Monday, November 14, 2005

Tell me again why guys shouldn't open doors for us...

I am trying to remember back to my college days, specifically why in the Sam Hill our feminist flock cackled every time a guy held a door open for a woman, or helped her on with her coat, or held her chair for her as she sat down, or whatever other nice little bit of extra attention he bestowed.

I seem to remember that we were supposed to think the guys were being patronizing.

Who. Were. We. Trying. To. Kid???

The thought comes up because the other day, as I was leaving the post office, a guy in work coveralls, a bit scruffy, black-smeared, was coming toward the post office, saw me, and jogged to reach the door in time to open it for me. I said "Thank you, sir" as I went by him, and he stood two inches taller. I don't know this guy, and I presume he doesn't know me. There was nothing personal about it. Just a guy seeing me, registering "lady", and making a point to show a little extra courtesy.

I love this kind of stuff.

The point comes up because today, as I was heading out of the bank, a teen boy with jewelry bodily attached all over the place made a point of holding the door for me. I don't know this kid, for that matter I dislike jewelry studs in odd places, but I said "Thank you, sir" as I went by him, and he smiled a smile I took to mean "You're welcome." Imagine that. Two cultures crossing paths and being nice to each other.

It happens all the time, at doorways where people hold the door for other people.

I'm not a hardliner. I hold doors for guys, too, if I get there first or if they have packages and I don't. But I have come to appreciate the guys who make sure that ladies get a little extra consideration.

I also have hope for the future. Today, for instance, as I was coming out of the post office, two boys who looked like ranch kids were coming in. I'd have to say they were brothers. They were giving each other a very bad time. But between them they ceased hostilities long enough to see that they held the door for me, and then they went back to their friendly squabbling. I didn't say "Thank you, gentlemen," but only because the way they were chattering I couldn't get a word in edgewise.

But, hey, if even boys at play can remember their manners regarding womenfolk, that's a good sign, yes?

A couple of weeks ago, I was at McDonalds. A father called out to his son, about five years old at a guess. "Hey, Bud, be sure and get the door for the ladies." The kid headed to the door ahead of his mother and sister, and threw his whole body into opening the door. He had to. With his size, it took a mighty effort. "Be sure and hold it until the ladies get all the way through," his Dad instructed.

I was headed out, and joined the procession.

And got the door in my face, as the boy took off like a shot to get the car doors open.

Apparently, the kid only keyed in on his mother and sister when told to watch out for the ladies. At his age, that might be a good thing, of course. You don't want very young lads running around making themselves useful to strangers after all.

I got a good laugh out of it. And a bit of hope.

There are families out there teaching their boys good manners and extra respect for ladies. Yay!

Addition: Welcome to the folks coming over from Doors and Bores over at The Common Room.


Rock Wren said...

I really enjoyed this. Speaking of kids and strangers, I read a news column somewhere that said you should tell your young kids that if they are lost they should approach a woman, a lady, even moreso than a policeman, because women are just far, far less likely to hurt children.

Mrs. Happy Housewife said...

Hi, I came over from the Common Room. I've tried to teach my own son, age 7, to hold the door for ladies and people older than him. However, he about knocks us down rushing past us to get the door for us. :)

TheHeadGirl said...

I enjoyed this post. :) At school I'm usually lugging a backpack about and it means a *great* deal when a guy is actually thoughtful enough to open a door for a lady. There aren't many that do, but it's a pleasure when it happens.