What makes a man, a man? Is there a solid definition…should there be? I don’t know really! After all, I rarely refer to myself as a man…in fact I don’t think of myself as one. That, err…yeah, that came out wrong! I don’t mean that I don’t think of myself as male, and instead prance around in ladies’ underwear every evening, whilst applying red lipstick…well never say never…ahem, but NO! I just mean that I am not too comfortable with referring to myself in that way. I think of a man as a finished article, and in no way am I there yet…a man is a grown upa man has confidence in himself, and his mustache. A man is fearless, and can drink whiskey without being sick in a nearby gutter. A man…

Sponge Man GIF

Well the truth is the modern man isn’t shackled with the same stereotypical constraints that he was a few years ago, so the definition of man is a lot more obtuse these days, thankfully. Not to say I haven’t always longed to slap someone with a glove, thus challenging them to a duel…but yeah, those days are long gone. 

You’re probably wondering what made me begin this slightly waffling, and vaguely ranty type of writing. Well one of my brothers recently told me a story – he was walking down a corridor in one of his university’s buildings, and as he was going through  – two ladies approached, and he held the door open for them rather than bursting through, or shoving past them. Pretty normal. I would like to think we have been brought up well, my Father used to always say “manners make the man” when teaching us little lessons, and when my sisters would inevitably complain, he would chuckle, and chime “manners make the wo-man, too!” 

What one of the two ladies did next, was somewhat bizarre. She refused to go through the door – instead, she left my brother standing there like a buffoon holding the door open for no one. Apparently she then screamed, “you know I can actually open a door myself, I don’t need YOU to do it for me!” and remained standing, holding back her friend at the same time.

Faint Door GIF

Naturally my brother was shocked, stunned in fact…I mean, his whole world had just came crashing down – after all he was sure, up until that moment, that no woman could open a door themselves, because how can any woman manage to work out the intricate push/pull mechanism of those tricky things…instead all they can do is wait, like damsels in distress, hoping, wishing, praying for a knight in shining armor to come on through, and release them to freedom.*

OBVIOUSLY, I jest (felt I needed to state that so people don’t get it twisted)*

But people are strange. My brothers and I were not taught one-sided chivalry rules; “open the door for ladies, but anyone else – fuck ’em! They have arms after all!” We were just taught common rules of decency, like I don’t know…“it’s nice to be nice!” It sounds oversimplified to state that the world would be a better place if people lived by that little motto, but it really would. Small things like giving your seat up on the bus for the elderly, dropping change in a homeless person’s cup…whatever…they should be encouraged, and it honestly upsets me to see that it is A LOT less common these days.

I don’t know…have I got it wrong? I hope so.

83 Replies to “Manliness”

  1. The lady he encountered was probably in a bad mood or maybe has never encountered a nice person before? I’m a woman and I open doors for people both male and female. That’s what well mannered people do!

    Liked by 6 people

  2. wow, even I am shocked at this…
    I would revel in the moment when a guy holds a door open for me… at that, a stranger doing this would make me smile for the day- it’s just so courteous, isn’t it?

    You can let your brother know a couple of ultra-feminists shouldn’t crush his world. There are more women out there who would respectfully accept a lovely gesture like this.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. It’s not really feminism. Feminism isn’t anti-female/male signs of courtesy. It is however staunch misandrist or misogynistic to blame people for signs of courtesy.


  3. I hope the negative encounter won’t put your brother off from future displays of good manners. I’m always so grateful when anyone, male or female, holds the door for me or shows other examples of good manners because sadly it is a lot rarer than I think it should be. Except for when someone awkwardly holds a door for you when you are too far away and then you are compelled into jogging/trotting towards the door (when you were happy sauntering at a gentle pace) to accept their nice gesture, that makes me a bit resentful!

    Liked by 5 people

  4. I was brought up to open a door for other people if I was there first, it’s just a common courtesy. I give up my seat for the elderly, let them go first at the checkout with their 5 things in a basket, I’ve even handed over a few dollars to help them pay for their shopping when they were struggling to decide what to forego because they were a dollar or two short. It’s not a hard thing to do. I have brought my boys up to do the same. It’s just decency, kindness, a moment of thinking of someone else other than yourself. You’re not wrong in your thinking. It was a nice thing to do. Perhaps she has never been taught that it’s OK to open doors for others, that it doesn’t mean she is incapable if someone opens a door for her, and if that’s how she felt, I kind of feel sad for her.


