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January 09, 2008



Now this I hate. Certainly women need the rights and freedoms that they didn't have long ago. But let's not do away with kindness. I teach my sons and daughters to be kind and helpful to everyone. These are good values for everyone to practice.


On a similar note, what I find to be really embarrassing is walking up to a door around the same time as a man and one of two things happen: 1) he waits for me to open the door 2) I hang back, waiting for the door to be opened, and he rushes ahead, opens it a crack and slides in.

I can open a door by myself. I can have both hands full of bags, books and an open drink and open a door by myself. But even when my arms are empty, it's ONLY POLITE for a guy to open a door. I do it for elderly people, not because I believe their incapable of opening the door, but to show respect.

Oh that's right. The modern woman hates respect, and only wants to find tighter skinny jeans so she may be objectified further. Congratulations.

Liz Neville

I wish I could-- enlighten, that is-- but I'm still baffled as to this condescending attitude of "I can do it myself". Of course we can. So why are we so prickly that we think we need to be rude to prove it?


Not sure how to answer this one, as I'm always pleased when someone exhibits such a kindness to me as opening a door or allowing me to pass through one first. It seems like good manners to me.


Kindness and courtesy are nice, but as I have gotten older (and no longer have to juggle babies and diaper bags) I prefer to just get out rather than wait for my husband or son to run around the car and help me out. But we do it for my 85 year old mother in law, since she does need a little help opening the heavy door and appreciates the lift. Communication is the key, but I would not fault anyone who erred on the side of kindness. How hard is it to say on the first date, "Would you like me to get the door for you?"

Paul Robichaux

I was raised in the American South, and part of that raising was being taught that a male *always* opens the door for a female. Doesn't matter if it's your grandma, your wife, your little sister, or some random woman walking behind you at the mall.

I can't understand why anyone would find this offensive, although I have my reply ready: "I didn't open the door because you're a woman, I opened it because I'm a gentleman."


It would seem as though this is the fruition of the feminist movement which sought complete equality with men and to undermine and usurp the traditional distinction of the sexes. Although for some women today it seems to go even one step further with a general hatred of men who still wish to act like men.


This is a tricky one, in its way. Certainly, in my own life, I have most often been puzzled by the irritation of other women at door-opening and the like. Because, yes, of course, any reasonably sane and intelligent fellow probably knows I have the mental and physical capacity to operate a door mechanism. On the other, I have recently had this point driven home: context is everything. So-called "chivalric" gestures, come they from men to women, or vice-versa are ultimately valuable in the spirit in which they're given. Door-opening can be done politely and sweetly (and most frequently is!) but if the person who opens the door is condescending or sexist, it comes through, and suddenly that lovely gesture doesn't quite seem so lovely anymore. After this happens a few times, it becomes easier to understand why some women react poorly.

On the other hand (three...who knew?), I find I go through life much more happily assuming the good intentions of others unless I have a specific reason not to. So it's probably bad manners to sass your traveling companion for his courtesy.


Wow! But I love it when a guy gets the door for me. We both know I can open a door, but it's nice to know that there are still men who like to help ladies in that way.

And I open the door for anyone, male or female. I do it because it may very well brighten someone's day to know that they've been helped in some way. Also, it's just nice.

What happened to good old-fashioned manners on both sides? When I have kids, I am definitely teaching them common courtesy. And I am going to instruct my sons to always open the door for a girl when they are on a date. If the girl appreciates it, then she is worth dating again. If she complains, don't bother anymore.


I remember about 15 years ago when I was working in in a large corporation, I was written up twice for something similar to opening a door. I came to a meeting with about a dozen people (I was the only man) and since we were two chairs short I went to another room and picked some up. This didn't have anything to do with chivalry on my part, we just needed more chairs. One of the women was incensed because she felt she could get her own chair, and I was given a warning by HR.

A few months later I attended another meeting. One woman came in late. She was very pregnant. There were not chairs to go around and my supervisor told me to get another chair. I declined, citing my earlier reprimand and said that I was confident in a women's ability to do the task. I was written up again for insensitivity to pregnant women.

