Saturday :: Aug 29, 2015

Hold the Door for Her, Every Time


by paradox

I was badly rear-ended a month ago, on my way to the gym not a mile from my house, a little late I saw a woman with a double baby carriage on a street corner to my left and quickly braked to let her cross. Some kid behind me was texting, didn’t expect me to stop and never saw me, he crashed me at 20 mph and completely wrecked the front end of his sedan.

I have a hitch under my F-150 bumper attached to the frame, he did $4,600 worth of damage but I could still drive. Except my battery died when I tried to go home, one of those days.

It never would have happened if I hadn’t stopped for that woman with her children, but people change, I have changed, and from various mental evolutions over the years one mistake I absolutely will not tolerate after looking over the day is rudeness, discourtesy, or any lack of grace or manners when the opportunity presented itself with women.

Didn’t hold open that door for her? You efffed up. Even if you were a little first at the four-way, did you let her go first? A mistake if you didn’t, and a way worse one for not stopping for any girl or woman at an intersection. Do not ogle women at the gym. Any plain public opportunity with girls or women, be gracious, have good manners, defer to her with an honest, quiet dignity. Always, every woman, every time.

I follow more than a few women and feminists on Twitter, right, and every once in a while I get a tweet where the subject is a male complaining about chivalry or these special treatment manners for women in everyday common courtesy. Today is my precious Saturday rest morning, I’m supposed to be writing up short story #3 in my head, I really don’t have the mental account to get revved up over something, but this seriously bothers me, if you’re one of those guys resenting this alleged special treatment for women I want to have a little chat with you.

Google, my dear home grown, “women’s shelter” for any relatively large city and the results will be instant and numerous, my hometown of 55,000 souls had one, Shepherd’s Gate. These places don’t exist because she lost her job, couldn’t find daycare or didn’t immunize her kids, it’s because her spouse or partner viciously beat her and maimed her, often the kids too, repeatedly, until she fled with the children to the shelter because there was no other place to go, many women don’t have family to back them up in this hell.

This happens in every city, homie, because the culture and society all around us has this incredible tolerance and acceptance for violence against women, if this were not so, trying finding a men’s shelter counseling the children, there are none. As the incomparably graceful Amanda Marcotte reminds us, take a look at the homicide log in a big city and it’s a horrifyingly tragic and brutally violent history of gun violence against women, oh my god.

You don’t have to understand one damn thing about feminism, equality, male privilege, sexism, discrimination or the patriarchy, okay, just get the environment we created and live in can be an unbelievably violent and fearful one for our women, by being gracious with good manners in your time and place, in this day, when a woman interacts with you, no matter how briefly, this reality of fear will not be so.

I’ve made a lot of mistakes with women, this evolved insistence on 100% daily courtesy doesn’t excuse or change that, or make me feel any better about them. Nor does it bestow some ridiculous label of righteousness or goodness upon me, Jesus, please, are you kidding?

For 13 years I was brutally beaten in a tragically dysfunctional Latin, machismo patriarchy environment. I’m not a feminist, I’m not female, but in my way I have an understanding of our culture and its violence toward women, I have earned my place to quietly listen in an attempt in learn and grow.

Yesterday 0645 Sunnyvale 24 Hour Fitness I’m walking up to the entrance 10 yards away, and through all the tinted glass I can discern a woman on her way out, long lair and skirt, so I automatically stop five yards away to give her total space and wait for her to leave first. Nothing more, never make a big or special deal about it.

It’s happened hundreds of times, right, as always first the briefest look of relief and happy gratitude, and I swear, a small trust. We both get what our world can be like, but just in this tiny time and place it’s safe and well.

Just like always it’s over in two shakes, the briefest of moments in a huge day of little moves, likely I’ll never see her again. Still, at the end of the day you remember that look from a beautiful, accomplished woman and know just a tiny little bit of grace. I could get addicted to that, and if somehow you’re a guy with resentments about common courtesy toward women I pity what you’re missing.

paradox :: 6:34 AM :: Comments (1) :: Digg It!