I work in a classy Manhattan office building with lots of elevators, security guards and important people \u2026 except for myself. Several years ago when I migrated here from the newsroom, which was an environment that suspiciously resembled "Animal House," I knew I had to become cultured very quickly or risk becoming a jobless statistic. So I read Emily Post and Miss Manners, along with a few websites on etiquette, and figured I was fit to be a part of the civilized corporate world where you\u2019re not supposed to cut your fingernails at your desk, or even your toenails, for that matter. Nevertheless, I still engage in my old habits and have a fingernail clipper in my drawer along with floss that I occasionally use during client meetings, but only when food is served. My desktop is cluttered with candy wrappers, chips and other assorted foodstuffs, some of it healthful but most of it junk. Ladies first I\u2019ve made progress in some areas, however. For example, over the past five years, I\u2019ve observed corporate protocol and when I\u2019m standing in a crowd of people waiting for the elevator, I always let the ladies on first when the doors open. Once they\u2019re on board, the rest of us guys push and shove to squeeze inside, just like in the junior high cafeteria where we would break one another\u2019s arms, legs and fingers and then stomp on our classmates\u2019 faces as we fought for the last dish of cherry Jell-O with whipped cream. Then, when it\u2019s time to get off, we gentlemen stand aside and let the ladies egress. It\u2019s like a scene out of "Pride and Prejudice." Civility is so important to us that pretty soon we\u2019ll be speaking with British accents. Lessons from my mother But I should confess that I acted like this even before I went to work in a stately building with cultured Manhattanites, because my mother, God rest her soul, drilled it into me as a boy. There were many rules a young man in Shelton\u2019s Pine Rock Park had to follow. I was told to hold the door for ladies, to walk on the outside of the sidewalk so my woman companion wouldn\u2019t get splashed by water from passing cars, to never hit a lady in the head with a snowball, and to give them my seat on the train, bus or stagecoach. Now, however, I do that only if they\u2019re old enough to apply for Social Security. In my younger days, I gave my seat to any and all members of the female species, but I\u2019ve changed my operating philosophy because I figure that young women who have their eyes glued to mobile phones should stand while I rest my weary middle-aged legs. The rare 'thank-you' Since coming to the Big City, I estimate that I\u2019ve let women on the elevator ahead of me at least 5,721 times. And I estimate \u2014 I\u2019m prone to exaggeration, but this is the God\u2019s honest truth \u2014 that I\u2019ve heard \u201cthank you\u201d eight times. That\u2019s a bit discouraging for a guy struggling to stay courteous in one of the rudest cities in the world. I wonder whether this is a commentary on, (a) my stupidity, (b) their stupidity or, (c) the fact they\u2019re staring at their phones and don\u2019t realize there\u2019s a world out there. Maybe I\u2019m too thin-skinned. Or maybe women in their 20s and 30s were never given proper training in manners. Or maybe it\u2019s just not cool for a Manhattan working girl to say thank you. Or maybe they\u2019re so obsessed with acting like Kate Moss and Kim Kardashian that they think the world revolves around them. This condition is called \u201cnarcissism.\u201d Not moving Last week I got on the elevator and was the only guy surrounded by six women. I was standing in front of the door, and when it came time for the young ladies to get off, I didn\u2019t move until they said, \u201cExcuse me.\u201d It was a great feeling. Anyway, I\u2019m text-messaging my four daughters to tell them that if some geezer holds the door for them, they should promptly respond with an enthusiastic, \u201cThank you, sir! Have a great day!\u201d Joe Pisani, who grew up in Shelton\u2019s Pine Rock neighborhood, may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.