Liz Neville

"...but if the person who opens the door is condescending or sexist, it comes through..."

Huh? If it's a stranger offering this courtesy, how on earth could "condescending or sexist" come across in such a momentary gesture? And if you ARE on a date with such a condescending or sexist person-- get the he** out through the open door!


Iano, I'm a feminist, and my fella always opens the door for me, and for any woman *shrug* For me obviously the two are not mutually exclusive.

I always open the door for older people.

I like manners :o)


This is one of those moments I'm glad I live in the South. If i'm walking behind a man and he doesn't open the door for me, its unusual.


I just moved to the south from the north and there is a definite difference in the door opening. I walked into a filling station in Michigan and a guy walked out and let the door slam in my face (I'm female). I got back to the car and told my fiance that I'd gotten used to southern gentlemen!

For a woman to get mad at a stranger for opening/holding the door for her is silly, even if she would rather do it herself. It's courtesy. I don't let doors slam in people's faces, male or female. I appreciate it when someone holds it open for me, even on the occasion that it's a woman! It's nice, courteous, and a little sign that we're still capable of being polite and courteous in a world where people are increasingly isolated from one another.

Sharon Bynum

It seems as of the pendulum has swung too far. It came from a too rigid place and has gone to a too loose place. One of the stories about Buddah in his enlightenment process is: One day he was meditating under the bodhi tree still being an asthetic, eating bird food and naked. He heard a boatman on the river giving orders to tie off the boat. He said: If you tie it too tight, it will break the rope. If you tie it too loose, it will fall off and drift away. It has to be tied just right.

He realized that being too rigid and asthetic was too far in one direction and the opposite was to be too loose in the other.

Modesty, not only in dress, is the middle path. Modesty in nature of behavior is also looking for the middle path. To be kind in the face of unkindness. To be fair in the face of unfairness.

To play out our own unresolved personal issues on another person is unacceptable. To be rude and rejecting of a kind service, is to 'tie the boat too loose' with the idea that you can display your issues/unresolved behaviors is like displaying your body in a loose manner.

We have to learn to become more responsible in our ways and how we treat each other. Modest dressing should also reflect a modest temperment and behavior in the social level.

It does not mean to keep your mouth shut if society is being harmed by behaviors or rules. Speak up and protect rights. But when it is a personal endeavor such as a kind act of opening a door, a modest appreciation can be cultivated.


I think it's helpful when the person who gets to the door first holds it open, but it makes me a little uncomfortable when a man rushes to open my car door, pull out my chair, or pay for my dinner. (Especially if we're not on a date.) I'm not very gender-typical, and I don't really enjoy being pushed into that role. Plus, sometimes I feel like they expect something in exchange for their "chivalry", and that's not fun. Is that really so unreasonable? Manners are about making the other person feel at ease, not about showing off what a manly gentleman you are. If I say that something makes me uncomfortable, it's polite to stop doing it. It's rude to tell me that I'm wrong to have my own opinions about the thing in question.

These days, I live in an area without many "traditional" men, so this is more of a theoretical problem than a real one. (Thank God for guys who are secure enough in their masculinity not to have to be proving it all the time.)


As someone above noted, context is everything. So is motivation. If someone is opening the door to be nice, I'm all for it. If someone is opening the door for me and will expect something from me in return (money, sex, applause), I'm not too excited about it.
I'm a mom with a small baby, and you'd be amazed at how often people of both sexes let doors slam in my face - or once, on my stroller. I don't know there's any connection with feminism or sexism; I just think people these days are less considerate and honestly don't notice other people.


I don't get mad if men open/hold doors for me. It's such a fast gesture that it's useless to get bent out of shape over it.

However, I do acknowledge it as mainly unnecessary unless one is carrying a lot in their hands. I much appreciate folks who open doors as an OVERALL useful gesture, not just because someone has different body parts.

