Monday, April 05, 2010

Modern Times, Laziness or Just Bad Manners?


Over the past week I have really started thinking about men (or those who want to be considered men) and their manners towards women. I was fortunate to grow up with a Dad who opened doors, let the ladies go first and if he was home, he would help us unload groceries from the car (or at least ask if we needed help). My Dad also instilled in my brother these same lessons and taught all of us kids to help others out even if not asked. Unfortunately, all of that stopped when I moved out from underneath my parents roof. Not sure if it is because I am out of the MidWest and men are different out here or what it is. I have been here in CA for 14 years now and it seems like ever since I got here the manners of men have gone downhill (sorry guys, but you all need to take my seminar called "how to be a man in a modern world").

I thought this may just be an isolated situation (at my house only), but over the last week I have experienced the dissolution of chivalry as we know it on a couple of occasions.

Here are some examples:

Wednesday - Call the house, "hey, it is pouring rain and I have groceries and we need gas and I know you wanted to go to the gym so I am going to just park in the driveway and you can get gas on your way to the gym".
"oh, forget it, I am not going to go, weather is bad, you can just park" I hang up. We do not have parking so you know what this means? I have to circle, while the empty gas light is staring at me and look for parking and then try and maneuver my umbrella, purse and bags of groceries to the house and unlock the front door with what hand that's free? I can't put the bags down in the rain, they are paper. Ugh! On top of walking in the rain with my stuff, I am also going to have to get gas in the morning. Can I please mention, I was sick last week and missed 2 days of work, this happened on my first day back in the real world.
I park a half block away from my house (thank God). I call the house, "can you unlock the door, I have a lot to carry"
"Yeah, be right there"
I am in the car thinking MAYBE he will come out and help me, but instead I see the door open, his head pops out and he looks right at me in the car and the door closes. Seriously?
I get out of the car, put up my umbrella, put my purse across my body, open the trunk and try to figure out how I am going to do this...good thing the brown paper bags have handles on them, but the are HEAVY. I line them up on my arms because I need to be able to hold my keys and turn the door knob when I get to the door. I get in and am mad. I explain why to no response.

Now, ladies, I know I should be more clear about what I need as guys are not mind readers and should have said, "can you come out and help me?" or even better "I need help" however, I have a unique species on my hands and he will ask before agreeing to help, "what do you have to carry in?" or "why do you need help?" etc. etc. and won't just say "yes!" and help me because he wants to; so it ends up making me more mad having to explain why I need help. At my house, I am not allowed to leave a "honey do" list (he thinks it is childish), he will not respond to it and will become more resistant to helping at all. He tells me he will help when he sees something needs to get done. So, I go on strike, I pitch the same fit about being overwhelmed and feel like I have to do everything and get the same old response "that is within you, you shouldn't feel like you have to do everything". Really? So instead of talking in circles I have realized that I have sort of become the man in my own life. Don't get me wrong, I love my husband, but have been married long enough (almost 12 years) that I feel I can complain once in a while and to be honest, I am tired of being the man around the house and might I just add, I should not have to ASK every time I need help!

Friday - I went on a site visit to a place we are having a quarterly meeting at work. Again, it was pouring rain. I checked out the space and the guy (I won't call him a man) showing me the place mentions another building and asks if I want to see it for future events. I agree and he tells me, it is about 1/4 mile down the road and to follow him up the road. I follow him and park in front where he tells me and walk to meet him under the awning of the place, as I take the corner my feet come clear out from underneath me and the next thing I know I am on my ass on the wet ground. I move pretty fast and was up just about as fast as I went down, but had to pick up my bag and some stuff that I dropped that is now getting rained on. He didn't offer to help me up, didn't help me gather my things or anything. Just looked at me and embarrassingly asked if I was ok while not making eye contact. Honestly, this made the entire situation more humiliating. Then while showing me the place and the meeting rooms, he would open the door and enter and not hold the door for me!

I don't think it is asking too much for a little chivalry to be present in this modern day world. I know women fought for equal rights, but that does not excuse men from treating women like ladies. Sad when I notice that my lesbian friends are more chivalrous than most of the men I know! On the other side, if there are men reading this, you can complain about the lack of femininity if you want, but it might return sooner if you would be more chivalrous.

Here are some free tips from my seminar (seriously thinking about teaching this) for guys who strive to be men:

  • Take initiative, don't wait to be asked, if you think something needs to be done, it probably does! This applies to most aspects of life.
  • Allow ladies to go first unless they decline (sometimes it is safety issue and they want you to go first).
  • Help without being asked, you will be amazed at the return.

I mentioned this post to my husband and all he said was "Welcome to California" really?


Anonymous said...

Wow, I am angry, just reading this.
"Welcome to California" is just a lame excuse. Apparently not all parents taught their sons what your dad did.

The Maltese Kat said...

Don't even get me started! The other thing is, if these guys didn't learn these things from their father's - they could pick up a book or learn from somewhere else.

pomegranate seed said...

oh my gosh. i don't know whether to laugh or cry at that post - but SO true. the california excuse is weak, but very very true. living in the south for many years where guys will practically fall over themselves to open a door, even your car door on a date, dating in california opened my eyes - but again, is it just that chivalry is dying out? or is there a collective sort of lack of manners out there that comes with a decline of other areas of life that seem unrelated, but somehow linked (like texting instead of letter writing, RSVP'ing by EVITE a few hours before - if at all - instead of days prior as used to there's the feminists who (and don't get me wrong i'm a feminist) hate guys who do things like open doors (my husband told me this happens a lot in new zealand) - which basically makes guys confused. who knows? but your post gave lots of food for thought - sorry so belated commenting but it was a crazy month and i'm catching up on blogs finally! miss you :) love reading your blog! - (is this the longest comment ever?)


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