Letters: Oct. 2, 2009

Genlemen first, please!

Very often, I go for a walk with my husband in the evening. On our route we pass a busy wine bar, popular with newly dating couples. Nicely dressed and perfumed, they approach the entrance together where the man usually pulls the front door wide open — sometimes with a considerable gym-trained strength — to let his partner in.
I was brought up in a family where my father insisted for us to learn the basic principles of “bonton” as he called it — or a good social manners. Of course I thought it old fashioned and irrelevant — for example how many handkerchiefs should a lady pack for a trip to safari. Or how to eat a banana at a dinner party. But I hesitate to dismiss it all as a pack of nonsense. I hesitate just as the girls and women instinctively hesitate for a split second to enter the crowded bar first. I see them brace themselves a bit, head high, step fast, ready to fight. This is a guy’s job.
Man should enter any restaurant, bar or hotel lobby first. It is to protect his woman against the immediate casual glances of people who are already in. Eating, drinking, getting drunk. To protect against the unfamiliarity of the place and deal with the entry staff.
For those who always ask what happens next, the lady exits the place first. Now it is time to open the door wide and have a good night at home.

Ingrid Royce,