I open/hold doors for everyone: men, other women, kids, etc. That's the way I think it should be, although I must admit that I get a kick out of doing it for men. They do too!

Funny how the whole letting-women-enter-first thing has boundaries. I don't see this sort of "chivalry" on the road or in long lines, LOL.


I work every day in a highrise office building downtown in a big city, and I wear a suit and heels to work every day (so, the quintessential picture of the male/female interaction in a world where gender entitlement is a big deal - the workplace. Not, for example, the grocery store, where most patrons are women and some have small children and strollers, for whom only a real boor would fail to hold/open a door). The lobby floor of my building has a very high ceiling and the doors are tall - and they're very, very heavy. Most days I wear stilettos, which have no traction for swivelling purposes. In order to open the door myself, I have to plant both feet, grab the handle, and LUNGE backward. All decked out in business formal, this is graceless, and if I'm carrying a box of documents, or a stack of smaller things (folder, lunch, etc.), there's a good chance I'll drop something. Of course, I can open the door if I must; and one might blame the fashion world for the spindly heels (though no one is making me wear them); but the men who work there literally can open the door better than I can. Not because they have greater upper body strength, above and beyond the amount needed for the door-opening task - because the door is actually physically difficult for me to open. (I'm young and healthy, by the way, with two good arms and hands.) Consequently, I always hold it for the person behind me, but I appreciate it plenty when someone holds it for me, and most men pay a lot more attention than most women about holding the door helpfully, rather than nominally. And, since this is Michigan, I do indeed have a split second of uncertainty whether the man in front of me will drop that door in my face. (Which makes it doubly hard; when it's swinging back the wrong way it's even more difficult to open.) I would hate a world with doors I wasn't allowed to open, or couldn't possibly open. And I hate the idea of being really incapable of doing things I need to do. But having other people make life easier is hardly worth complaining about!


It also seems worth questioning whether the secondhand experiences of this man with a few women he knows can be imputed to modern women as a whole.

Do I find it unnecessary and awkward if a man makes a production out of holding the door for me? Sure. Does it bug me when male co-workers, even if standing in front of me, step aside to allow me to exit an elevator first? You bet--because it emphasizes a difference between us that there is no need to emphasize in that particular context. Have I ever said anything about it? Nope. This modern woman, at least, keeps those opinions to herself because it's simply not worth making a big deal out of it.


Wow, there should be an expression for "asking the choir."

I will give you an answer. I enjoy some types of chivalry from my boyfriend. And it is always okay for a person (of any gender) to open a door for a person (of any gender) whose arms are full of packages.

However, I would certainly not want my male boss opening doors for me, pulling out my chair at a company dinner, etc. For one, it might be construed as inappropriately romantic. More importantly, however, if my boss thinks of me as someone who deserves "special" courtesy, he is unlikely to think of me as someone who can pull my own weight against the guys in the office. And think, of course, of the other guys in the office! Are they supposed to compete against me all day -- where I work hard to win their respect and be treated like a real competitor who can take the heat of the job -- and then open doors for me? Doesn't that kind of show that I'm not competing on the same playing field?

If a man is *expected* to be chivalrous, he's going to open the door, and *expect* you to walk through it and sit down in the receptionists' desk. In contrast, if you get all the rights and opportunities he does, why should he be the one to open your door?

No offense to any receptionists, but many of us have higher career ambitions. If I'm trying to beat the pants off my colleagues, I don't expect them to treat me like a delicate flower in the process.

All that being said, as long as it's not awkward or belabored or weird (like the person walking behind rushing to open the door for the person walking in front), anyone can HAPPEN to open the door for anyone: I usually find that whoever's in front just opens the door anyway.

At least in New York, I feel like it's all worked out. Among strangers, it's laissez-faire; in any group of people, the first person to the door generally opens it for everyone. People with only one Starbucks drink open doors for people who were clearly sent by their bosses to bring back Starbucks for the whole office. See? We can all get along! It's got nothing to do with gender.



