Sunday, March 14, 2010

We want you to be courteous.

Courtesy, chivalry, whatever you want to call it, we women like it.

I've been with my husband for going on 13 years now, and rarely does he open a door for me anymore. Headed through the door to a restaurant, even on date night, I can be assured that he will go through, and leave it to swing closed on either my face or my butt--depending on how quickly I'm walking.

It's not that I am opposed to holding the door myself, I am perfectly capable of doing so. What bothers me about the whole thing is that he doesn't look back to see if I've gotten through before letting the door close.

The whole women's liberation movement made men think that women don't appreciate chivalry because it makes them seem like helpless animals. I guess that may be true for some, but the strong and independent women I know would still appreciate the gesture, at least every once in a while. And especially if we have a stroller to push through or are carrying something heavy. ESPECIALLY then.

But the whole courtesy thing extends beyond opening doors and pulling out chairs. Mostly, we just want you to help us out. If we are folding laundry or doing the dishes, a simple, "can I give you a hand, hon?" will go a long way. It's like in the movie The Breakup with Jennifer Aniston and Vince Vaughn. The demise of their entire relationship can be traced back to an argument they had about doing the dishes. He wanted to wait, but she just couldn't let them sit around any longer. It's not the fact that he wasn't helping her that upset her so much: it was the fact that he didn't WANT to help her.

"I want you to WANT to do the dishes."

We want you to care about us, basically.

Another great example is from the movie
Friends With Money. An entire marriage disintegrates because when the wife says "ouch" her husband doesn't ask if she's OK. The truth is, we really do need to be asked if we're ok. We want you to care about us. If we get hurt, we want you to help us nurse our wounds and bring us ice and bandages. Maybe it's the whole "in sickness and in health" pledge, but we'd really like it to go both ways.

When in doubt, just think, "Am I being nice to her?" If the answer is no, then think back to what you learned about manners in Elementary school and try a little harder. Courtesy rocks.