What am I talking about?
My son is looking for a home to call his own. A friend of mine is selling his 2-acre lot so we toured the property and went out to eat to discuss possibilities.
Said friend is 72, single, and just about as old fashioned as it gets.
He opened doors for me. I didn't know if I should be insulted, amused, or grateful so I said thank you.
He paid for lunch. I said thank you again.
He took off his hat in my presence, remained standing until I was ready to sit then pulled my chair out to seat me, then he asked me to bless our food. Bless the food? Seriously? Ok, I'm at fault for that, I'm so used to eating at home by myself that I had started to forget what eating in the company of others was all about. Even when the family is home, we don't all eat at the same time or even in the same room.
I said thank you again when he seated me. At this point, I was feeling pretty lame. Who says thank you this often in under 30 minutes?
Even when I was in my younger years and dating, this didn't happen. I didn't know what to do. I was flustered, floored, and suddenly feeling like a human being for the first time in years. Aware of myself, in an odd sort of way. Recognized as being present in the room, the human being who'd gotten lost somewhere along the way
Then that sarcastic thing that hides out in my brains said "hey dummy! NEWSFLASH!!! You're being treated like the lady you're supposed to have been all these years."
I just forgot how.
Not how to be a lady. . . ok, maybe slogging through ice-cold streams before dawn, crawling under trailers after toddlers who escaped out the door, or digging in soffits to retrieve wayward kittens, or wading into muddy flooded fields, or even trying to help the hubby hook up the bush hog to the tractor only to be tossed head over heels into the grass isn't exactly ladylike, I'd just become one of the guys. I'm not even squeamish over baiting my own hook or handling the fish I caught, killing it is a different story...digressing...
I felt awkward. I wasn't raised to be prissy and delicate. Sure, I have manners. But I was raised to stand on my own two feet. Hold my head up. Not be dependent.
I get that some people are never going to appreciate folks who are using manners, because 'feminism'...or something.
I do appreciate it.
So when someone pulls my seat out for me or opens a door for me...well, I'm not insulted, just reminded, being treated like a lady isn't being dependent or implying patriarchy or whatever the insult to feminism is these days, it's called manners and respect. People need to get over themselves.
After getting over my initial shock at remembering who I am, I find the gesture refreshing.
Even if awkward, but only because I don't know what I'm supposed to do in response.
Time for some etiquette refreshing I suppose.
Where's Miss Manners when I need her? Does she even still exist these days?
Edited to Add (7/18/21) The image that is stuck in my head, the stark memory is that this gentleman held my hand as I asked the blessing then held my hand like it was the most precious thing on earth afterwards.