Etiquette for men is not as simple as it used to be. What was once clearly understood as good etiquette for men when it comes to treating a woman has been blurred by a culture that increasingly values equality over old fashioned manners. It seems that the old timers have little trouble maintaining their ways when it comes to treating women. After all, we don’t expect them to change now. Today’s youth is growing up in a world where men don’t treat women much differently, so they are not very confused. The middle group, however, is caught between two worlds.
There are a few examples of traditional etiquette that is not as clear as it once was. How is it that a man is supposed to treat a woman in these situations today? Does it depend on the woman and, if so, does the man know which type of woman he is dealing with?
Opening The Door
Traditionally, a man should open a door for a woman. This not only means when entering a building like the office, but also when driving a woman in a car. It was totally natural for a man to escort a woman to the passenger’s door of a vehicle and seat her properly before assuming position in the driver’s seat years ago. Today, however, this feels quite strange to the point most men would feel very uncomfortable, and many woman as well. Not only that, the woman may very well be the driver.
Seating a Woman
When going out for a meal, a gentleman would seat a woman. By that I mean he would scoot the chair in behind the woman before taking his seat. This is a sign of respect for the woman. However, I can’t tell you the last time I saw any man under 75 years old do such a thing. Woman today just sit down. Period. Do they do this because they want to avoid the chair scoot or because they know it isn’t coming?
Putting on a Coat
When a woman is ready to put on a coat, a gentleman will always offer to help and slide the coat on her. Well, at least that used to happen at some point in time. This tradition seems to have fallen by the wayside these days. A woman can put on her own coat after all, right? Of is a man missing an opportunity?
Let the Woman Sit
Here is a scene for you. A room, church, theater, or any other place fills up and there are no more chairs. Who should stand up? The rule today seems to be whoever got there last is out of luck. No so a generation ago. Certainly the men would have offered up the chairs for the women. What happened to this rule?
Who Has Changed?
Who is it that has made the expected etiquette for men for confusing? Was it the women to demanded equality through the 60’s and beyond? Was it the men who got lazy and no longer treated woman as if they were special? Perhaps a bit of both. Whoever started it, the new way of treating a woman seems to be set for men today.
What is a Man To Do?
Here is some advice. Mind you, this advice might get your foot stomped on by the wrong woman. Men, open the door for a woman. Scoot her chair in when you go to a restaurant. Help her put on her coat and offer to do it for a stranger. And for crying out loud, get off your chair in a place like church when a woman is left to stand. If you get scoffed at or make a woman uncomfortable once in a while because she does not expect or like this treatment, so be it. You can still be a gentleman, even today.
The etiquette for men has certainly gotten confusing, but that doesn’t mean you have to give up.