A few years back, I held the door open for an elderly woman. (I was about 45 at the time, I guess.) You should have seen her attitude, like I was insulting her! I honestly wanted to say, "next time, I'll just let it slam in your face." But I didn't say that. I hate rude people. And anyone ungracious enough to reject an act of kindness is just that...rude!
I, for one, just love it when my husband holds a door for me. On the other hand, I'm just as likely to hold the door for him. Maybe that's why we've been together over 36 years!


i haven't the faintest clue why women would get offended if men open the door for them. do they really think that men do this because they think women are incapable of opening the door? obviously, they both know that the woman can do it herself, but the man is being polite, as he should. so why on earth would anybody get offended? i think they are just trying to make too big a deal out of a simple, kind act.


Penelope, I pretty much take all your points but... "No offense to any receptionists, but many of us have higher career ambitions. If I'm trying to beat the pants off my colleagues, I don't expect them to treat me like a delicate flower in the process." I'm curious what this means?

I'm a receptionist, and nobody's ever treated me like a delicate flower :o) Far from it, I've lost 5 pounds in the two months since I took the job because I'm run off my feet by everybody. I THINK possibly someone has held a door for me at some point during my duties, but it was probably because I was carrying an A-frame sign at the time and couldn't get back in the building without someone holding the door for me!


I just have one question about all this door holding stuff. For the men out there, would you like or dislike it if women habitually opened doors for you? Why or why not?


I think that opening a door for a woman is a sign of respect- not a sign that men think women are inferior or to try to get attention. My husband opens doors for me all the time and I feel offended if a man lets the door close in my face. ( I do get a kick out the way some the men around here get around actually "opening" the door. It seems if they are not sure if they should open it or not they swing the door open really wide, so by the time I am there, if I hustle, the door is still open.) I really appreciate it now that I have an almost 2 yr old and am pregnant.
My husband has opened car doors for me since we first started going out and still does it after more than two years of marriage. He learned it from a friend who always did it for his wife. He will also open car doors for other women if they wait. He even has his 16 yr old nephew racing to open my door! It has always made me feel special.
I do get a little wary if a man asks to sit next to me on a bench, though. The only times I have had this happen were with men who were of questionable character and started making passes. >:(
Oh, and I am from the north, so a few northerners have manners. (even if my husband learned his manners in FL ;) )


I'm embarrassed to say that I often prefer to jump out right away rather than wait for one of my sons to open my door. I need to change that though. It's not as hard to remember to wait when my husband is driving though. I do appreciate when I guy opens the door for me and I always try to thank him kindly.


I always smile and say "thank you" when a gentleman holds a door open for me. For one thing, there is little enough courtesy in the world today; where we see it, we ought to encourage and applaud it. Secondly, most men were taught manners by who? Their mothers! Isn't it unfair for a man to be taught, by a woman, to open doors for women...only to have other women snap at him when he does so?


what if you are going through many many doors together? If he opens the first one then you will be closer when you get to the next one. Should you open the door for him? Some chivalrous guys seem uncomfortable with this. They hang back waiting for you to go through. I find this awkward. I don't want to wait for him to get the door for me, so I open it and go through it first holding it open behind me. It still feels awkward b/c i know he would have wanted to get the door first if he could have.


What if you and a chivalrous guy you are walking with must go through many doors together? It can get awkward. The first door is find because you arrive at the same time and he holds it for you. But at the next door you will get there first. I usually hold the door for him in turn, but if he is chivalrous it is awkward and sometimes he won't even go through it. But I am not going to wait expectantly for him to open it. If he is not that chivalrous he may think you presumptuous! So I hold the door open behind me as I go through, but if he seems extra chivalrous you feel you have done him an injustice by not letting him hold the door!


I like to err on the side of assuming all men are courteous enough to open a door for me. I never assume that one will rush ahead to get to the door to open it for me, though. Should I approach a door at the same time as a man, I pause and step back-giving them the option to go ahead of me. I don't ever recall one doing that. Instead, they make sure to open the door for me. I never assume that because a gentleman is elderly that I should open a door for him, unless he appears to have a physical ailment. I have learned through time that a man's ego is quite fragile, and especially elderly men certainly don't want to be made to feel incapable of offering a simple gesture of kindness.


