You know, I could have sworn I’d seen a headstone on the grave of gallantry among California men, but it appears I donned my widow’s weeds somewhat prematurely.
I was enjoying a conversation with a friend a couple of nights ago as we crossed the parking lot on our way to dinner. A very intelligent man, he was in his proper place a couple of paces behind me. As we approached the door of my favorite restaurant, there was a slight “whoosh” as he breezed past me, grabbed the door and held it as I entered.
I smiled as I contrasted this with my last Valentine’s Day dinner with my ex (to whom my mother refers only as “The Jackass”). Another couple approached the door of an upscale French cafe at the same time we did. The man held the door as his companion entered, then smiled and gestured that I should follow. Suddenly, TJ shoved me aside and rushed ahead through the open door. Later — at the end of the evening when the waiter handed him the check — TJ very unashamedly pushed it across the table to me with a “we discussed business, dear; you can pay for this.”
Shortly after I hit Mr. You-First-After-Me’s eject button — catapulting him out of my life and back home to his mother — I re-entered the dating pool. Disappointingly, what I discovered was that there are far too many men out there very much like him. It appeared Prince Charming only existed in fairy tales and Sir Walter Raleigh’s famed cloak over Queen Elizabeth’s puddle never happened (in fact, she had him imprisoned and later beheaded when his little divining rod discovered the puddle of one of her maids of honor). In this twenty-first century, chivalry was dead; and as a woman who cherished gentlemen, I was in mourning.
But then a few weeks ago one of my friends visited my office. The moment he’d parked, her boyfriend jumped from the driver’s seat, ran to her door and opened it; then he extended his hand as she stepped out. When I mentioned the incident in a Facebook post, dozens of friends responded with compliments and words of appreciation for the gentlemen in their lives. One of my dear friends — mother of the absolutely adorable (my completely unbiased opinion, of course) seven year-old I’ve adopted as my grandson — reminded me of an occasion on which he ran ahead of us, held the door open and very politely announced “ladies first.”
Hooray! They’re not extinct after all! Unfortunately, reporters and paparazzi don’t stalk them and create headlines about their gallant acts. We don’t hear a lot about them and we sometimes take them for granted. But they deserve to be celebrated!
So, ladies, break out the champagne and toast the gentlemen in your lives! Like diamonds they are rare, beautiful and so very valuable!
And the rest of you
lumps of coal diamonds in the rough, stop scratching your crotches long enough to google Emily Post or Miss Manners and become the treasures we know you can be.
Some of us are still waiting …