  5. A real man is one who disregards what all others tell him a man is and creates his own definition instead. That can be extended to women as well.

    I have to admit to being extremely annoyed at how ignorantly we use the word “chivalry” in contemporary context. Chivalry was a code of battle between knights, not one of social correctness between men and women.

    Holding a door open for someone has no connections to chivalry, it’s just good manners.


  6. We can’t you know, open doors for ourselves. No seriously, we’re so used to either automatic doors that you step on or else some sweet guy being nearby to open one for us. When we are confronted with a door that doesn’t magically open sometimes we have to just stand there looking at it in bafflement.

    Yesterday I couldn’t get into a store because there was a group of women gathered in front of the door trying to figure out how to enter the building. I was also baffled, so I joined them and we all stood there blocking the entrance and chatting. Eventually this dad came along and asked if we were having trouble getting into the store. We all admitted we were hoping somebody would come along and open the door for us. He was rather delighted to discover he was useful and had a purpose in life that went beyond driving an old minvan and carrying sticky juice boxes. Also, I think he enjoyed capturing the attention of 8 women stuck in front of a door 😉

    Liked by 4 people

  7. A few days ago I was in line and I dropped a paper, my shopping list, from my hands. Before I could even bend to get it, the man behind me bent to pick it up. I was enthralled with the kindness.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I agree with you. Good manners, respect and a certain amount of chivalry is becoming more scarce these days. Unfortunately. We who have these traits should keep them and provide example to others. If they don’t like it the DILLIGAF

    Liked by 1 person

  9. There are idiots everywhere, every gender, every race. Common sense, decency and manners are still appreciated, by some. Kudos to your brother for handling that elegantly, without debasing himself to that girl’s level.


  10. It is nice to know that there are still some kind and courteous males around, and your father certainly had the right idea with ‘manners maketh man’ (and women of course). The woman your brother encountered was seriously lacking in manners, and it was really churlish of her to humiliate your brother in this way. I too have been brought up to believe that ‘good manners cost nothing’ and I would hold open doors for anyone, as well as give up my seat on a bus for someone more deserving. I am probably old-fashioned but I appreciate having doors opened for me etc.

    Liked by 3 people

  11. Hmmm…Interesting. The only logical conclusions could be she was having a bad day, an ultra-feminist, or maybe she (and probably must have discussed this with her friend at length) has experienced condescending behavior from males before, either at work or at home. Unfortunately, your brother had to be the poor fellow to encounter her.


  12. What one imagines are acts of courtesy and graciousness can be perceived as offensive, but that should never stop anyone from performing them. What most people get their undies in a bunch over is the perceived notion of gender “norms”–men do this and women do that. If we could somehow stop thinking in those binaries and attach prescribed behaviors to each half of the binary, we might treat people as…well, people. The gender binary with its “norms” is probably what needs to be abolished so that no one gets left holding a door for someone who refused to walk through it based on the perception that one’s “gender” is slighted.


  13. MANners are a good part of manliness (and WOMANliness, ast well) . They are the mark of an adult.

    A history prof. I once knew described good manners as “the art of making those around you feel comfortable”, which was what your brother was doing: holding the door just to be nice. The same prof. also defined “Gentleman” as ” a Gentle man”. Cool definitions, no?

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I am a woman and I hold the door open for anyone who is walking close to me. I do have a slight confession to make though and that is I secretly love good old fashioned Jane Austen style gallantry like when a man opens a car door for you or gives you his seat on the train. I never expect it because it so rarely happens so when it does, it is always a lovely surprise 🙂 It just shows that another human being in the world has seen you, acknowledged you exist and does something nice for you that they are not obliged to. Your brother is a Gentleman 🙂


  15. One incident should not make anyone unhappy, it is okay. I agree manners are manners, we become what we are taught from childhood. So keep doing the good work! 🙂 -Sagarika

    Liked by 2 people

  16. Okay the word for those sorts of women is FemiNazi. Seriously. That’s a whole new brand of idiocy and lack of manners. Please please please don’t let chivalry be dead.
    On the other hand I guess these societal changes make it that much easier to tell the good ones from the too-cool-for-school ultra progressive sorts. I mean c’mon, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it! Good for your brother and his manners 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yeah, I feel like that word gets thrown around so much – often in circumstances where people have valid points…but here, yeah – I don’t know what else to say! It is a bit of a bind, because a man helping out a woman – can’t be seen as just kindness, because of social constructs that are in place – if you fell over, and I helped you up for example, people would be like “oooh-err he clearly likes her, he must be after something” and that’s sad really.

