening the car door for a lady, pulling the chair, offering assistance to an elderly to carry the luggage… These polite and elegant behaviors are the trademarks of a gentleman.



Starting this week,Hedonia would introduce a new series called « Chivalry Today ». Gentlemen, this will help you to improve your elegance in front of ladies. Ladies, this will help you to be able to recognize a true gentleman!


The origins of chivalry



Chivalry or “galanterie” in French takes its origins in Western Europe in the 12th century. Young knights were to follow a code of conduct and show their respect, love and dedication in presence of noblewomen.



The morality of love that young “chevaliers” (French for“knights”) abided by was called “L’amour courtois”or “fin’amor”, a literature movement originated from the poems of French duke Guillaume IX d'Aquitaine. 



Starting in the 17th century, the King Louis XIV has established “galanterie” in the royal court etiquette and all guests staying in Versailles would socialize in a more elegant and codified way.


« Mademoiselle de Joncquières » (2018)


Until now, chivalry has turned into a kind of polite behavior characterized by elegant manners and respect which reflects into details in daily life.



This week, let us reply the question “Who should enter the car first?”. En voiture !


When entering a car, is it really “ladies first?”


How inconvenient!


The answer is not necessarily! Most people would assume that a man should open the car door and let the woman enter it first. But we should bring some nuance to this common belief.


Method 1: the usual way



When entering a car, for example a taxi stopping on the side of the road, the man should hop on first and make his way to the back left seat.



Then the lady follows, sits down and closes the door. This would avoid the hassle of making her way through the back seats, which is not convenient especially when wearing a dress or a skirt.


Method 2: the chivalrous way



This is a more chivalrous way. The man opens the door and let the lady sit down on the back right seat.



Next, the man closes the door, goes around the car and sits on the back left seat.



Note that the back right seat is the most respected seat, also known as the honor seat, with the driver in the person’s field of vision. It is the seat of choice for a lady, or a manager or an elder.


Method 3: the romantic way



The third approach is set exclusively for romantic occasions. The driver pulls over the car, gets off the car, goes around and opens the door for the lady. How chivalrous! 



Until the next tip… 



Are you interested in learning more about etiquette? Join our next public etiquette class in Shanghai on 9 April!



Founded in 2018 by Matthieu Ventelon, Hedonia is the first institution in China combining professional Wine and Etiquette expertise in the same training offer.

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