A man in my past -- let's call him Mr. Manners -- opened the door when we entered and exited restaurants and other public places during dates.
But wait. That’s not the whole story.
After opening the door, this guy stepped through the doorway before I did.
Sometimes Mr. Manners even allowed the door to start closing in my face as he raced ahead. After a month of this, his attractive backside walking away from me became all-too-familiar.
And I had the overwhelming urge to kick it.
When I brought up the topic of door openings to Mr. Manners, he accused me of being "old-fashioned" if I expected him to open the door and wait for me to go through first.
Some men would agree with him. For that matter, some women would too. Men tell me stories of being chastised by women for their "condescending" behavior: opening doors, pulling out chairs, trying to pay for dinner, etc.
Yes indeedy. The concept of good manners in dating -- for men and for women -- has gotten terribly fuzzy, hasn't it?
The opening-the-door thing isn't so fuzzy for me, though. With strangers in public places, if I get to the door first, I frequently hold it open for men, women, and children. Men often "take over" the duty, but not always.
So I figure if a man who's on a date with me is going to open the door anyway, it’s not like he needs to bow and gallantly allow me to walk ahead like I’m royalty or something -- but maybe he can open the door and we can at least try to walk in TOGETHER.
Basic good manners is all I’m askin’ for here, right?
Here's what Peter Post, the great-grandson of etiquetteexpert Emily Post, writes about the opening-the-door thing in his book, Essential Manners for Men:What to Do, When to do It, and Why.
“…as I approach a door with my wife, I’ll stepforward ever so slightly, open the door, and hold it for her to enterbefore me. If I’m carrying a parcel, or if for some reason she isclearly there ahead of me and starts opening the door herself, I don’tmake a scene by rushing forward and pushing her aside so I can open thedoor for her. Instead, I accept the effort she is making and say,‘Thank you.’ Other times, when she arrives at a door first and startsopening it, if I can reach behind her and take hold of the edge of thedoor, discreetly taking over the task of opening it, and then hold it for her so she can enter first."
Sounds good to me.
And so does the part where Mr. Post writes that what really matters is "...the confidence and courtesy you show by knowing how the other person wishes to be treated, and treating her accordingly."
How would your ideal Mr. Manners treat you? Would he open the door and allow you to go infirst? Pull out your chair? Help you put on your coat? Order dinner for you?Pay for dates?
Or is all of that old-fashioned, and maybe even sexist to you?
As for bad manners, men aren't the only ones.
One of the biggest complaints single men have about single women is their bad habit of bla-bla-blabbing on the cell phone with friends -- during dates, while the men are sitting there.