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Where the rules went wrong

After a debate erupted on twitter yesterday when I posted the Rules of the Modern Gentleman, I thought I’d call my mom for a little perspective.  She, afterall, is the woman who raised me.

“You are not going to win that argument,” Momma Holmes told me.  And, this is where she said I went wrong: not looking at a calendar.  “It’s 2014, baby.  It’s a different society, a different world.  It’s not what it used to be.”

Of course, I didn’t expect unanimous agreement from people on every one of the 30 “rules.”  And as the originators of the list (@TMFMag) tweeted me yesterday, “unfortunately, many take them (the rules) too seriously…they are just basic foundations…not an all-encompassing manual.”  Still, I didn’t expect some people to so fervently disagree with a couple of them.

The only disagreement from people came on the “rules” having to do with how a man should behave towards a woman, i.e. opening doors, offering your arm, paying for a meal.  I know plenty of guys who don’t do any of those things.  They’re good guys.  We just do things differently.

Some critics translated traditional values of politeness as antiquated, “sexist” throwbacks to a time when women overwhelmingly weren’t treated as equal partners in the home or in the office.  The “rules,” some argued, reek of sexism because they put men and women in traditional societal roles: men as the strong protectors of the weaker, more vulnerable or lesser sex, women.

Please know, buying a woman a meal isn’t me saying, “I don’t think you can buy your own.”

Holding the door open for a woman isn’t me saying, “I think you’re too frail to get it yourself.”

Offering my arm to you as we walk down the street isn’t me saying, “you need me to protect you.”

Giving you a compliment isn’t me saying, “I think you lack self-esteem and need me to affirm your worth.”

What I’m saying is that I respect you.  I admire you.  I’m in awe of you.

I understand there is a danger, however, if my personal actions towards a woman are misinterpreted.  If a man feels compelled to open a door, etc. just because he’s the man, then he might apply that same mindset to other areas.  In other words, if in his mind a woman is the “weaker” sex, then perhaps she also must be protected in the office from tougher assignments, the bigger workloads, promotions, etc. which are so often doled out by men.  That type of thinking is wrong and can be harmful.

I believe it’s possible to adhere to “traditional” principles of politeness in personal dealings without being degrading.  But, as Momma Holmes went on to explain, it’s a shame that we’re in a time when even being a gentleman has to be defended.

It’s too bad that being considerate led to accusations that I’m perpetuating an idea that women aren’t equals.  But, truth is, when I see a woman, I don’t see her as my equal.  That would be an insult to her.  I see a woman as my earthly superior.  Women possess a strength that men could never emulate and a wisdom we could never comprehend.  Women are miracles and perform miracles.  I’ve seen it.  Women are the head of any household in which they reside.  And given all that, please allow me to make a simple gesture … of getting that door for you, offering you my arm, or maybe even buying you a meal.

Comments

Michael
Reply

TJ I read the rules yesterday and for me it was more a wake up call to check myself as I consider myself a gentleman. I never once thought any of the rules made woman inferior I just think woman deserve special treatment and I wont to be the man that provides that for my woman. I want it for my mother, my sister, my aunt and all my cousins. Your a great dude TJ and I like how you represent brothers keep up the good work my friend.

Marcella
Reply

I beieve a man can be a gentleman with or without all those “traditional” ways. Women have gotten so caught up into women’s lib that most can’t appreciate when a man wants to treat them that way. Women have gotten so used to being in control and dictating to men that it becomes difficult for men to be who they really are. As independent as I am, I would still welcome “chivalry” from a man. I am a strong woman but I enjoy being treated gently at times, so yes you can open the door for me, pull my chair out and yes pay for my meal, although I don’t mind paying at times but most of the women didn’t have a problem with a man doing that. You can’t have it both ways. Anyway, if you know who you are as a woman than you wouldn’t feel less of one when a man
is just showing you some consideration and politeness. So be a strong woman and let a man be who he is also. It doesn’t take anything away from your femininity. I’m ready for the backlash of my comment.

AstroKid Nj
Reply

Traditionalists vs Feminists
Feminists prefer “equality” when it suits women… such as Affirmative Action for Women, Quotas on boards, Title IX extra legup for women’s sports, Bogus and shielded Academia in the form of Women’s Studies, Bogus Laws like 600M$ p.y VAWA, etc

Traditionalists prefer inequality when it suits women.. such as excuse from Selective Services and Draft, Men paying on dates, doing the pursuing of women, getting down on a knee and asking for marriage, man working to death while the woman chills out at home, Favorable terms in Family Courts such as she gets his assets, home, children, while he has to leave the home and keep paying Alimony and child support WITHOUT getting to see his kids etc

All hail the Holy Vag

AstroKid Nj
Reply

TJ,
What do do you make of this Black Woman delivering the exact opposite of your Hail The Vag message?
On the Couch #4: Black Women Ain’t Shit….
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jt4lnbqKwCs

[…] suggestion that a gentleman should open doors, offer his arm to a lady, pay for a meal, etc. As I wrote at the time, my critics said the rules “reek of sexism because they put men and women in […]

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