Posted in Lore

Chivalry or Courtesy?

This gender thing is so confusing, isn’t it?  The last thing you need is one more person with another opinion.  Yet, here I am.  Let’s examine the simple act of opening a door.


I was walking with a gentleman and having a conversation.  When we reached the door, what did I do?  I opened the door.  What did he do?  He looked like I had just asked him to step over hot coals.  He started, then almost tripped over his feet, looked at me, looked at the door, smiled, tried to usher me through . . . it was completely awkward.

Had I been with a woman, or he with a man, or if we had been each other’s gender, it would have been a smooth passage.  Why? because this is what you do for another person when you are walking and talking.  Except when you are a woman walking with a man.

There is a correct position to pull open the door for another person.  That is, when you are on the side of the door with the hinge, you can do one of two things.  You can walk through and hold the door behind you for your companion.  This is the choice most women make when they are in the door-opening position and walking with a man.  This enables them to avoid the awkward situation I encountered.  The other choice is to open the door and hold it for your friend, which is much more efficient, comfortable and practical.  Being a practical, efficient person, this is the choice I made.

There really are only a few things that men can do and women cannot.  Yes, they can pee standing up.  Listen guys, we can do that too, it’s just not a good idea.  I’m talking about strength, here.  I need someone to carry heavy things and turn stuck jar lids and crank on tight bolts.  Typically, this is the nearest man.  On my own, I can clear a plugged drain, change my own oil, and I can handle opening a door.  So ability was not the issue.

Were we in a dating situation where he would want to act chivalrous?  No.  We were in professional roles at the time.  So there was no need for me to be coy, feminine, or gentle.  Nor was there a reason for him to think he was going to “get any” if he acted polite.

Do I let men open my doors?  Of course!  Do I think for a minute they feel stronger for doing it?  Oh geeze, I hope not . . . in the same way that I don’t get offended when they do it.  Would I let women open my door?  All the time!  It’s not gentlemanly, it’s courtesy!

I don’t understand what the big deal is with opening doors.  It’s just about being nice.  It isn’t a gender issue, and it sure isn’t something that should embarrass or offend!


A couple more posts to get you thinking about gender:

Women Are Crazy (The way to lose your female readers) / HarsH ReaLiTy
Unrealistic Expectatinos / Akela Kella


Trying to make sense of it all and . . . for the most part . . . doing it.

34 thoughts on “Chivalry or Courtesy?

      1. In my gramma’s day, they used to teach when the kids started learning to print. They didn’t just print any old letters, they wrote things like “Every good turn deserves another.” Catchy proverbs like that. Things that stuck with a kid until he was an adult and could teach his/her own kid that stuff. They don’t do that any more. They write “Jane runs. See Jane run.” Meaningful. Very meaningful.

  1. Oh….I sometimes thought it was just ME. It is weird…another female…who opens/hold door is really a matter of who gets there first. But I admit…when I am with a male … either he gets to the door first…or…well…after reading your blog post … I realize that I slow down. I actually slow down. WTF??? It’s not like I think men SHOULD do this…I think it is the uncomfortability factor. I don’t want to be in that awkward position…that should not even exist.

    Hmm….I think I have been part of the problem though. Perhaps I will try to make a concerted effort to just do what I would do if I got to the door first. I wonder what will happen…I am curious now.

      1. Ok….so as I was coming back from lunch I waited in my car (I can see the doorway) ….omg I felt like a door stalker lol. I am blaming you for that.

        Anyway, when I saw someone else pull in from lunch…I waited until they got out…and I rushed out so I could get to the door just before him.

        It didn’t work …. the fecker was dallying about with something in his trunk.

        FOILED! Curse you red baron. I try again next week.

      2. Oh no! I’ve created a monster! EETS ALIVE! Hahaha! Keep trying. I can’t wait to see how this one ends. You are awesome!

      3. If I get arrested for stalking I am sooooooo blaming you. I can see it now.

        Woman arrested on suspicion of burglery. A woman was stopped and taken into custoday on the afternoon of April 15th when several people called in saying they saw a strange woman watching people go in and out of a building. It was later found that the buidling she was observing was her place of business, and those calling and turning her in were her own co-workers and ‘friends.’ Upon questioning the callers, all admitted to knowing they were turning in their co-worker. The police have since remanded the woman to the crimanally insane ward, as she was exhibiting strange behavior. Said the officer in charge, “She had this peculiar act of rushing to the door ahead of everyone. Well, not everyone, but just the males. We thought it best if we kept her for observation.”

