Friday, November 10, 2006

Gentlemanly behavior

There is just something nice about men who retain enough of the old school that they make you feel like a lady.

Even if you are wearing a tshirt with a questionable stain and jeans, when someone opens the door for you, you can't help but stand up a little straighter, you know?  They help ease you from point a to point b without making you feel as though you are inconveniencing them at all.

The younger me didn't get it.  I still remember in my late teens going out with Mr W's Dad, and nearly shoulder checking him in my clueless reach for the door as we entered a restaurant.   He is from Georgia, very Southern gentleman...and I sure had a lot to learn.  

It shouldn't have been that way, considering that I grew up around men that would not only open doors but would stand up when a woman would enter or exit the room.  Men who were polite to the ladies, almost painfully formal at times.  I was raised in the Spanish version of "Yes, ma'am,"  and "No, sir" and I should've known better. 

Somewhere in my teens I lost it.  Not the "yes, ma'am" part, but the part where I expected a door opened for me.  None of the boys I hung out with ever really did that.  Maybe it's because I was one of them, the buddy they talked to about whatever friend of mine had broken their heart lately.  Maybe it was a touch of "I'm not some helpless girl, I can open my own damn door" teen feminist rebellion; I don't know.

I do know that one of the biggest things that ever impressed me about my husband was that on the night I first met him, he gave me the nice-to-meet-you handshake. Then offered to walk us to my friend's car, because it was dark.  And when I had a heel-wobble because I was stepping over a flowerbed and lost my balance, he offered an arm so readily and perfectly, so naturally, that I recovered nicely and made it down on the other side without incident. 

The thing is, it was subtle, not something I really noticed until I replayed it in my head later.  It was evident to me then that this was just part of his nature.  I was impressed.  Sure, he slipped in a bit of a vulgar handshake at the end, because he was flirting with me, but I overlooked that because I was so dazzled by the whole package.

To this day, my husband is unfailingly polite.   He still "Yes, sir" s both his Dad and mine.  And he "ma'm" s my friends, much to their horror. 

He's passing it on to the boys, too.  I overheard him recently taking Ryan aside, as we exited a building, holding him back as he tried to sprint out in front of Audrey and me, "Son, you let the ladies go first.  And you hold the door for them." 

I felt myself beaming all the way to the car. 

Where he opened the door for me.

Luckily, there are a few of these guys still around.  They are so naturally good at being a little gallant, that it's nice to walk through the doors they hold.

Gentlemen. 

Hopefully not a dying breed.

3 comments:

jckfrstross said...

wonderful:) i think its great when a gentleman opens the door for a lady makes you feel wonderful inside. and i love to see young men do this also. glad your husband is teaching your son to do the right thing:)

Deb

onemoretina said...

I'm with you.  When a man holds a door open and steps back to let me pass through, it makes me feel so much like ..... like a lady.  And the older I get, the more I need to be reminded of that feeling.  Your husband sounds like a great guy, and he is doing your son a favor by teaching him these things.  Because, one day somebody special will notice what he did, just like his mother noticed it back when.   Tina

jennieminnesota said...

I totally agree with you.  It's nice to have a gentleman around who does kind things because it's his way, not that he's trying to act a certain way.  And so sweet to hear him passing along the rules to your son.