Remember? The age old tradition of opening the door for a lady?
Did you ever ask yourself why ladies don’t open doors for guys?
Where better to begin than with the origin of the custom itself.
Did you know that in the Victorian Era, named after Queen Victoria’s reign over the United Kingdom from 1837 to 1901, women wore dresses so large at the bottom that it prevented them from reaching door knobs?
Women actually needed doors opened for them back then. That’s how it started.
It also became a generally accepted custom that when out in public, women would tradition
ally carry the children, so it was a man’s responsibility to open doors.
Part fashion. Part function.
In today’s world I’m sure you’ve all heard the debate…
Should men still open doors for women? Is it still the romantic courtship gesture my father taught me as a kid, or have women outgrown its appeal in favor of independence and self reliance?
Is chivalry really dead?
Well, I can only speak for myself (and hopefully many others) by saying:
I will ALWAYS open doors for my lady.
After all, I believe it’s the smallest gestures that make the biggest difference in relationships.
And I was delighted to hear that there are many of you out there who agree.
Like my friend Charlene, who said her two sons and her husband routinely wrestle to determine who gets the honor of opening the car door for her. “It’s been going on for years,” she said.
Or Kathleen, who told me the story of being picked up for a date in high school. “He came to my house, said hello to my parents, and we went out to his car. He walked around to his side and got in. I went to my side and stood there waiting. From the driver’s seat, he leaned over and rolled the passenger door window down.”
He asked “Is everything alright with the door?”
I said, “I’m sure it’s fine but if you want to go on a date with me, you’d better come around and open it for me!”
“We became very close friends after that date. It became a joke between us – how I taught him to ‘be a gentleman.’”
Inspired by the responses of Charlene, Kathleen, and others, I decided to share my boyhood “awakening” with regard to chivalry.
My first real date was taking Leslie Edwards to a Cincinnati version of American Bandstand.
It was broadcast on a local TV station, and a big deal if you got a ticket (my dad made that happen).
I didn’t have a license yet, so Dad drove us.
When we pulled up in front of Leslie’s house she immediately came running out and hopped in the back seat of the car (I was sitting in the back on the other side).
I was giddy. Overwhelmed with excitement. “Let’s go Dad!” I exclaimed.
But Dad kept the car in park. We sat there in silence. 30 seconds felt like 30 minutes.
I finally asked why.
Dad adjusted the rear view mirror to make eye contact with me in the back seat. My excitement quickly turned to worry.
Calmly but sternly he said, “Greg, didn’t you forget something?”
Uh oh. My mind raced. What did I forget?!
Wallet? No, I had that. The flower my mom gave me for Leslie? No, I had that. So what could it be?
Thoroughly confused and becoming embarrassed with Leslie sitting quietly next to me, I blurted out a couple of fumbled responses.
Then my dad smiled and politely asked Leslie to get back out of the car so I could have the “privilege” of walking around to open her door. I distinctly remember him using that word, and I also distinctly remember Leslie’s big blushing smile as I opened her door.
Small lesson. Big impact.
To this day, I still cherish the “privilege” of opening the door for my lady.
Never forget… opening her door is really about opening her heart.
– Greg Hague