I was asked recently, by a lovely young woman, to offer my opinion on men respecting women, and how a simple courteous act sometimes can be misinterpreted as flirtation. The example offered entailed the opening of a car door, expected in most cases by students of good manners but not always employed by all men. This is the example I was given, “how no man has good manners and quite often girls mistake an opening a car door which used to be expected is now mistaken for, ‘he must like me a lot’.” – This is either an indictment of male upbringing or a lack of self confidence and self worth on the part of the female.
Now let’s establish a baseline from where we can begin to discuss this issue. I assert that everyone is deserving of respect, all human beings, and I would include most animals, are entitled to be treated with decency and respect, even Republicans, Corporate CEOs, Wall Street Bankers, and yes, even the homeless man or woman living on the street deserve to be treated with respect.
I would open a door for an indigent bag Lady before I would hold a door for a CEO, Banker, or a Politician, that shouldn’t give the Bag Lady the inference that I wish to take her home but it should be an indication of my quality. For what ever unfortunate set of circumstances that led to the homeless condition of Ms. Bag Lady she is still a human being, a woman, and by that criterion I would give deference to her but would never consider her a suitable mate. Now whether she regards herself with respect is more to the point of the original question, because if you respect and value yourself, you will conduct yourself in a manner that requires others to esteem you as well. By conducting yourself as a lady, in manner and dress, you imply that others should treat you in a similar fashion and with courtesy. If it is the case, that a man is escorting a woman who is behaving like a lady, respecting and valuing herself, and he doesn’t open doors for her, then he is no gentleman. Conversely, if the gentleman holds the ladies’ door and she values herself appropriately then she would expect her escort to behave in a similar manner without thought of romantic liaison but with the consideration of the possibility of him being a suitable mate. So conducting oneself as a lady or a gentleman, treating others with respect, as demonstrated by opening the car door should be used as a perspicacity tool by a woman of the man’s worth and potential as a mate.
So in conclusion, value yourself and others will value you for it, man or woman, seeking a mate or not, always treat others with the respect they deserve as a sentient being, for you will be judged by how you treat others, whether you are aware of it or not.
“I have no right, by anything I do or say, to demean a human being in his own eyes. What matters is not what I think of him; it is what he thinks of himself. To undermine a man’s self-respect is a sin.” ~ Antoine de Saint-Exupery
“The final test of a gentleman is his respect for those who can be of no possible service to him.” ~ William Lyon Phelps
“The more you act like a lady, the more he’ll act like a gentleman.” ~ Sydney Biddle Barrows