Is holding a door open so hard?

Kate Livingstone
Kate Livingstone

The other day I was asked a question by my friend that got me thinking. She asked if I considered myself a feminist.

Initially I said no, that I wasn’t one of those men bashers, I don’t wear hemp clothing and I shave my legs.

But we had a wee chat about what she thinks are feminist values and it got me reevaluating my stance.

My friend said she was a feminist - after all it’s just the belief that women should be treated equally with men.

While I agree on a lot of her points - there is not doubt that women are just as competent in the workplace, behind the wheel of a car and at playing sport.

Equally, I know men that are better at running a household and caring for children than women.

But there are differences between the sexes that I think should be celebrated and in some instances women should not be treated the same.

If I am on a busy train, after a long day in the office and there are no seats available, I like that sometimes a gentleman will offer up his seat to me.

I’m also thrilled when a man opens the door for a lady, I’m particularly tickled when it’s a stranger, just taking the time to be polite.

I also don’t think a man should swear when there are ladies present, they should always order last in a restaurant and in a bar they should allow a woman to skip them in the queue.

On a first date, the gentleman should foot the bill and when in the company of a lady, I like when a man removes his hat.

Of course - a real gent should also always, always replace the toilet seat too.

Unfortunately many of these traits are considered old fashioned are few and far between nowadays.

When I was younger, things like having a door held for you were commonplace, but now I’m lucky if it happens once a week and when it does it is usually by a member of the older generation.

Young men I come into contact with on the train or when out and about shock me with their unchivalrous behaviour - shouting, swearing, and taking no thought for the ladies in their company.

Perhaps I’m wanting my cake and eating it by wanting the best parts of feminism while also wanting gentlemen to remain gentlemen.

But is it really so hard to hold a door open and making an older lady smile?