I live in Raleigh and travel around the south on regular basis. I also work with people who were born and raised in the backwoods of Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi and Louisiana. Something weird has happened. I have grown accustomed to men opening doors for me.
Well, except for my husband. He is from NYC and tends to walk through a door first. And I often walk 30 paces behind him because I have short legs. So if he remembers, he sorta holds it open in a weird way that forces me to walk under his armpit.
I’m like, “Just go ahead, dude.”
We laugh. It is not a big deal.
But when someone does open a door for me in a proper way, I appreciate the gesture. I think it’s a sign of respect, not chivalry. And respect is contagious. When a man opens a door for me, it reminds me to open a door for a busy mom who has a boatload of kids. And when a man lets me step off an elevator first to make sure the door stays open, I am reminded to do that for an elderly woman at the doctor’s office.
Yes, there are ugly racist and sexist narratives here in the south. But I like the way people offer little courtesies to one another. And I grew up in Chicago. I’ve worked in New York City. There’s nothing to brag about when people get off an elevator and scream FIRST!!!!!!!!!! like it’s a comment on Gawker. And there are plenty of racist and sexist narratives in those cities, too.
So if you see someone in a wheelchair, hold the door. If you want to open a door for a lady, do it. Don’t ask for anything in return. And if someone does hold a door for you, say thank you.
Manners, people. Get some.