Heres a simple, easy answer to any Introduction that leads to a conversation: "How do you do?" Almost any form of this is acceptable. And, the proper answer is usually in return "how do you do?" Strange isn't it, that we are not actually required to answer this question?
Some generals here:
* Good moring and Good Evening are greetings while usually Good Afternoon and Good Day are farewells. Good-bye and Good Night are mostly just said among friends and family.
* Important! In Church- a person should not greet another unless it is a wedding. Greetings and Good-byes and all unneccessary conversation should be left outside the sanctuary.
* A gentleman stands when revieving a lady and does not sit down until the lady does.
On shaking hands: intimate friends rarely are required to shake hands on meeting. Gentlemen always shake hands with each other - ladies are not required to do so. One should not shakes hands with outdoor gloves on - particularly if it can be removed. Personality in a handshake is key. The ideal is brief, slightly strong, and warm.
The hat question: this is for men only. Remove a hat: in public places like the church or restaurants, in a home, or in the presense of a lady - and obviously, for the national anthem! Lifting the hat: this is for strangers only. In meeting strangers in passing, when returning a dropped object, when offering a seat to a lady (which he always should!) - the situations are too many to name - generally, uf he says "thank you" or "excuse me" it should be accompanied by a tip of the hat.
Bowing: A formal bow is very distinct, used on public or formal occassions (actors, take note!) - basically clicking the heels (or making the motion of that) as bending at the waist. The informal bow is similar, only done with more ease. A woman's bow is more of an elongated head nod with a smile. Apparently in Europe the man bows first, and in the US a woman is supposed to - although admittedly, no one really follows this rule anymore.
This section is one of those I find fascinating - but one you don't see practiced much anymore. Although a modern day nod is basically our version of the passing bow. Shaking hands hasn't changed as much as bowing. Obviously the whole hat thing has changed greatly. Most men don't wear anything else but baseball caps anymore, and those that do, it seems like less and less have any idea about hat tipping and taking off etiquette. Those that do are mostly cowboys and old men. It seems like that kind of gentlemen is a little ... I don't know arcane (?) these days.
Its not like I haven't seen these practices before. I am a classic movie lover, so yeah, I have seen how people behave throughout the ages - and the glamor of Hollywood made sure the gentlemen and ladies were trained in proper etiquette. So, anyone who has seen anything of old hollywood or period films has an idea of etiquette. Basically we learn by observation. This leads me to wonder: when did this decline start? Or is this really a decline? Maybe it is just a shift. Studying etiquette out of context is really interesting. When I read something like this, I can't help but think how this would seem to someone less aquainted with these "customs."
I know, random thought, but hey.