Volunteering at a recent event, I was amongst 4 retired gentleman. Each of them was probably around the age of 60. The event lasted a few days so I had the pleasure of these gentleman’s company for the duration of that time. We checked in at Volunteer Headquarters every morning and then caught a shuttle bus to our designated work areas. I couldn’t help but notice the overabundant politeness that seemed to take place. Each of them insisted I enter the shuttle first, they stood if I stood, they would open and hold the door for me and wait until I went through first. On one occasion, I got on the shuttle after everyone else and the bus was full. At least two of the them quickly stood up and offered their seats. I indicated that I was okay but they were insistent that I take one of their seats. I didn’t want to create a scene or not respect their expressions of courtesy so I took the seat.
I wouldn’t say this behaviour was foreign to me but it certainly wasn’t something I was used to on a regular basis. I know from my university days, when feminism was at its peak, men offering to do anything for women created somewhat of a controversy. Perhaps that is part of the reason it isn’t as prevalent so much any more. For me though, I liked it. Men or not, being met with courtesy, grace and respect – it was a good thing.