Q: What is the significance, if any, of which arm a man uses when escorting a woman?
A: On the street, a man traditionally walks on the curb side—a custom born of the idea that women needed to be shielded from the potential hazards posed by the passing horse-and-buggy parade. Given this, a man would offer his right or left arm depending on the direction they are walking.
In times gone by, a man regularly offered his arm to a woman. Today, he usually does so only if he is an usher at a wedding, the woman is his partner at a formal dinner, he’s walking with an elderly woman, or he’s assisting a woman wearing high heels over broken pavement or down stairs. In these cases, it is traditional for the man to offer his right arm so that the woman’s right arm is free. For example, at a wedding, the bridesmaid’s right hand would be free to hold her bouquet.