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Dear Uncle Henry, I was taking the Tube in London during the rush hour on my usual commute and at one point there is a queue for the entrance barrier due concerns for overcrowding. This is normal for London Underground. There was an orderly queue as you might expect in England, which was quite long of about 30 people.

Just as I approached the barrier as woman strode past the entire queue and attempted to jump in front of me. I have to say, I did not let her in in front of me even though she was quite persistent. She gave me an indignant look and came in front of the person behind me. She brushed past me when we got through the gates and briskly walked on, not even a word.

I did not do the Gentlemanly thing of letting her pass but I was unhappy with her lack of manners. Henry, What would you have done?

Regards, Sidney, Kentish Town, London, UK


Dear Sidney, Thank you for your question. Indeed one of the most interesting ones I have had to date. I think this boils down to a question of culture, personal ethics and the state of society today!

You ask what I would have done, well I tell you. This happens to me on many occasions in London on Public Transport. I tend to either make a very grand gesture of letting them pass, with a ‘No, No Please after you’ comment or if I am not in the mood to do that I let them pass and then say a loud ‘You’re Welcome’ as they pass. I know it’s a tad sarcastic but poor manners needs to be highlighted.

But my thoughts about this in general are personally, I believe we will all get there in the end, so haste is wasted, generally for a few seconds gain. So for me it is a question of manners and cultural differences.

You don’t mention whether the lady could have been foreign, as this might explain her behaviour. There are a number of cultures around the world that do not understand the orderly nature of queueing and the British obsession with it. Though I am a firm believer in ‘when in Rome, do as the Romans do’, in fact when I am in Roma, I certainly do as the Romans do, but that is another story. This Lady should adopt the cultural nuances of Britain.

Lastly, just plain manners and courtesy seems to be lacking in this action. The lady could see the queue and chose to ignore it and selfishly walked to barge in. This is poor form and indicative of the why we need to instill manners in people. It is about the consideration for others. Manners and courtesy make the world an easier place to be and make all the world operate with grace. Oh, dear I am ranting on my soap box.

Sidney, did you do the right thing? I am not sure, but one thing is true this Lady needs to learn some grace and manners.

Right, I need a something to calm my rage against a lack of manners in society….

Toodle Pip,

Uncle Henry

If you have a question for Uncle Henry email or #askhenry on Twitter @ThePgentlemen

Ask Henry is taking a break next week for Hair & Beards Week – He will return in the second week in April.


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