Our good friend and prolific blogger Bendigo posted recently
about his experience with Chivalry and Good Manners,
and he found that some people just don't understand it.
Like Mr. Bendigo, I was raised that you hold a door open for
someone as a matter of courtesy, and they can either accept it
gracefully or look at you with disdain. If they are 'offended'
because they feel it implies they are unable to do things for
themselves, that is their problem.
However, one still has to exercise a little bit of judgment when
deciding to hold a door open for someone. Now, if I am driving
someone around in my car, whether it is my bride, The Daughter,
or just a friend or acquaintance, I will naturally open the car
door for them and make sure all their accoutrements are tucked
safely out of the way before closing their door.
The same rules apply when opening the door to a public
establishment. But if strangers are involved, then one does have
to weigh a few options when deciding whether holding the door
for them is an act of genuine kindness, or condescension.
One must take into account various factors before acting, such
as their age and degree of mobility, the distance they have to
travel to get to the door in relation to where you are, their
gender, the proximity of hazardous wildlife, and even the
weather. Thankfully, the human mind is able to calculate all
these decisions quickly, without you having to worry about
A. Standing there like an oaf with the door open with nobody
B. Coming across as a rude dolt that slams the door behind you
with someone being right there.
Perhaps this flow chart may help. Click to enlarge:
For some people, a graphical representation may be helpful:
From what the above diagrams tell us, being courteous also
comes with a burden of responsibility, just like so many other
things in life. If we are not careful in our judgment, we may end
up standing there with the door open for an extended period of
time, where people may assume you are the Doorman.
If this occurs, we may find it is awkward trying to determine
the exact point where it is acceptable to end the mission.
If the people desiring ingress to the venue are spaced out pretty
close together, and we find that there is no way to gracefully
terminate the access, the best thing to do is wait for a young
and hale man to 'hand off' the responsibility to.
The preferred method is to hold the door for him half way...
then, when he is forced to grab it to allow himself full entry,
you can let go of the door and proceed onwards.
I hope this helps you to avoid any awkward social blunders.
Peace be with you.