by Stella Ramsaroop
(Originally published in Guyana's Kaieteur News on 16 September 2007)
Is my arm broken? Is my hand shrivelled? Are my eyes functioning? Maybe I should take a second to check. Yep, just as I thought, everything is working properly. Which brings me to the question at hand - why must guys continue to insist on opening the door for me?
I am perfectly capable of opening a door. Sure, their arms may be longer than my arms and perhaps a tad stronger. But believe it or not, I handle the door opening process quite well in the absence of testosterone.
It's not that I don't understand the social code that mandates this action. I know that any man who doesn't at least attempt to open the door for a woman is thought to be ill mannered. In fact, some women base their entire judgment of a man on this single action (or the lack thereof).
It is thought that a guy will fall short in all areas of manners if he does not have the common courtesy to open the door for a woman. For many women, this is the first clue that he doesn't know to put a napkin on his lap during dinner, which fork to use for the salad or (worst of all) he hasn't been taught to leave a tip for decent service.
However, for me, the door-opening requirement for men is a nuisance. It doesn't make me feel like a queen. Instead, it makes me feel small and dependent. Since I'm not a child, I don't like to feel small or dependent. I don't use the action of door opening to determine the manners of a man.
In fact, if I happen to pass through the door first and the guy has the guts to let me hold the door for him, that is the sign of a man who can handle a non-traditional and independent spirit. It is the sign of a man who isn't easily intimidated by a woman who can take care of herself. To me, it is the sign of a real man.
Chivalry belongs to an age of submissive women who curtsy and bow at the sight of their lord. I belong to an age of daring women who are educated leaders. So why should I step aside and expect a man to open a door for me? It's just a door. If a woman needs a man to open a door for her, then she should never attempt to bite off something really big like starting a business or running for political office.
It's just a door. This is true, but it also so much more. It is a sign of dependence. Women might as well just curtsy as we gracefully nod our heads in submission to our lord as we pass through the door. No thanks; I'll get my own door.
However, men beware, not many women share my notions about opening doors. In fact, very few women agree with this view and you could get yourself in some big trouble if you wait for you girlfriend to open the door for you and she is a more traditional type of thinker. This is something you may want to talk about before actually putting it to the test.
As the stereotypical views of women fall to the side and we begin to see actions like opening our own door in the presence of a man as breaking one more link to a history of a being second class in society, we will see true equality between men and women. Until then guys – I'll get that door.