Why?

My wife and I were having a late lunch outdoors at a casual restaurant the other day. Small groups of women sat at two of the tables, one table had two men and two tables were occupied by professional looking, well dressed couples. One couple looked to be in their 30’s the other in their mid 40’s. I’m not sure if they were married but since they were both directly in front of me, I could tell by their conversation that they were much more than friends. They seemed to have a pleasant lunch, laughed several times, conversed easily and when the bill was presented, the guy paid. A short time later the 30’s couple left and about five minutes after that, the 40’s couple did the same.

But it was how they left that really bothered me and almost caused me to leave my seat.

In both cases, the guy stood up and began walking to the parking lot before the woman was even out of her seat. In both cases, the guy opened his car door and got in while the woman was still navigating her way out of the patio dining area. In both cases the guy started the car as the woman was walking through the parking lot. The woman who was in her 40’s looked over at me as she passed by and gave me an embarrassed smile before looking away.

There aren’t many things that really get under my skin but disrespect is at the very top of my list. The problem is, I don’t know who I was more upset with, the guys for being disrespectful or the women for tolerating it. Because I would bet the ranch this isn’t the first time this happened. This is their relationship. This is how these men treat these women and this is what these women accept. The question is why?

I’ve always believed that you can’t force someone to respect you but you sure as hell can refuse to be disrespected. If someone allows it to happen, it is guaranteed to continue. I realize this works both ways; that both men and women are responsible for this type of behavior toward the other but I believe women share the brunt of this type of boorish behavior.

If you don’t respect the person you’re in a relationship with, then why are you there? If you’re not respected by the person you are in a relationship with, then why do you stay?

I don’t understand.

67 thoughts on “Why?

  1. Sheila Moss

    Maybe they have an equalitarian relationship instead of a traditional one. If a man wants to open a door for me, I say thank you. If not, my arm isn’t broken. I can open it for myself. I do not want to depend on a male doing everything for me, esp. things I can easily do for myself.

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    1. George Post author

      I thought of that but while egalitarian relationships share burdens costs and responsibilities, common respect for a person should be part of the equation regardless of how you want to define it. If I went to lunch with a friend of either gender, or a co-worker or family member, or someone I pulled off the street and just met, I would not even think about turning my back on that person, walking and getting in my car away without even turning around while they were well behind me. That’s just common sense and respect aside from traditional common defined roles. Respect and common courtesy should never go out of style. Unfortunately, it seems that it has.
      Thanks Sheila.

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  2. davidprosser

    Beats me George but I’d think a man would be protective of his partner even if he didn’t show simple respect. With regard to Shiela’s point. I was brought up in an age where manners still counted. Yes, a woman is capable of opening a door for herself, and of standing on a bus, but simply manners, consideration and maybe respect says that she shouldn’t have to. The offer is made which can be rejected…..nicely if possible please.
    All too often there are no signs of the simple niceties of life anymore, the every day courtesies as though the next generation just didn’t learn them or that they did but rejected them. Once, way back in the eighties I stood to offer my seat on a bus only to be told by the lady that I was demeaning her and to sit down again.I thought that ruder than my offer.
    Hugs

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    1. uju

      It was ruder than your offer– which wasn’t rude to begin with. I feel there is something monumentally wrong with the world we live in today, with people constantly second-guessing intentions and bullying people for being nice. I don’t understand it. I’d feel terrible if someone tried to do something nice for me, and then hesitated because he’s been manipulated by the media or ‘new’ society not to bother with it.

      I’m a traditional girl and I still appreciate nice gestures from men, which sadly I’ve only experienced with older men.

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      1. George Post author

        You’re right uju, respect for one another or simple manners are hard to come by these days. I don’t know why. It’s such an easy thing to do, doesn’t require much of an effort and is usually appreciated. Glad to know you still find some who are willing to extend those features. Thank you

        Liked by 1 person

    2. George Post author

      Thank you, David. Like you I have offered women seats on busses, etc and they have always been grateful. It must have been awkward being told that by someone. It’s one thing to decline the offer, it’s another to do so in a respectful way.
      Stay well.

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      1. uju

        Of course 🙂

        WP admin (the triple line above your screen or at least one of those icons) >> Settings >> Sharing >> drag and drop the WhatsApp share button (you’ll see an indication of where to drop it.)

