Etiquette Questions, Answered: Social Situations
Q. My girlfriend insists that I open doors for her. At first I liked making this gesture, but lately it seems as if she thinks of me as a servant. For instance, after I open her car door, she bolts away, forcing me to catch up. I feel that she isn’t being respectful to me. What is the proper etiquette?
Name withheld by request
A. Last I checked, women were capable of opening doors for themselves. It’s not as if you’re escorting your grandmother around, and even if you were, Granny would probably meet your chivalrous gesture with a smile and a kind word—not by breaking into a run.
Both people in a relationship have to treat each other with respect. Take my parents: Every morning of their harmonious 47-year marriage, my mother has poured my father a cup of coffee and he has boomed his appreciation; every night he pours her a glass of wine and she thanks him (and bats her eyelashes a bit, too). They remind me that politeness is paramount, but strict gender roles are not: Practice them only if they bring both of you pleasure, which doesn’t seem like the case here. Consider asking your girlfriend to offer you the same courtesy she demands—a simple word of thanks when you do something nice for her—or let her make her own entrances and exits, unassisted.