Tabulations

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Chivalry and The Keyless Remote

Back in the dark ages (or was it 1987?), when a young man still had to call a young lady on the phone (one of those electrical communication apparati that had mostly similar ring tones, push-button or rotary dials, and actually conformed to the contours of your hand and face) to ask her out on a date--or he might even gather up the courage to ask her in person, there was no such thing as keyless entry for vehicles.  

As a matter of fact, one of the questions that we might have asked (or been asked) after such a social engagement would have been "Did he open the door for you?".   Meaning the car or truck door, primarily.  But, the door to any location to which the date might have taken you was fair game, too.  This was one of the many signs of chivalry, or of being a gentleman, as it were.  Was he thoughtful enough to do such things?  Of course, in a young man's defense, despite his pretense of confidence and uber-togetherness, he might simply forget to do so, out of nervousness.  Usually, this "rationale" provided by those whose dates forgot to do so.  But, likely, he didn't forget again.  Yes, we were ruthless like that.

I do recall, on one such occasion, the internal debate that raged in my head.  "Do I get out of the car, independently, and deny him the chance to be a gentleman? But, what if I do that, and he was going to get the door for me, and then he thinks I'm a loser because I was impatient?  Or because I didn't expect to be treated with such respect?  Or do I sit and wait, while he makes his way up the sidewalk, presuming that I would join him on the short stroll to the green-striped awnings of Bradley's, and look like a goober, waiting...waiting."  Sadly, by the time my mental monologue concluded, I found myself still seated in the car.  And, he noticed that I was still in the car.  He paused, debating, and I paused, waiting.  Simultaneously, he quickly made his way to the passenger side while I reached for the door handle to let myself out.  Awkward with a capital "A". 

And along came the keyless remote.  Hmm, now that put an interesting twist on things.  Not only did it potentially change up the gentleman criterion checklist--but the behavioral nuances that accompany such an invention.  Of course, I thought that even with this energy-saving device, a young man should still open the door for his lady--and close it.  He should not just aim the clicker in the direction of the vehicle and let the lady fend for herself.  Of course, she is perfectly capable of doing so.  However, it is the gesture of kindness and thoughtfulness that goes a long way.  A very long way.

"Well, this is all fine and good for 'pitching woo'" as a dear prof of mine preferred to call these rituals of dating and mating, "but, is it really necessary after you've won her heart, bought the ring, said "I do", and all that stuff?".  A resounding YES!  Or, perhaps even a barbaric yawp.  (Dead Poets Society, my friends.  If you have to ask, you must stop whatever you are doing, download, borrow, or stream it today.  Or, you can come to my house and watch it.)

Of course, it may not happen EVERY time you go out together.  It might be a mundane trip to the grocery store or some such place.  I might add that now that our offspring are of the age where they can be on their own for an hour or so without blood or ashes, a trip to Kroger can be a mini-date.  Seriously.  You take what you can get, people.  Those of you who have been married for awhile are nodding.  And grinning.  I can see you.

Back to the issue at hand.  Simply because one now possesses an object that makes life easier (as in the aforementioned keyless remote) doesn't mean that chivalry goes out the door.  In fact, take it from me, it makes the gentlemanly gesture all the more meaningful.  Truth be told, it does make one feel a bit royal.  Like a princess.  And, after nearly twenty years of matrimonial bliss, I never tire of such efforts.  Ever.  

My mother-in-law adorably insists upon it--to my father-in-law's purported and vocal protestations.  Frankly, he loves it.  We know it. She knows it.  He knows it.  And, he knows we know it.  But, he likes to put on a show!  It's always worth the price of admission.

So, gentlemen, consider yourselves warned.  Gentlewomen, consider yourselves informed.  And, for goodness sake, don't honk the horn to indicate that you have arrived--or that you are waiting in the driveway.  That, my friends, as I am prone to say, is another blog entirely.


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