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A Woman's Guide To The Universe, Love, Sex, Romance and All of That, Memories

Holding Doors: Is This Offensive? (Say No.)

Holding doors. This battle still wears on. The 100 Years War didn’t take as long as some of these other skirmishes.

This is a post by Shari Small on Quora, in response to the question: If you’re a woman, how does it feel when a man opens a door for you?  Is it a compliment or sexism? And if a man, why do you hold doors for women?

Pretty straightforward, huh? I thought her answer was so funny, I got her permission to reprint it, as it were.

Holding doors on chezgigi.com

Let’s get this out of the way: holding doors for the people behind you, male, female or otherwise is common courtesy.

But, oh, this question makes me feel old. Ancient. Because I remember when there was a big feminist cry of, “I am perfectly capable of opening my own damn doors.”

It led to much confusion at entryways, where men who had been indoctrinated from childbirth to drop everything and open the door when a lady happened near the entrance were pushed aside by women who insisted that opening their own door was a God-given right.

Ladies who had been taught from infancy that opening your own doors was crass and unbecoming were standing in a helpless mass, waiting for someone (that is, someone who had a penis) to open the door.

holding doors on chezgigi.com

It was ugly. Eventually, though, men got tired of being slapped and harangued when they touched the door.

They learned to wait until no one was around, then stealthily slip through the door, pulling it closed quickly as to not arouse suspicion amongst the female population.

Women learned that opening a door was not as exciting as they were led to believe, and sometimes (like when you were balancing a child on one hip and groceries on the other) it was a perilous situation that would be made easier if someone (with or without a penis) would just hold the damn door open.

In a brilliant move, an unnamed woman (who should certainly get a statue erected in her honor, or at least a Wikipedia page) had the unprecedented inspiration while walking through a doorway: What if she were to hold the door open for the next person?

It caught on like wildfire! Soon, men and women of all ages were exhibiting this strange phenomenon known as door courtesy.

Just one generation later, it is so ingrained in our society that present-day youngsters are stymied by the possibility that holding the door could be considered sexism.

Ahh, we’ve come so far.

 

22 Comments

  1. Alfredo Perozo

    As a proud door-holder, I’m very touched by this message.

    Call me old-fashioned, but I do believe that it’s just plain, good old courtesy (or rather, a bare minimum of decency) to hold doors open for people, help people to lift and carry weight, share an umbrella, help people from the ground of down from stairs, stand up to greet someone etc., be them ladies or otherwise.

    It’s just that I’ve been thaught – in practice, and not in discourse – to be courteous, and the fact that I’m constantly complimented on that gives me all the more incentive to carry on. I’ve never been – so far – swatted for this, but I can totally see it happening when I least expect it.

    I feel the “aspiring gentleman” routine to be energizing and edifying, the “be kind and helpful to others” part of it in particular. I’m grateful that it has so far earned me a fair bit of street cred and no negative labels.

    • Senor Perozo, if you weren’t young enough to be my grandson, I don’t know. I’d probably kidnap you. I taught my son the same thing about courtesy, and often people overlook the ‘thank you’. We don’t do it to be rewarded, but I have a real problem if people don’t feel required to say ‘thank you’. Expressing gratitude for a gift of anything is as important as the giving of the gift. Hugs, you!

      • Shakti Nirmal

        Gigi! Awesome post! It is very frustrating when you don’t get a ‘thank you’ in return. They know you know they can open it for themselves and yet, you did it for them! Because courtesy! Because you are kind like that, because you respect them enough. Because you believe in generosity. ‘Thank you’ is the least one can say. People are probably driven by the misconception that if used too much, ‘thank you’ can exhaust itself. Stupid. Hope you are doing well!

        And Alfredo! Aspiring gentleman? You are a gentleman! I don’t see much of holding doors among teenagers. At least where I live. Hope you are doing well!

        • Hi Shakti! I was worried when I saw your name gone from my subscribers. I hope all is well? I don’t post comments right away ever since the stalker came around and left nasty stuff on it. Now comments have to wait for my approval.

          ‘Thank you’ can never be overused. I say it to my dog! I ask her to move and when she does, I say ‘thank you’. Ha!

          • Alfredo Perozo

            When people refuse to use their please/thank you skills – no matter how rudimentary those may be – it makes me wonder why the *pineapples* didn’t they listen to the educative cartoons they were supposed to be watching as children?

          • The pineapples! I watched my cartoons, Senor! I’m a good girl, I am!

          • Alfredo Perozo

            Aye aye, madam, I’ll get into it! I had a string of exams recently, so I couldn’t finish the story.

