Thanks to the rise of feminism, the decline of masculinity and the neglect of fathers, common courtesies that men used to extend toward women have been largely lost in today’s generation. I recall clearly a few years ago that I saw a woman moving toward a store door about the same time that I did, so I quickened my pace a bit, grabbed the door handle, pulled it open and stood back so that the lady could pass through first. She stopped dead in her tracks and glaring at me, said, “I’m quite capable of opening my own door.” I just smiled and stood there until she decided that the showdown was going to be a long one and finally stepped through the door without a thanks or an acknowledgment of the courtesy at all. Frankly, it didn’t bother me all that much as I didn’t figure that the fact that her mother had raised an angry amazon did not negate the fact that my parents hadn’t raised a self-centered clod.
But today, too many young men are being raised in a culture that treats women as sex objects or social equals unworthy of consideration rather than as feminine treasures worthy of courtesy and as a consequence, they really do not know how to demonstrate the chivalrous and confident helpfulness that projects masculine respect and servant leadership. This failure to groom young men into humble, yet secure initiators of protection and provision leaves women caught in a culture where they are subject to more violence, rudeness and disrespect.
Some chivalrous acts should be a intentionally taught by engaged fathers who want to see a confident courteousness in their sons that communicates safety, deference, leadership and self-confidence. Here are a few skills that I believe should be included in this training:
1. Standing when a woman enters the room.
2. Offering a woman of any age your seat when all the seats are taken in a room, on public transportation or in any setting where seating is at a premium.
3. Opening the door for a lady.
4. When walking down a sidewalk, the man should walk nearest the street. (This puts the man between traffic and the lady providing an additional layer of safety.)
5. When going down stairs, the man should go down them first. (In case the lady falls froward, he can catch her or break the fall.)
6. When going up stairs, the man should go up last. (In case the lady falls backwards, he can catch her or break the fall.)
7. When entering a darkened room or house, the man enters first to make sure everything is safe.
9. Never use crude, course or vulgar language (or profanity) in front of a lady and show respect by not demonstrating any special skills in belching or other scatological talents one may possess.
10. When shaking the hands of a lady, wait for her to extend her hand and then offer yours with a firm and secure grip that is not too tight nor too loose while looking pleasantly in her eyes.
11. If one sees a women carrying a package or anything heavier than a purse, the man should insist on carrying it to her destination.
12. If a woman appears to be cold and you are wearing a coat or jacket, you should offer it to her.
13. When leaving row seating (like in a church or theater), once in the aisle, step back and let the lady emerge from the row. If you are making your way through a crowd, the man should lead the way while the woman holds his arm.
14. When traveling in a car, upon arriving at a destination, the man should go around the car and open the door and helping the lady if she is leaving a vehicle that is difficult to get out of like a truck or a sports car.
15. If someone is showing rudeness toward a lady in the presence of a man, he should do whatever is necessary (but not more than is necessary) to protect her.
There are certainly more than 15 actions that young men should learn in how they should treat a lady, but this is a good start. It is also a good idea to train your sons that if a woman doesn’t want to be treated with respect or more-or-less acts like a guy when she is with him, that she likely won’t be the kind of young lady that a man will enjoy being married to over a lifetime and he might want to look for a woman who appreciates it when a man has enough confidence and strength of character to take the lead in a relationship by demonstrating exceptional courtesy and leadership.