Being a gentleman is not about catering to women

I have been incredibly quiet in this space for months now. I think about it often, but I haven’t published anything since August.

There are a few reasons for it. For one, I’ve been busy with my newish job that has even newer responsibilities in 2015. I’ve also found myself struggling to adjust in the world I’ve been thrust into. Typically, writing about a new place is a given. I wrote about Phoenix and I wrote about Charlotte, N.C.

But it’s different here. I have a lot to write and to say, but I’m not in a situation where I’m able to write it yet. One day you’ll hear it all, I pinky-swear promise.

So while I sit on a few ideas and pieces, filing them away in my computer and randomly placed notebooks, I do have one thing to share. It’s something that has long been a talking point in my circles: Being a gentleman.

Gentlemanly conduct is a conversation everywhere, but no where more so than in South Georgia. You know, controversially traditional, heart-of-the-Bible-Belt South Georgia.

Men are constantly rushing to open doors for me here. They insist on walking me the 100 extra yards from wherever we are to the driver’s door of my SUV. When I took the Vue in for a recall, they pulled it up front for me because I was a woman. A man has to walk to pick up his vehicle is what I was told.

All of this is exhausting and annoying and I hate it. If I happen to be in front of a man, I’m going to open the door. I’m not going to stand and wait for a man to do it. There is absolutely no need to hasten your step or brush by me to make sure you are the one to open a door. You can check this with my best friend if you want. Our stand-off heading out to dinner freshman year put a permanent end to the struggle of who’s opening what door. The power of hunger is real.

And if the United States of America is willing to give me a driver’s license to drive a moving vehicle solo at 75 mph, I think I can handle the walk to it. As for the car dealership, either do it for everyone or do it for no one. That’s how I’ve always experienced it. And honestly, it stresses me out when other people drive my vehicles so I’m cool getting the little extra exercise on the extremely short jaunt and starting it up myself. If you’ve read previous posts, my dad instilled in me a deep love and respect of vehicles.

The idea that women should be treated with the UTMOST respect is the utmost ridiculous. I don’t want to be catered to by every single man in the world. Everyone deserves respect. I shouldn’t be held to this pedestal standard simply because I write “F” in the sex box instead of “M.”

I’m constantly being told this means I hate being “treated like a lady.” People like to argue it’s women (and they really like to blame feminists) pressuring parents to allow and recommend that their sons be disrespectful and rude. And don’t get me started with the “women just aren’t used to it, bless their heart” conversation.

It’s not like that at all. I’ll even go so far as to say that really offends me.  I’m not railing against a man opening a door for me on a first date or paying for our dinner or walking me to my front door. I like when I’m leaving a restaurant and someone coming in holds the door open to let me out first. If I’m parked in the same area as someone, I enjoy walking together and splitting when it becomes necessary. If someone’s arms are full of stuff, please do hold open the door or offer to help.

That’s the respectable thing to do. In a world where people are quick to criticize and complain, it’s refreshing to have any bit of kindness. This applies to everyone, everywhere, in every aspect of life.

When we talk about “how to treat women,” it should be a blanket conversation about how to treat everyone. The long-held saying is a “man should never hit a woman.” No, a man shouldn’t be hitting anyone. And neither should a woman. Unless you’re playing hockey, then occasionally it’s necessary.

That’s being a gentleman: Showing kindness and respect to all, regardless of sex, gender or views.

And to the man who told me he had a job and money and therefore was able to “truly take care of a New York woman, because everyone knows a New York girl needs to have nice things.”

You clearly missed the mark on that one.


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