Friday, March 11, 2005

Make Mine an Old-Fashioned

"You know what you want! Go for it!" They exclaim, these magazines targeted at twenty-something women, such as myself. "Don't be ashamed to go after a guy! A man thinks it's sexy when you walk right up to him and take control!"

Well maybe he thinks it's sexy for me to take control, but I think there's nothing sexy about a man willing to let me take control.

What happened to the days of gentlemen and ladies? What happened to being old-fashioned?

It's true that even the term "old-fashioned" implies that we have picked up, moved on, and fashioned something better, newer and more appropriate; It's "old" for a reason. But when it comes to dating, to pursuit of a mate, why is old-fashioned so utterly impossible to find?

I am a girl who likes to be pusued. I do not ask men for their numbers, and I do not give mine out unless I am asked. If given a man's number, I will most likely never use it unless I am returning his call. I want a man who opens my door and pulls out my chair and is digusted by the idea of the lady paying for dinner; It reeks of romance and chivalry.

See, recently, I met a man at a bar. We sat together, well after closing time, and just talked, figuring out our similarities, sizing each other up. I thought it was going well, as I had used almost every big word I knew and he'd kept right up with me. He was old enough, tall enough, smart enough. And then it was time to go. We walked outside into the icy air, wrapped in our coats and scarves, our breath making halos of fog around us. Parked on opposite ends of the parking lot sat our cars, waiting to be turned on and warmed up. His car was a mere ten steps away from us. Mine, about thirty. He hugged me goodnight, and headed to his car. For a moment, I stood there, astounded. I looked at my car, so far away from me, and back at his, right there. I began to walk away, struck dumb that he let me walk to my car alone.

A gentleman would never allow that.

A gentleman would have walked me to my car, made sure I was in and closed the door behind me. He would wait until I started the motor before walking away. Once at his car, he would sit in it until I put the car in first and began to roll. Just to make sure everything was okay.

I get a lot of flack from my friends, who point their fingers and crinkle their noses when I insist that I will not pusue a man. They can't believe that someone so opinionated, so strong-willed, would prefer to be in the submissive role.

"It's not 1950 you know," they say as though I fell asleep in my poodle skirt one day, and woke up to the year 2005.

I know very well what year it is, but a lady is a lady, no matter what the year, and I just prefer to be treated as such.


mermaid14118337 said...
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mermaid14118337 said...

What a classy lady....that's how men SHOULD treat a lady! You tell them Laurie!!!!!

Anonymous said...

I agree with Mermaid, a woman being treated like a lady is a very good thing.

But speaking as a guy (and a first-time commenter) who does treat the woman in his life as the beautiful lady she is, I wonder if you let the guys know of your expectations? Because these are expectations of yours, requirements really, and some poor slobs might be perfectly willing to treat you like a lady, but might not have been so well-trained by their folks, for example.

Just playing devil's advocate here, because expectations are what always set us up for disappointment. In my dating career, it was whenever I had expectations, especially ones I didn't communicate to my girlfriend, that I ended up being disappointed.

I have been disappointed still when I've communicated my expectations, but at least under those circumstances I couldn't blame faulty telepathy on the part of my girlfriend.

Ultimately, for that reason I've concluded the fewer expectations, the better. There are some non-negotiables of course, and those are the ones that most need to be communicated, I think.

Laurie said...

I'll be perfectly honest here and say that there are times I don't communicate my desire for a gentleman, preferring instead to watch and see if they'll do it on their own. And there have also been times that I've let my significant other know what I'm looking for. But I find that telling a guy I would like him to open doors and pull out chairs and walk me to my car just doesn't feel genuine.

Once you've told a boyfriend you want him to open your door, for instance, disappointment abounds: Much of the excitement is lost if he does open the door, because you know you told him you like it and therefore expected it to be done. And if he still fails to realize your wish, you're even more upset becuase you know that he knows it's something you'd like, and he still refuses to do it.

I understand that there are gentlemen out there hiding behind the guise of an average thoughtless Joe, just waiting to be unleashed, but I don't really want to do the training. I like to be thrilled that my door is opened, not only moderately pleased because I had to tell him that it's the right thing to do.

Brian said...

The thing is that most men don't like to be "trained" (aka whipped). We aren't animals and we make mistakes. It really bugged me when I forgot to open the door for my x-gf because I had something else on my mind, and then she gives me a look like I just pee'd on the carpet. Women have a way of rubbing your nose in it so you don't do it again.
Silly stuff like that ruins the entire evening for me. Just cut us some slack ladies! I think I do a good job being a gentleman, but there is no such thing as a perfect gentleman... unless hes a robot.

Laurie said...

Don't get me wrong, I don't want to train anybody. I can offer advice, suggest how I'd like to be treated, but I'm not going to get all Pavlovian and try to train a guy to want to do nice things. And I don't expect a "perfect" gentleman. I just expect a guy who performs basic gentlemanly tasks 99.9% of the time. It's a given that there will be doors unopened and chairs left tucked under the table when I go to sit in one. That's fine. I don't want a robot, and I don't expect a guy to be *on* all of the time. I'm bound to mess up, too. Trust me, I'm no perfect lady either. The point is that there is significant difference between a man who does those things (even if he occasionally forgets) and guy who completely fails to see the importance behind the actions.