About six years ago I was working in Manhattan. If you've ever been on Wall Street at rush hour, you may have had the same experience. The five o'clock bell sounded, the doors swung open, and the race began as to who could get to the trains first. If you didn't keep up, you would get pushed, prodded, or trampled. I'll never forget the day that a young business man pushed his way past an elderly woman with a cane to get to the train. She fell and he moved on without so much as an 'I'm sorry." Or, the day that a pregnant mom with a toddler in tow boarded and not one gentleman gave up his seat. It was appalling.

On that same note, when I began dating my husband, a military brat raised with good southern charm, his chivalry went beyond impressive. Not only are doors opened, but he'll stand if I (or any lady present) gets up to leave the table, and will carry the shopping bags. I never ask, because I don't want to take advantage of his kindness, but somehow he always manages to have them in hand.

I asked him one day a few years back, when he raced out in the pouring rain to grab our car while I sat inside the warmth of the restaurant why he always goes out of his way to be a gentleman. His response: "Ladies are God's most beautiful gift to the world, a marvel of His creation, and they should always be treated with respect."


When a man opens the door for me or does anything "chivalrous" for me, I look him in the eye, smile and say thank you. They say chivalry is dead because women killed it. Well, chivalry is NOT dead, but it is on life support. Let's revive it!

Mary Catherine

I love it when men open doors for me! Girls don't realize how important it is for them to express appreciation for chivalry, but it really is incredibly important to thank men for opening doors for us. Our society has made it so that men can't do anything for women anymore, because women can do it all ourselves - we can make our own livings, pay for our own houses and cars, and thanks to daycare, raise our own children without their help. If men aren't even allowed to open doors for us and show us by their chivalry that they respect and honor us as women, what are they left with? They have nothing left to give, nothing left to make them want to be manly, if we women insist on being man enough for ourselves.


I think it is dumb when women are mad at men for holding a door open.

Anyone can hold a door for anyone. It's helpful. Very few people care!

And if you are carrying a Starbucks treat and a load of textbooks, it's very much obliged!

klare bear

wow... gosh are there still girls out there that don't like gentlemanly guys?( or should i say men)

The Guys in my highschool group have periods of being very chivalious... and somtimes compleate jerks.
This one guy i know( one of my best guyfriends) is so very gentlemanly - always helping me in and out of cars and pulling on my chairs and opening doors.
man what i would do for having a guy like that every day. Please ladies... this guys aren't being sexist... they're being sweet and nice.
Yes Women did kill it... any time( if your mad or not) a guy is nice enough to go out of his way to do somthing nice for you.. smile and say thank-you


The Guys in my highschool group have periods of being very chivalious... and somtimes compleate jerks. -- Klare Bear

That's because "highschool group" are adolescents. In the transition phase between child and adult, literally learning how to be an adult. (Hopefully without self-destructing.)

Unfortunately, I've seen too many my age (52) and older who either are still learning how to be an adult or just gave up and stayed adolescents.

Laura S.

As Katie above mentioned, about being on the train: "Or, the day that a pregnant mom with a toddler in tow boarded and not one gentleman gave up his seat. It was appalling."

I have one question for you, Katie: how come YOU didn't give her your seat?

I have mixed feelings about chivalry, but I don't have mixed feelings about politeness. I hold the door for people (I'm a woman), but unless they are carrying something, I hold it open behind me, after I walk through, because I know that that person is capable of opening a door, but also probably appreciates not having it slammed in their face. I also give up my seat on the bus, train, etc., to people who might have more difficulty standing for a long time.

It seems that many on the people who have posted here also feel strongly about just generally being kind and thoughtful to other people, which I'm glad to hear. But I hope that before we criticize men for their behavior in public, whether chivalrous or not, we take a look at our own. Treat others how you hope they will treat you.

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