Many women claim there are very few decent men left in the world. The complaints are all over the map. But most of them center on the perception that men today are inelegant, crude, and boorish slobs.

The claim drives men bonkers. They lash out in frustration, feeling put upon and disparaged. They cite their right to be jerks. They complain about the feminization of culture. And so on.

Instead of lashing out, here is another possible response: Cultivate basic manners.

What men don’t get is that there are some positive steps they can easily take that would fix much of this problem. It’s all about the little rules that men used to know but are no longer taught. These small rules are a way of showing some respect for women.

No. 1: Show some deference at the table. There are simple ways to do this. When everyone is sitting down at the table, a man should make an effort to pull out the chair for a woman to his right or left. If you are on a date, the man should move to the other side of the table and hold the chair as she sits. No need for a big show. A small, nonchalant gesture is enough.

The action is best performed as if it were an instinct, and done without fanfare or comment, even during conversation. If she comments on it with oooh and aahs, change the subject.

When a woman arrives for the first time at the table of men, the men should make some effort to stand. They don’t need to stand all the way up.

No. 2: When a woman arrives for the first time at the table of men, the men should make some effort to stand. They don’t need to stand all the way up. They need to show some visual that indicates the recognition that a woman has arrived. Doing so helps civilize the table and lift the mood of everyone.

Sitting there like a lump on a log is downright rude. Women sense this and it rightly annoys them. But a man who does make this one small effort to show some deference and appreciation will experience a massive and instant gain in reputation and trust from any woman who experiences it.

Actually, we could stop our list right there. These first two behaviors can gain any man so much, to the point that he will be known as a “gentleman” forever. That’s a good thing.

No. 3: Hold the door and let the woman enter first. Whenever I’ve pointed out that basic mannerly behavior, men start yelping that women don’t really appreciate this, that feminists resent it, that they are under no such obligations, and so on. It’s all nonsense.

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Come on, guys, just cut it out and grow up. Holding a door open for women is just what you must do. Deal with it.

No. 4: Open the car door for her when she gets in. Again, this is just a basic point of civilization. When you walk to the car, don’t go to the driver’s side first (if you are driving). Go to the passenger side and let her in first, then walk around and get in. It’s a small thing that makes a huge difference. And don’t stop doing this after the first few dates. This is lifetime stuff. Make it a habit.

Go to the passenger side and let her in, then walk around and get in. And don’t stop doing this after the first few dates.

What about a woman who waits for you to open the door before she gets out of the car? These days, there is really only one setting where this is suitable: a very formal occasion in which she might need help with her dress.

No. 5: If you see a lady trying to lift her roller into an overhead bin on the plane — or try to pull a suitcase off the baggage carousel — step up! In a crowded bus, offer a standing woman your seat. Obviously do this for elderly people and those with handicaps. But fellows, why not extend this to the fairer sex? Old fashioned? Perhaps. Kind of like offering to light a woman’s cigarette, which is why I carry a lighter, even though I no longer smoke. But such deeds can make a woman’s day — and yours.

That’s it! It’s not asking so much from guys to do these small five things. These gestures will go a long way toward boosting your personal reputation as a decent person, not a slob or a boor.

Why are these expected and necessary? My own theory is that it has something to do with the imbalance of physical power between the sexes. It is incumbent on men to make small ceremonial efforts to show they are not a threat, that they have a high regard for women as people with full and equal dignity despite the superior physical strength of men. From the point of view of social evolution, these manners have emerged as a way of improving the relations between sexes.

This is also why women who are not treated with deference regard the action as rude. They perceive men to be failing in their basic duties.

Of course you could denounce all these rules as Victorian holdovers that violate your personal freedom. And truly you are free to be regarded as an inelegant, crude, and boorish slob for your entire life. On the other hand, you have a choice to be part of the solution.

Jeffrey Tucker is director of Digital Development for, CLO of, and author of six books.

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