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”

Degrading?  Really?

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.






16 thoughts on “Can Courtship Survive the 21st Century

  1. Forty years ago, when I was in my twenties, I felt exactly as your daughter did, so I completely understand her thinking. Maybe that’s why I did not teach my son to open doors for women, but when he was 15 and we visited my Aunt Ruth, she quickly and clearly explained to him that was his duty, and he has done it ever since. Over time, I came to see a man opening a door for me as a sign of respect and courtesy because that is how most men intend it, though some might think of it as a duty. I think it’s the history of the act and how it was historically associated with women (being considered weaker) not being allowed to do things they were capable of, like voting – that was degrading. Maybe its easier for me to let my husband open a door for me and carry the groceries since he is noticeably bigger than me and much stronger physically. But it was cute when a teenage boy held the door for me yesterday. I probably look like an old lady to him. Interesting topic!

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  2. It’s funny. I’ve never thought of it as anything other than nice manners, but I understand your perspective, and my daughters, a little better. I’ve always held doors, and similar things, regardless of gender- so I never perceived it as a gender issue. I admit, I sort of like having doors held for me because I seem to always be carrying too many things!

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  3. I hold the door, I pause to allow females first. There was a commercial for some new reality show (I abhor them, they are the downfall of society) on TV about girls competing to ask the boys to the Prom. It’s gotten crazy, there is no such thing as dating anymore among the young crowd, they just “hang”.

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    1. So with you on reality shows! I don’t mind the cooking ones, but the rest…..no interest! It’s like a competition to see who can act the most ridiculous! I’m glad that no one feels that they have to be coupled off, but…..I think they’re missing out on the fun (and agony) that dating brings.


  4. I say “sir” and “ma’am”. Hold the door for others. Still court my wife of 33 years with weekly flowers and chocolate. Occasionally there is a backlash, usually from women from the northeast. My reply is always the same: “I don’t want want my mama coming back from the grave and whip my ass in front of you and everybody else so I’m going to continue to act like she taught me.” That usually calms things down.

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  5. I understand where your daughter is coming from. Maybe four or five years ago, a male associate of mine told me he was always trying to race me to the door so he could get it for me and I almost always beat him there. It was a huge feat for him to beat me to it. I’ve heard that same thing since from guys I know and guys I’ve dated. It was only in the last year or two that I made a conscious effort to allow them to do it, not that I will stand still waiting for a door to be opened for me like a prima donna. It’s a nice gesture and it does separate the men who care from the boys, just like the guys who walk on the outside of the sidewalk to protect you. She’ll see the difference eventually, or not.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. If a guy insists of always paying for a meal, that could be deemed controlling I suppose. But holding a door open for anyone ? I can’t see how you would imagine someone feels superior if they do that. People that deem people inferior will just let that door slam in your face.

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      1. Btw dont be surprised if I comment on more older posts, sometimes I like to go back to the beginning of people I obviously didn’t start following from the beginning. I see now that your older posts were set up differently than your current roundtables

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I consider myself a work in progress. Every day I reevaluate what works and what doesn’t. What can be done better, what can be done away with. Tomorrow my thoughts will be different than today because of what I experience. Always changing and evolving. And please comment away!! It’s fun to revisit old posts!

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