Monday, May 18, 2009

On Holding the Door Open

Dear Guys,

I just want you to know so that you're have the ability to make a girl feel like a million bucks.  Not just the girl you date or marry - any girl.  

How?  Hold the door open.


At IHOP we usually have situations where two people are trying to go opposite directions through the same door.  Blame it on the number of people on base...for some reason two people always have to be trying to go through the same door.  I'm sure some poor pair of people is going to head-butt each other some day, but as for what I've seen, the situation has merely provided the guys of the community a very special opportunity -- the opportunity to be...a gentleman.

I was laying in bed last night, going through the various thoughts I needed to think before I could fall asleep, and a memory popped into my head.  A few days ago, I was leaving the prayer room and was heading out the same door friend Jesse was going in.  He opened the door, saw me, and stepped back to hold it open.  (Come to think of it, his dad did the same a few days must run in their family!)  Guys have held the door open for me plenty before, but for some reason that moment made me feel particularly honored, and I said "Thank you!" much too loudly.  I'm sure most of the patio heard me.

I finished walking out, proceeded to feel embarrassed about how loudly I'd said it, and then was left thinking for the next few days about how much I appreciate it when guys hold the door open for ladies.  

I've also been thinking about a situation prompted by a plate of cookies.  At the Zoe Foundation banquet last Thursday, the server brought a plate of cookies to the table, and Tim said, "Ladies first!"  I kid you not, I was stunned and said: "What??" He repeated, Joanna and I each took a cookie, and I sat there stunned that he was serious.

There is part of community that can and should lead guys to honor girls, with absolutely no romantic interest involved.  You don't have to be in love with a girl to open a door for her; it's just etiquette.  I mean, if I'm walking down a shady street at night, I don't care whether or not the guy with me has any interest in me...I just care that a) he's a guy and b) I can trust him.  It's like girls are automatically wired (or maybe it's just this girl...correct me if I'm wrong) to assume 'Oh, you're a guy, you can protect me if I need protecting.'  

When a man holds the door open for me, I get the same feeling I do when my big brother tells me I'm a beautiful young woman.  A few weeks ago, Judah wanted me to put on my pretty dress so we could dance around the basement.  When I did and came out to dance to the tunes coming from the fake Little Mermaid cd player, he just stared at me with his big, smiling, 2-year-old blue eyes.  I asked him if I looked pretty, and he got a smile on his face as he let out a bashful "yaaaaaa..."  I got the same feeling then too.  It's the emotion of being honored, of being told that I'm worth an extra second to hold the door open, or that there is something about me worth being liked or affectionated (like that word?  it means being given affection. :)  

Yes, someday there will be one particular man who shows that honor and affection to me more than any other...but for now all guys who know Jesus have been given the charge to "Treat...younger women as sisters, with absolute purity." 1 Timothy 5:2  Let me speak as a sister - one of the best feelings in the world is when my older brother Sam takes care of me.  

There are so many ways we can all love each other well, and guys, I'm gonna be blunt and say that being a gentleman is a way to love us girls well (again, in a totally non-romantic way!).  Plus, it's a proactive way to go against the grain of what the world tells us day-in-and-day-out...that we're merely objects, with worth determined by how skinny we are or how well we can do our make-up.  I can almost promise you that the girl you just passed in the hallway is in a fight for her life, wrestling whether or not to believe the liar whispering in her ear that she has to lose ten more pounds or wear that cool scarf to be worth something.  

So I'm thankful for the gentlemen I know -- for the OJs, the Peters, the Sams...for the Jeffs and the Jesses, the Tims and the Trumans, for the Joshuas, the Jacksons, and the Judahs...

Hold the door open, guys.  It tell us we're worth something. =)


I totally recommend John Piper's message: Affirming the Goodness of Manhood and Womahood in All of Life.  I know that's a mouthful, but it addresses key points on why it's not demeaning to women that they're not to have the main leadership positions in the church, and he spends a little time on normal guys-and-girls hanging out.  He says groups of single guys should be the main initiators of hanging out with groups of single girls.  Whoa.

Plus, he poked his future wife in the eye trying to put his arm around her on their first date.  I mean, guys, loosen up.  You can't get more awkward than that.


Anonymous said...

Hello! :)

Anonymous said...

hmmm.. if you don't mind my being honest...

It does seem like guys sometimes need to be more proactive when it comes to relationships. That makes sense. But I don't think going on dates is the answer. That's like throwing open the door to all sorts of possibilities...with zero commitment or accountability. Seems like a setup for getting hurt and possibly wasting time too.

A little bit of one-on-one time and some honest discussion if need be? That's cool.

But random dates with multiple guys? No thank you. That might make us feel special for a few days, but ultimately i don't think it's very honoring (to the girl, or the guy for that matter...and their future spouses as well)

I know people who've done that and it worked out okay...but personally I think there's a better way.

And as for the original point of the post-- yes, holding doors open and other such basic etiquette is muchly appreciated :)

Kacie said...

I'm fully with you! A gentleman is an amazing thing, and he exhibits a gentle, loving heart through his outward actions.

Anonymous said...

I really liked this post!

my friend and I have a nickname and/or reference for guys who as you said are willing to go against the norm. we call them the 10%. It usually only takes a few minutes, sometimes less to determine whether or not a guy is either in the 10% or 90%. it's all about perspective isn't it? :)