Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Where Have All the Gentlemen Gone?

As my cousin and my brother both rushed to open the doors (each opened one of the two doors) for me at a restaurant on Saturday, I had this weird moment in which I didn't know what to think or do. "Wait... you're opening the door(s)? For me? Really? Why... thank you!" Every time my brother opens the doors for both mom and I -- including the car door -- I'm just a little surprised that I get that experience. It's not that he hasn't always done it; I just don't experience it outside of my family and the odd guy friend too often. Now that I think about it, I think only one or two of my guy friends do this for me and one of them started doing it after one of his friends called him out on it. "You don't open the door for Emmy? She's a lady. What is wrong with you?" He's done it since and I thank him every time.

I don't know if it's because I've been brought up with "old fashioned" values or because I never went "full feminist" when I was away from the Church, but I grew up sort of expecting men to open doors for me. I know the word "expecting" sounds horrible to some but that was my reality. My parents taught me that it was good manners for men to open doors for women. They didn't do it because a woman was weak or fragile; they did it as a sign of respect. "Men should treat women how they would treat their mothers or would want others to treat their mothers" was the reason I was given. It seems logical; who wouldn't want their mother (or father) to be respected? In fact, the thought that men opening doors for women was a sign of our implied weakness never entered my mind until recently when someone said that feminists argue that that's why they don't want men opening doors for them. That just seems silly to me.

Before I go on I should also say that I was also taught that the "men should open doors for women" mentality excludes elderly and disabled men for obvious reasons. In fact, I was taught to give up my seat to an elderly person (man or woman) on a crowded bus. Again, it's out of respect and the fact that as we enter a certain age, we slow down and our bodies aren't as strong as they once were. 

I don't know if my generation (Millennials who are now as old as their mid-late 30s or as young as their mid-late teens) was just not taught proper manners by those who should've taught us better or if society collectively tried to change what was the norm for us. Maybe it's a combination of both. I know I personally had conflicting ideals from both my parents and school and what was portrayed in the media, especially when it came to morals. Either way, it's gotten to the point where I'm actually shocked when a young man who is under 35 acts like a gentleman. 

Now, fellas, I'm not dumping on all of you. I do know some "feminists" (and I use quotes because my definition of the word is undoubtedly different from others') do have issues with men doing things like opening doors, offering to carry heavy items, etc. I do know that our society has become too PC and doing any "old fashioned" could get you labeled as being sexist or even chauvinistic. Personally I think it's ridiculous and I would like to urge men -- and especially young men -- to fight it. Not with words but with gestures. 

Employ the golden rule with slight modification: "do unto others as you would have them do unto you." Think about how you'd want someone else to treat your mother, your sister, your wife, or even your daughter. Open doors for women or even elderly men. Pull out chairs for us. Offer to carry heavy things for us. You men have better upper body strength than we women. It's a biological fact, people. That's why men can lift and carry heavier things easier than us women. On the flip side, we women have better lower body strength which is why we're the ones who are biologically prepared to carry another human being for 9 months. Logic.

Don't worry about what others may say or how they may react. We have this incredible opportunity to help the next generation (and younger generations) rediscover proper manners. Little kids seeing it done frequently will be more likely to do the same when they get older because it'll be the norm for them. Ladies, let's try to give guys encouragement when they do these gestures. Let's thank them for their chivalry. I'm sure a smile and a "thank you" would be appreciated. What do you say? Do you accept this (sort-of) challenge I'm issuing you?

Anyway, this was just a quick blog post about something I've been thinking about for the past couple of days. I need to go get a late lunch started so that mom has something to eat when she gets home. Oh, and if you could please say a prayer for her, I'd greatly appreciate it. There was an aggressive black dog that wanted to bite her yesterday and she fell and scraped her kneecaps pretty badly trying to get away from it. Since it was raining and she fell hard on the asphalt, she was in a lot of pain yesterday. Please and thank you.

I hope y'all are having a good week thus far. :D

As always, thanks for reading and God bless! :D

1 comment:

Sr. Ann Marie said...

Well, I know I'm old (actually keep forgetting that I am!) but I consider myself a feminist in many areas. However, I don't consider good manners as being old fashioned or sexist. They are what they are--good manners and consideration for others. I hold the door for other people, especially young mothers trying to deal with several young children and I always appreciate it when anyone holds it for me. On a different issue, one of my pet peeves is being in a restaurant with other women and having a member of the waitstaff say "What can I get you guys."