Kissing a woman’s hand was originally created as a chivalrous form of greeting; As a way for a gentleman to honor a woman and show her reverence just because she is a woman.
As strange as it may seem to this generation that enjoys being lied to and abhors doing any research beyond a Google search and YouTube videos; since the days of King Alfred of England all of British culture was built on placing women on a pedestal.
The guiding factor that determined every rule of etiquette at the dawn of British civilization was putting women first. It was all about putting Lady’s first.
A woman who was born around the Victorian and Edwardian era enjoyed more privileges than any woman born today.
Today’s society at best thrives towards equality which means the impractical plan to put women on the same level as men. However, where a woman born in the Victorian era her being a woman puts her on a pedestal above men.
A man’s masculinity shined in how well he revered and honoured women with his words and with his actions. Words of Honour & Acts of Chivalry.
Today women work and sweat. Back then a woman only had to be a woman. If she was beautiful that was a plus but not as necessary as you would think. There is a reason why wives of Kings & Noblemen in those years where very often nowhere near being among the most beautiful women of their age (if you’ll forgive my saying so). It was because of how strong the principles of Chivalry was in men of that age. They priced many things about a woman above a woman’s beauty. They priced the virtues that chivalry told them to price. It was unthinkable and unacceptable to call a woman ugly or treat her as though she was. All men where programmed in that way from childhood.
Anyway, kissing a woman’s hand was one of the ways for a man to demonstrate his reverence of women.
There is nothing romantic about it. At least at first. It was Hollywood and Hollywood alone that is solely responsible for it being viewed in a romantic manner.
It is just a form of greeting.
As a matter of fact it is the way to greet married women and old ladies. It is not the way to greet young single ladies. Some parts of Europe didn’t mind that rule as time went on and gentlemen would kiss whatever hand was offered to them no matter how improper it was.
A gentleman should never kiss the hand of a lady whose station/ position/ rank is beneath him.
A Governor cannot kiss the hand of a carpenter’s wife. That is bad form.
A Boss cannot kiss the hand of his employee’s wife.
A gentleman should also wait for lady to offer her hand before he kisses it, he is not supposed to collect her hand and then kiss it. She has to offer it first and her hand must be positioned in a way that it clear she is stretching out her hand for it to be kissed and not for a simple handshake.
For more on this get books I have written and would write on the subject of Chivalry.
About “Alfredonian Etiquette & Chivalry”
Alfredonian Etiquette as well as Alfredonian Chivalry are perfected principles of Etiquette and Chivalry respectively.
It was created by Pastor Alfred Benjamin King and is based on Victorian Etiquette and Chivalry.
Good Manners and Graceful conduct goes a long way to influence those around you and make you climb up the ladder of social classes in any and every society.
This series briefly highlights certain portions of books written by Pastor Alfred that relate to Etiquette & Chivalry.