  2. I have run into this problem many times. For me the only sensible answer is for the person who approaches the door first to be the one to open and hold it. I’ve had men rush ahead of me to try to get to the door first, or like you experienced, literally freeze not knowing what to do when I hold the door for them. It’s the same with dating, why should I sit in a car waiting for a man to come around and open it for me. Not happening, I am able-bodied enough to open any door! Good for you for doing the right thing and forcing a man to face the sexist roles we no longer need.

  3. Completely agree. Once I was walking along a narrow sidewalk which was covered in one spot by a large puddle. Someone was approaching from the other direction and was closer than I was to the puddle, so I stepped aside. But no, it was a man, and he then stepped aside with a grand flourish and indicated I should go ahead. I gestured, “No, you” and he got angry and muttered at me because I didn’t appreciate his “chivalry.” The time for these old conventions has passed!

    1. Yes, I appreciate the gesture if it is for courtesy’s sake. But not “just” because I am a woman. I am a human being first.

  4. I don’t expect people to open doors for me because I am a woman, I expect it because I’m me. That said, I find myself holding doors for people all the time. I can’t stand to let doors shut on people. It feels crazy rude.

    1. I don’t think I’ve ever had a man question my holding the door behind him so it doesn’t slam in his face. Holding it so that he can walk in front of you confuses the hell out of him! There may have been smoke, and possibly even sparks.

  5. Excellent post and observations:) I am Hispanic so chivalry and courtesy is part of my culture and for me goes a long, long way. To me, regardless or whether a man is with a woman on a date or not, I do think the man should open the door, chair, etc. Why you probably say? Because this to me is not only chivalry, but courtesy as well as manners. If you are with a member of the same gender, it depends: with people older than me, I should open the door because this is part of my upbringing. Do I expect the younger same gender person to open the door for me? No. Why? Because her background/culture will probably be different than mine. When I lived in Italy for 2 years, one question was asked of me that still remains with me today and that was: why are Americans rude? I took offense because I’ve lived in the US most of my life, but I also understood where this Italian woman was coming from. I explained to her that Americans are not rude, but rather different. The Italian and Hispanic culture are somewhat similar and we do interact with each other more formal than Americans do. This is why, I told this lady, people from other countries think that Americans are rude. I love the informality of the American culture, but to a point. What do I do? I try to get the best of both cultures. Confusing sometimes, but oh well, it also makes it very interesting. Like when I went back to Ecuador and I was introduced to my niece’s husband and I extended my hand to him. Everybody held their breath and I did not know why. I committed a great transgression when it came to manners. What I had to do was approach him and kiss him on the cheek. My mom was mortified, to say the least:)

    1. Wonderful comment. I do certainly enjoy celebrating the differences. I’m glad that you do not see our informality as rudeness. Some people see formality as cold and unfeeling. I see male to female chivalry as silly and old-fashioned. You are right. It makes life interesting!

      1. No, I don’t see American’s informality as rudeness, but I do understand why others do. Formality, at least in the Hispanic culture, is part of our upbringing and one of the things I truly like. Why? Because as a child we are taught how to address our elders, what behavior is expected or us, and this, at least for me, is great. Why? Boundaries, limitations, and discipline is set from the very beginning. The first 15 years of my life were spent in Ecuador and I would not trade that for anything in the world, but I am also very grateful to live in the US. Unlike you, I do see male to female chivalry as part of a man’s manners. But that is just me:)

      2. I really understand where you are coming from. Courtesy was always part of our home with our children. I think it is such a shame to see parents demand respect from their children while treating them like dirt. And I do love to see the “yes ma’am” and “no sir” of the south. I only propose that it might be everyone’s courtesy, not only a man’s to hold a door if they are in the right position to do so. And that men should be allowed to accept this gift from a woman.

      3. Wow! That is excellent. Didn’t think about it that way:) See? That is why I love comments, suggestions, ideas, etc. from different people:)

      4. Also, I’ve been thinking, and I want to make sure you understand I think we are really on the same side of the subject. 🙂

  6. Thank you for visiting my blog today. I appreciate the time you took to stop by. May your day be filled with joy and peace.

  7. Hi Jean! Thank you for visiting Word Share Junkie. I’m so glad you liked my latest post on 3 paths to internal woosah. I enjoyed yours on Chivalry or Courtesy? very much. Have a beautiful day!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.