Thursday, June 30, 2011

Chivalry? Do Some Men Never Learn or Do They Just Forget?

I grew up just south of the Mason-Dixon line. My parents are from above the line. Being polite and have good manners was very important in our house. My mother always threatened us growing up with a non-invite to the White House if we had bad table manners. (I finally said to her once at dinner when I was in high school, "Mom, we're never getting invited. The jig is up." We all had a good laugh.)

I went to school in Richmond, Virginia - the capital of the Confederacy. Being a small school, we ran amuck in the town. I learned to like grits, glide down "The Gone with the Wind" staircase in a floor-length white gown, and stay home on Sundays (everything was closed even the grocery store). I also learned to stop opening doors for myself - everywhere. I still remember how strange it was. From day one, my fellow 18 year old male classmates would reach around or rush ahead of you to grab the door as you came up on it. It continued all four years. I quickly came to expect it everywhere. I also came to expect to be helped out of cars and off the elevator first. It's not that I turned into a princess or a snob. It's just how it was. Chivalry and proper manners were alive and well. I gave every guy a smile and a thank you every time.

So flash forward to my bald friend from New Jersey. I said yesterday he and his two buddies were sitting on the same bench that I was sitting on. What I failed to mention was that there wasn't enough room for all of them and all of my party to sit on the bench. In fact, when I sat down on the empty part of the bench, Mr. Tall Guy with Glasses said to me, "Someone is sitting here" while he put his hands all over the empty spot between us. I didn't move - the space was big enough for a reasonable sized ass. He looked at me with this funny look like I can't believe you didn't move. (I wanted to stick my tongue out at him - I had maybe drunk a few Coors Lights at this point). My friend Ms. Lynn sat beside me and poor Ms. Amy had to stand. I'm thinking what a elementary school girl move, "Someone is sitting here." I hope that someone is at least a woman. (Even still is the rule is you give up your seat to a woman. And I as an able-bodied woman, give up my seat to the pregnant, infirmed, or elderly) But no, it wasn't. Bald guy came and plopped his butt down in the empty spot. We ladies were appalled...

We totally talked about after we left them. Who taught them manners? Or maybe they forgot? Or maybe it's a New Jersey thing?

I asked J. Ross about this and he told me that some guys just don't know. It's a tricky subject. Some woman want to be independent and seem strong. But he would always give up his seat for a woman (he's also the son of a preacher from Tennessee). And to save a seat for another man is totally weird all in itself. But his rule is if you expect chivalry, then you need to say it. And that seems to be the rule with dating; if you expect something, you need to communicate it.

And in the meantime, I'm totally going to point out bad manners. Yes, I will threaten people with non-invites to the White House. I'm totally turning into my mother!


Anonymous said...

I was never aware of the fact that men must automatically give up their seats if a woman approaches. If a person was sitting there, a person was sitting there, regardless of gender, and it's highly unreasonable for you to expect them to give up their seat simply because your 23rd chromosomes are homozygous and theirs are not. You're not old, ill or pregnant. Get over yourself.

The UDG said...

It has everything to do with manners. These are the same guys who will then turn around and whine that they never meet any good girls. Shocking.

Every once in a while Husband will forget his upbringing (of which his momma did a darn right fantastic job if I do say so myself) and I have to give him a little nudge but then he does the polite thing and always looks embarrassed/chagrined that he didn't think of it first himself.

Also, it really bothers me when women are rude to men who are trying to be nice, ie opening the door for them, giving up their seats, etc. Good grief, it's a door not an invitation to take you to a Swinger's Ball. I'd stop being polite to if some vagina laden rageaholic yelled at me too.