          • Oh, yes. Everyone I know seems to be having exams. Even me! Mine are all by doctors, though. Ha! Wait until you have to do all that! Well, good luck, Senor. I’m glad you’re well, and I know you’ll do fine.

        • Alfredo Perozo

          Hey Shakti, haven’t seen you in a few millenia! How’s it going? It’s all fine around here. I’m flattered that you consider me a gentleman; but then again, you *know* I’m flattered 🙂

          And I wholeheartedly agree ; there’s no such a thing as “thank you” getting exhausted, except if you are a certain noob, whose friend – identities undisclosed – forbade him from using it at all .

          I hope it’s all well with thee, dear friend.

          I got your link and especially your text, by the way. It was truly marvellous! In fact, I was A2A by Emily on that one… I’m itching to just answer it on your behalf 😉

          • I’m waiting for the story you guys are writing, Senor!

          • Shakti Nirmal

            Gigi! I figured why comments needed to await moderation. The stalker situation is devastating. And you are extremely strong. 🙂 I am doing well and I am going to Vietnam next month! There is thing called the World Scholar’s Cup that I had participated in and my team got qualified for the Global round! I am happy I am doing great.

            And Alfredo, that certain friend still thinks the same. 🙂 I am glad that you liked it! And answering on my behalf? I am freaking honored. I am happy that you deem it worthy enough to post it! And I am so excited for season 7!!!!!! This is probably the last thing you would expect me to say but oh my god the Lannister shields are so cool!!!

          • Shakti, so good to hear from you. That IS exciting news! Wow. I’m impressed. World Scholar’s Cup is so much better than the over the top praise for making a touchdown.

            Okay, I’ll post this and tell Alfredo it’s here!

        • Alfredo Perozo

          Haha! Vietnam? How awesome! And from what I gather, there’ll be rounds in Greece and SA as well! I’m so damn happy and proud of you right now. I wish you all the best! Can’t Gigi be a flight attendant on your plane like the good old times? 😛

          And, ‘worthy enough”? I’m publishing the heck out of it. You don’t have to be so modest! It’s a great text – you’re a great writer by the way – It’s terriffic, you have all the best words, period.

          Yes, I too thought the Lannister troops were pretty badarse! They and the Mannis’ bannermen have the coolest of uniforms. I’m excited, though I’ll spend most of the winter break studying hard. And NO, this is *not* the last thing I expect from she who thaught me it’s spelt “Sanza”!

          • Yes! How fun would that be? Coffee, tea, or Coke?

          • Shakti Nirmal

            Yes Alfredo! There will be rounds in Greece and SA too! We chose Vietnam because that’s where the main event is being held. Alfredo, this such an awesome opportunity. I consider myself extremely lucky to have gotten so much exposure. It makes you realise your own capabilities and where you stand and what you need to work on. It’s humbling to say the least. And you grow when you are forced out of your comfort zone. This was my first time debating and I am so glad I did it! I have something to work on! I was not good to say the least but at least I learned got to see many amazing debaters and learn from them! I am glad you still say ‘Sanza’. LF has the best pronunciations.

            And Gigi! I would like all three, but only if it means you sitting beside me and us sharing those drinks!

          • You got it. No more hiding in the lav, for me. That sounds so great, Shakti. I took debate for a short while, but never really got into it on a competitive level. It’s like Toastmasters, which teaches a lot about public speaking, and extemporaneous speaking.

          • Shakti Nirmal

            Gigi, I have been to Toastmasters club. It is extremely helpful. I didn’t go for long but around 6 months or so. It is the best place for public speaking. Though the club (at least the one which I used to go to), didn’t really instruct or criticise people for over-dramatisation. It often happens that the speaker is confident and fluent but doesn’t really connect or communicate with the audience. I see public speaking more like a one-sided conversation (you seem natural and it doesn’t show that you have learned stuff but rather what you are saying is spontaneous – just like in normal conversations) than just getting your point across in an aforementioned manner that the speakers in the club used to. It starts to get boring when you don’t add your own essence to it, it starts seeming very stringent.

          • Interesting. If the clubs weren’t always meeting so early, I’d try it out again. But Gigi doesn’t get up early. She just doesn’t. :))

  2. Jayesh

    The Burger King watches you when you sleep. He’s creepy. I’m not holding no door for him

  3. WOLFMAN

    As usual my Love your right on track. No matter the subject be it proper speaking, giving the Devil his due or the kindness of courtesy there I find you in the forefront. Is it any wonder I Love as much as I do admire you.

    As always you have my Love and support in any venture you deem worthy to take on.

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