I always open doors for women and, now that I think of it, sometimes men as well, when warranted but less often.

I always give up my seat, actually it’s beyond that, I am uncomfortable sitting, when a woman is standing.

I am not a car guy, I change oil by driving to the dealership. I love my six-speed (Yes, standard, I do have some testosterone left) Nissan Versa (Ok maybe not much) EXCEPT for the fact that it is only unlocked by a key, on the driver’s side.

This forces me to be on the OPPOSITE SIDE OF THE CAR from my wife, or daughter. My brain is screaming at me “I AM SUPPOSED TO OPEN HER DOOR, I am on the WRONG SIDE, I hope my mother isn’t watching (she’s been dead a few years and I don’t buy into her riding on a cloud looking down nonsense, but nevertheless) THIS ISN’T RIGHT”.

Always has been, always will be.

No matter the lack of logic, it just is.

I am uncomfortable if, while sitting, I offer my seat and a woman declines.

I cannot relax.

So we both stand.

I model my initial impressions of those that have been my daughter’s dates by whether they open the car door for her.

I want to punch a male that throws open the door and walks in, ignoring, almost daring, the person (in particular a woman) behind them, to complain.

I cringe when I see anyone, but in particular a woman, loading groceries into the car as I watch a male, open his own door, and get in.

If he gets in the passenger side it is all I can do to stop myself from gunning him down.

I know, I know stereotypes and prejudices.

I cannot help myself.

I always thought of my deferring to women a sign of respect, and an indication of the quality of my upbringing.

I wonder now, if by opening all those doors, relinquishing all those seats, deferring to others for those crowded elevators, carrying those bags, retrieving that overhead luggage, giving up the last serving…….and myriad of other things my brain compels me to do,

I wonder if all those well-intentioned, ingrained, what I considered respectful, actions contributed, promulgated, and furthered the continuation of subjugating women.

I fear I have been an unwitting accomplice diminishing the female gender’s place in this world by the unnecessary, detrimental, albeit well-intentioned, continuation of archaic practices.

In spite of my believing it to be a sign of “respect” for women.

There is only a semantic difference between opening doors or surrendering a seat and requiring burkas, denying driving licenses, or prohibiting being in public without a related male escort.

Despite the protestations that these are efforts intended to protect women, to respect them.

Protect them from who, or what?

It is really a well-crafted spin on the true intent, controlling them.

From now on I will still hold doors open, give up my seat, defer to others, not because they are female, but because it’s a symbol of our shared respect for each other.

I will do it for anyone, regardless of gender, and accept those gestures offered to me.

I will learn to accept the fact that they may prefer to stand.

That, while they appreciate the offer, they are okay with me sitting.

I will try to embrace this brave new world.

I have one final question

How is putting women in what is essentially a head to toe “bagger” showing respect?

Isn’t it actually a cruel sexist joke?

A body bag for the living?

They can’t all be that aesthetically challenged.

If they are, that might explain flying a plane into a building.

I have a more optimistic outlook.

I believe it likely those faces, underneath the “Body bags”, watching the images of planes into buildings, are smiling.

And crying.

Joy, horror, and relief.

We are protecting them from ourselves.

2 thoughts on “R.E.S.P.E.C.T

  1. You best watch out as mom is watching, when you feel that chill on your shoulder or a pat on your arm. Told your nephew that if he has a problem after I,m gone , he will feel a pat on his arm and I will always be there to help him through. So watch out for mom, as I know her and I both beleived in the same ways and things.

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