‘Low-slung taxis and cars sometimes make it difficult for a woman being accompanied by a man to enter first, especially if her skirt is tight and short, if she is in evening clothes, or for any other reason. It is now perfectly proper for her to say, “Will you please get in first?” The man should do so quickly, seat himself to her left, and perhaps offer her his hand as she enters and, if there is no doorman, reach over and close the door. If the car or taxi subsequently pulls up to the curb in a way that doesn’t leave the man seated on the curb side, he must excuse himself and cross carefully if he can in front of the woman to assist her out if there is no one else to do this.
On entering a taxi it is perhaps more graceful to put the left foot on the floor first, instead of trying to enter with head and shoulders first. Then, with the foot on the floor, insert the body sideways in a semisitting position. In a very low-slung sports car when the top is down it is possible to seat oneself sideways on the seat, feet on the ground, then, legs together, lift the feet into the car. When the top is up, the preceding directions for taxis work best.
On leaving low-slung cars or taxis, slide along the seat until you can put one or both feet on the ground when the door is opened. Then lower your head and ease out.’
Amy Vanderbilt’s Etiquette: The Guide to Gracious Living, Drawings by Fred McCarroll, Mary Suzuki, Andy Warhol, Doubleday & Company, Inc, 1952.
Photo: William C. Shrout