Episode 1: Who should open the door?

(This is the beginning of a new column on the battle of the sexes. You can read it every alternate Thursday in the Chennai Edition of Metro Plus in the Gender page. I write He Says and my collegauge Shonali Muthalaly writes She Says)

He says:
Why would I open the door for a girl?
Maybe I would if one of the following were true:
a. Women genetically lack specialised skills for accomplishing complex tasks like opening the door.
b. She is further to the door than I am, you know, walking behind me like Mary’s little lamb.
c. She thinks that the world is a Matrix and that “There is no door.”
d. If I have the keys (and we are going to my place for some activity I’m really looking forward to, like playing chess).
e. If she’s knocking (and she’s come home for some activity I’m really looking forward to, like yes: Chess!).
f. She’s locked out of her home and needs my help (before we can go in and do some activity I’m really looking forward to… what else, seriously, chess!).
What is the big idea behind chivalry or expecting a man to do things that might seem unnatural to him?
Yes, women probably find it charming because a few good men in their enthusiasm to please their bratty spoilt date do it. Little do these ladies realise that these acts are just that. Acts, that work smooth, when he has moves in his mind.
Besides, face it, Ladies. It’s charming because it’s rare and special.
And gentlemen, beware of opening the door for her all the time. You make it a habit and before you know it, you are just as good as that thing at the door that lets the woman walk over. Yes, the doormat. Soon, you’ll be paying each time. Literally.
Open the door, only when there’s a chance for the dance! If it doesn’t seem like it, you will surely be happier off watching that channel on TV she does not approve of.

She says:
Yeah. Chess. (Excuse me while I gag.)
Now there’s a complex task. The point is, if it doesn’t come naturally, don’t force it. No woman is going to fall into a dead faint if you don’t open a door for her. (In fact, in these trying times, we’ll probably faint with surprise if you do.)
Because, believe it or not, we can open our own doors. And carry our own luggage. And pulling out a chair at a restaurant doesn’t need the brains of a space scientist, or the brawn of Arnold Schwarzenegger. (Honestly, if it did, would you be able to do it?)
But the fact is, good old-fashioned chivalry is still charming. Though of course, there are many points of view on that too. I, for instance, took a quick poll and found that one friend who sniggered evilly and called chivalry “a stupid, insulting” idea, while another one got mooney eyed and gasped, ” but, it’s so sweet.” But perhaps the most honest reply came from a girl who reportedly makes her male friends jump through hoops. “Well, the man’s there, isn’t he? So, just put him to use!”
Pssst: Looking coy and helpless does accomplish wonders. Because the bottom line is: Yeah, sure… There’s nothing we can’t do. But if somebody wants to do all the grunt work, who are we to stop him? Besides, it’s nice getting a chair every time you walk into a crowded room. And it’s nice to not have to carry your own luggage. And yes, it’s nice being treated like royalty.
And if it seems unnatural to ‘him,’ he just doesn’t have to do it. But maybe he should get used to watching a lot of TV in the evenings.

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