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.
Hopefully not a dying breed.