While I was stuck at an auto repair shop the other day, I watched a little drama occur.
A woman walked up to the door, and one of the mechanics hurried to open it for her. She slanted him a thankless look, and muttered, “I could have done that.”
The man grinned sheepishly, and let her walk out.
That man will probably never open another door for a woman as along as he lives.
That is very sad.
Behaving in a gentlemanly manner is part of what marks men as, well, Men.
And it is darned attractive.
But we women have somehow been trained by the culture to see an assertion of manliness as a threat. So we have forgotten how to respond appropriately.
I understand the desire to be an independent woman. Really, I do. I know how hard it is to let someone do something for me. I resist owing anything to anyone, and I detest relying on something that is going to be a constant occurrence in my life, and I hate needing any assistance. (Well, personally, I have a hard time being dependent and finding happy mediums anyway. But I think that – in relation to social expectations – these concerns are common to most women.)
This, and all the complicated baggage left to us by the feminists, gets in way a gracious acceptance. I am guilty of this too.
I am sorry.
I appreciate men. Women really do appreciate men.
So even though I might only respond with a smile and a nod of head when you do something chivalrous, I am really saying “thank you”. For all those little acts of consideration and care that you show to me and every other woman whom you encounter.
Thank you, for:
- Giving up your seat.
I know it is a difficult thing to stand for the entire church service. And I know that most girls have even started to assume that they do not have the right to take your seat in this day of perfect equality. Or androgyny. But your act, more than being simply courteous, reminds me that I am not a man. I am woman. And yes, that does make me special. (And, if I am wearing high heels, I am incredibly, vastly, grateful.)
And, when a guy does this, most of the women watching swoon a little it inside. This is a fact.
- Walking on the street-side of the sidewalk.
This small act of protection is not a sign that you think I am weak, but that you think I am precious. Thank you.
- Pulling out a chair for a girl.
I know that this is a gesture of respect, not of making me dependent.My sister’s Godfather, who is sort of like a Godfather to me as well, is the kind of man who will not sit down until every woman in the room is seated. He kisses hands, and pulls out chairs. He is one of the sweetest, smartest, most wonderful men I have ever met. And he still downhill skier despite being over 80 years old. I will maintain that this type of courtesy increases vim and vigor and life expectancy.
- Catching the waiter’s eye.
This is a difficult one. It requires some skill and presence. It feels awkward to stare at a perfect stranger until they finally look back. So I very much appreciate it when I do not have to do it.
- Giving the elderly person a supporting hand to cross the street.
This is a simple courtesy and act of kindness. But, sadly, most people do not see the opportunity to do this. And that sight, along with the decision to act on it, is what marks a noble character.
- Giving a child your hand to cross the street.
Supposing that you have the parent’s permission, of course. You cannot just be nice to random children these days. But the fact that you care, and that the child in question trusts you, says a lot about you. Thank you for keeping children safe. And, getting to hold a child’s hand is its own reward. Also, it is adorable.
- Taking charge of a difficult situation.
Granted, many woman do want to make their own decisions. But when the tire explodes on the highway half-way to church, a man who can deal with the situation is a gift. Because while the woman can technically handle the situation, if necessary, they would really prefer not to while wearing impractical shoes and clothes.
- Offering your hand to the woman trying to walk up the hill or steps in stilettos.
A common courtesy, and act of practical consideration. Most women don’t want to fall and break their necks. So even if they kept rejecting your hand out of a dislike for needing help, thank you for keeping an eye on them anyway. And for walking behind them in order to catch them if they do fall.
- Carrying bags for girls, women, or elderly.
Again not because you think that I am weak – although in most cases, at least in reference to physical strength, I am - but because you respect me. And because you are nice. I appreciate this.
- Offering to help.
Fixing the sink, driving the car, offering advice . . . even if I do not take you up on the offer, I still am gladdened by it. Particularly in the offer of fixing of things. I hate to ask for help, so when you offer my life gets much easier.
- Opening the door.
I know that this takes practice. Everything has to be timed just right. You have to think ahead to figure out which way the door opens, and plan your movements accordingly. When it goes gracefully, know that I am suitably impressed. And even when it does not go gracefully, I appreciate the gesture.
Women like these courtesies more than we can tell you. But just because we do not always express thanks, or even accept these gestures with grace, does not mean that we cannot properly value them
Men, you are wonderful.
Thank you for being manly.