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  3. Hariod Brawn

    I tend to side with Sheila on this one, as I can quite envisage – indeed, I know of – hetero couples for whom traditional, perhaps patriarchal(?), signifiers of respect are no longer appropriate. It’s all about intent and how intentions are perceived, I think.

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    1. George Post author

      As I mentioned in my response to Sheila, I think this was just a matter of common courtesy that you would extend to anyone, regardless of your relationship with them. In my world, you just don’t turn your back on someone and walk away. Thanks, Hariod.

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      1. Hariod Brawn

        Any intentional and self-aware displays of inconsiderateness must surely be rude and disrespectful, I agree, George. I think we perhaps have to separate what may be past or current cultural/societal norms with the intent of our behaviour.

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      2. Hariod Brawn

        Do you think more traditional displays of manners continue to be inculcated in younger generations, George? From observing things over here in England, I would say this is definitely not the case, and that’s a trend that’s been developing for decades. The question of whether this necessarily renders them more disrespectful remains open to interpretation, to my mind. In the pre-war years, a man would doff his cap or hat in acknowledging a woman, yet it would seem highly anachronistic and quaint to do so in these (post-feminist?) days.

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  4. DailyMusings

    There is a real lack of consideration for others these days it seems, combine that with a level of comfort that people fall into after spending years together and the scenario you presented does not surprise me. I don’ think it is a question of she can’t open her car door herself, why did the guy walk out ahead of her- polite behavior would be to wait and walk out together- you don’t leave someone you are with sitting at a table trailing behind you. Manners, consideration, and thinking about someone other than yourself are all at play here- but not put into play

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  5. vanbytheriver

    I’m with you on this one, George. I feel sorry for both. Respect and manners are learned behaviors. Many never saw it growing up…and continue the ugly tradition. It makes me sad, but also proud. The men in my life know better, do better. 💖 I pride myself on an independent spirit, of course I can open my own car door, push away my own chair. Still…

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  6. colinandray

    Respect and courtesy would appear to be slowly being replaced by selfishness and independence. I have held doors open for women who have been quite rude, as they saw my gesture as inferring they were not capable. Regardless, so many people still acknowledge courtesy and respect that I have no intention of changing. It keeps ” my world” happy! 🙂

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  7. quiall

    I agree completely. The sad thing is the person doing the disrespecting doesn’t get it. I swear as a species we are getting dumber every generation!

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  8. Val Boyko

    Hhmmm … I was in a relationship like this and put up with it for years. Why? Because that’s the way I was treated as a child. I moved from a narcissist mother to narcissist husband. I didn’t expect a lot of respect, as it wasn’t part of the “loving” that I knew. I prided myself in not being hurt by their dismissive behaviors. I believed I had enough love and forgiveness to make them whole.
    Then I woke up and created a life of my own in the marriage. He didn’t really notice. I stayed to enjoy the lifestyle for a few more years.
    After 26 years I ended the marriage… And found the most wonderful loving respectful man in the world.
    There is often so much more going on under the surface that is beyond our experience to understand.
    💛

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    1. George Post author

      I agree, Val. For anyone to continue in the type of relationship you experienced, there must be so much more to the story. But eventually, as you found, life is much better than that. I’m so glad you found someone that treats you as you deserve to be treated.

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  9. Kim Gorman

    Your post brought to mind my 21st anniversary with my husband the other night. Usually he is very gentlemanly about holding doors and such, but that night when we got to our table at the restaurant he didn’t hold out the chair for me! Now I didn’t want to spoil the night before it had even begun, but I had to say something, so I did. I said I can’t believe you didn’t pull out the chair for me, and on our anniversary, people will think you’re not a gentlemen even though I know it’s not true. He had no good explanation. Hopefully he knows though for next time😊 we went on to have a lovely dinner. I guess one can be honest with no hard feelings after 21 years together.

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  10. kgjewels5

    Let me just say that my husband is a gentleman. I have always told him that his parents raised him well. My point is, yes, I am perfectly capable of opening doors for myself, but I would not be offended if a male or female opened a door for me. That being said, what bothered me about this post was why if having a nice meal together, you would not walk out with your companions? Unless someone is in a rush, go, but if you are getting into the same car, why not walk out together like civilized human beings with manners? I certainly would have told the person I was with my thoughts about being left behind!😊

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  11. candidkay

    Oh, you and I are sharing a songbook this week! I wrote my most recent blog, about women claiming their worth, before I read this one. But it is so wonderful to hear a man express what more men should. My dad was WWII vet, a member of the Greatest Generation, and chivalry reigned in our home even after 60+ years of marriage to my mom. That matters.

