A young man held a door open for my daughter and me the other day. I thought it was nice. My daughter thought it was a crime against humanity.
Daughter- “OMG- does he think we’re invalids unable to hold open a door?”
Me: “It was nice manners.”
Daughter: “How was that nice manners? It’s degrading”
Me: “I’ve seen you hold the door open for people.”
Daughter: “That’s different. I just do it as a courtesy, not because I’m superior……
I decided to drop the subject. It wasn’t worth an argument- especially because it’s her opinion and she’s allowed to think any way she wants. And she has definite ideas as to how men and women should interact. She doesn’t think men should ever pay for women on a date- the cost should always be split equally. She doesn’t believe in door holding (obviously), helping a woman with her coat or her chair. Things that I think of as nice manners, my daughter thinks of as disgusting.
Am I wrong? Have I been degraded all my life because I’ve allowed these things to happen? Or is it a generational thing? I’ve worked in industries dominated by men and lived to tell the tale. I’ve earned more money than my male partners. But have I subconsciously turned in my women card by letting a man open a car door for me, or pay for dates? Or have the rules changed?
My daughter is not particularly out of the box with her views. Some of her opinions fall left, while others lean to the right. As a lover of debate she is adept at researching both sides of an issue and understands the pros and cons. As captain of the law team she is good at bossing around all genders with equal aplomb. Her friends are most likely to give her Sephora gift cards as a birthday gift. She has spent two weeks styling outfits for a concert she will be attending this weekend. Her style icon is Audrey Hepburn. Though she doesn’t have a boyfriend, she has many friends who are male. So why is she so against gestures that I consider “nice”?
I have worked in male dominated fields and lived to tell the tale. I have out earned male partners. Back in the stone age, when I last dated, I appreciated men picking me up for dates. I enjoyed someone checking my coat for me at a restaurant. I did not feel they were putting me in an inferior position- I thought it was their way of showing me that they were interested in me. Their way of courting me. But have the rules of courtship changed?
How do men and women interact in a social setting? Is their such a thing as courtship, or is it all app generated hook ups? Is my thinking about dating prehistoric?
It’s obvious that my daughters dating life is going to differ from mine. And that’s OK. But I hope she realizes that sometimes a guy might just be trying to be polite and not think she’s a damsel in distress. Sometimes holding a door open is just an act of timing- both people at the door at the same time- not a game of one upping.