We live in a society that vacillates between whether or not it is okay for men behave as gentlemen and women to act and expect to be treated like ladies. In her book Miss Manners’ Guide to Excruciatingly Correct Behavior, Judith Martin says “Miss Manners has a puzzling time trying to decide why one courtesy is ‘demeaning’ and another is a ‘gesture of respect,’ and therefore would like to forget the entire symbolic aspect of this ritual. . . . We agree that the opening and shutting of car doors will not be a test of character or physical strength. . . .”
Get into the practice of opening the car door for her—even if she’s driving. Not just for her in specific, but all hers. By doing so, you will set yourself apart—from all other sons, suitors, and spouses. Walk over to her door and open it for her. Hold it open until she gets in, and then close it. Important Safety Tip: Wait until she’s all the way in to close the door. (You lose major cool points for catching her or any part of her outfit in the car door.)
If you want to stand out from the rest of your ilk, then make the strong choice to show courtesy—at least in this one aspect. Make this a part of your regular routine. It’s not sexist; it’s polite. Open the door for any woman with which you’re riding. Do it in spite of strange looks. Do it no matter how many times she tells you it’s not necessary. Do it until it feels weird not to.
It doesn’t matter who you are or what walk of life you claim as your own. From Ivy Leaguer to Inner City Gangsta, you will set yourself at the front of the pack by performing this small courtesy. You will be remembered. First as that guy, then as that boyfriend, and then as that husband by all her friends. If you’re not looking for a mate, then you are that fellow. No matter what, you’ll be the guy with that special something. At the end of the day, not a bad way to be remembered.
R. Mordant Mahon