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    1. George Post author

      I read your post yesterday After I wrote mine but I didn’t want to comment since I’m not a woman..:) but you’re absolutely right about women claiming their worth and about the generation of our parents. There wasn’t one like that before and I think it’s safe to say we won’t see one like that again. Thank you.

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  12. Svet Pavlovsky

    I agree that you cannot change a person’s behavior, therefore I keep in mind a sentence that I heard ” the way you treat yourself set the standard for others”. If you tolerate this behavior so it’s fine if not you should speak up.

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  13. Ann Coleman

    I agree totally, George! It’s not a matter of gender; if the woman had done this to the man, it would have been equally disrespectful and unacceptable. Sure the days of holding a door open for someone else may be over (although I still do it for others and appreciate it when others do it for me), but racing out of a restaurant ahead of one’s partner and starting the car before she is anywhere near it is just plain rude. And I’m sure that the details can be nitpicked, but you were watching the episode, and I believe you are sensitive enough to pick up on the intent. I just hope that those two women, or anyone being treated that way, wakes up and realizes that they deserve so much more!

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    1. George Post author

      I hope so, Ann. The look in that one woman’s face when she looked at me still bothers me. I know she felt uncomfortable by what was happening but I just had a feeling there was something more. Much has changed, but respect should be constant. Thank you, Ann.

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  14. colorpencil2014

    Excellent observation George (as always) I am so fortunate to have married a solid old fashioned guy who believes in holding the door, in offering an arm and be genteel and polite ( needless to say, I appreciate it no end) Thank goodness he passed it on to our sons as well and their girlfriends feel Princesses because of it ;o) However, I once got the question: ” Why do you and your husband say Thank You to each other, you are married, right?”
    And apart for showing respect and kindness, a little etiquette is ever so practical as well, no hustle in door ways and train stations eg if every body just remembered” first everybody out and than you can go in!” (my personal pet peeve;o)) My salute to you George! Cheers, Johanna

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    1. George Post author

      Thank you, Johanna. I’m so glad you have the type of relationship where respect is a reciprocal understanding and that time has not diminished what should only become stronger and more pronounced. Good for you..:)

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    1. George Post author

      Unfortunately, it is. I don’t know if it’s ever coming back. My guess is there’s just not enough interest or desire on the part of those who need to understand.

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  15. peelermc

    I haven’t read through every comment so this may have already been stated; manners are not taught anymore generally and everyone is just out for themselves – the “me” generations. I was taught to never leave the table until everyone one finished, ask to be excused, say please, excuse me and thank you. If going on a date, they guy came to the door – NO honking! Basic courtesies and respect. Now if it doesn’t benefit the individual, no one takes the time. This goes both ways. Its sad, I’m so tired of rude people .. it’s very frustrating.

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  16. Jennifer Kelland Perry

    George, I am in agreement with you here, even though I lean toward a feminist attitude in many areas. But believing in equal rights has nothing to do with common courtesy, especially towards one’s spouse. Bravo on a post that got some people stirred up. 😀

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  17. JoAnna

    There was a year after I got divorced that I accepted disrespectful behavior in what I call “the rebound from hell.” I still have trouble believing what I tolerated for that year and believe low self esteem and grief from the unexpected end of a twenty year marriage had a lot to do with it. Thankfully, I learned to love myself again. I shine that if I had married the rebound from hell (aaaagh) it would have been hard to leave.

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  18. creatingahome

    There is a difference between courtesy and actions that are meant to demean/disrespect another. Courtesy should be the same regardless of age, gender or general bias. The problem is many view any acts of acknowledging or valuing another as a weakness except when they have outdone you in some huge feat.

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  19. Nancy

    Politeness is politeness no matter which gender but how you are raised says something too. One of the first things I noticed and appreciated about my husband was his attention to the people around him. He always goes out of his way to make sure everyone is comfortable and cared for when we are in a social situation. I can tell you without a doubt that he would have waited for me, helped with my coat if needed and walked beside me to the car. I always say “his momma raised him right” but I guess my momma raised me right too because I wouldn’t expect or accept anything less.

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