      Hmm, I have confused myself as I always do other thinking these things, but it is really quite a struggle between the old “chivalry” rules and the new wave of ultra-feminism…I would say I am a feminist (dictionary definition), openly – but I don’t see why that should stop me from helping people…actually it should encourage it, surely?


      1. I think there’s a huge difference between true feminism and this new notion of feminism. True feminism means women are strong and have dignity and hopefully intelligence. It’s a reflection of something intrinsic. Whatever this new feminism is, is just a load of crap about women being the same as men, (and quite frankly where’s the fun in that? Or the practicality? Or the balance for christ sake?)
        And as for people making assumptions about the intentions of somebody helping another person, I think that reflects a hell of a lot more on the person making that judgement and what their reasons would be for such an act than it does on someone who actually still has the decency to be polite.
        Sorry if that sounded like a rant but as a girl who appreciates such kindness from anyone, it’s frustrating to see so many people working against it.

        Liked by 1 person

  17. Great post. Had me rolling! This is a great topic – I think you should discuss it regularly (The Man Series) or something to that effect.. I’m fascinated by the concepts of “womanhood and manhood” they seem so relative, yet there are still stereotypes of particular attributes we are all expected to possess. This was a great example of how chivalry and feminism can’t coexist. (I’ll stick with chivalry)

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I thought it may be somewhat risque for some reason, I know this can be a touchy subject – but I am pleased with the positive response…I wanted to be tactful, but also push forward the idea that surely the positive side of the old style of “gentlemanly” behaviour isn’t a bad thing! It’s this new kind of link of being a gentleman and being a sleazy, after one thing, kinda guy…that throws off people.

      I did also think that what it is to be a woman, is talked about A LOT MORE than on the other side…women talk about it deeply of course, as do men…

      With manhood it seems to go manly man, metrosexual, gay, other – those are the brackets, and there isn’t much else discussed, as if it isn’t important – that we are all different. I hate groups like that, if there is anything that pisses me off, it is those.

      Hey, this discussion has me waffling as always, so maybe I do have more to say on the issue! Sorry for spilling all this out! I do agree that perhaps they can’t coexist, but I am saddened by this fact – I’ll stick with it anyway, even if I am in the wrong and run the risk of a screaming match like my brother had 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      1. No, waffling here just good, healthy dialogue. Yes, keep pushing the envelope here. I think it’s a great topic and I’d like to read more from your perspective.

        Keep up the good work.




  18. Chivalry isn’t dead, it’s just slightly bewildered after being screamed at and metaphorically kicked in the balls by ultra rude femiNazis! I’d heard some women have this reaction and just don’t get it. I consider myself a feminist – men and women should enjoy equal rights and opportunities, but I don’t see how a man showing a woman some common courtesy is somehow a sexist attack. Unless your brother also said “let the big strong man open it for you and don’t worry your pretty little head about it. Get me some coffee.” Then slapped her arse as she walked past. I assume he DIDN’T do any of that, then?

    Liked by 1 person

  19. I appreciated your words on this subject. I too struggle with what it means to be a man. I think either memories of my father or media’s representation of what men look like have colored my views. As I reconcile who I am I simultaneously try to be true to myself. Some days are easier than others. Oh, and clothes made for women just feel nicer sometimes.


  20. Kindness and courtesy is not an exclusive act of a man nor a woman. Your brother was kind…i can’t say that for the screaming woman.

    Still, I enjoyed your article.

    P.S. I open doors and give out my seat to men/women alike. But if one ever screams at me.. so help me.. i will slam the door on his/her face. (Breathe in…breathe out…) on second thought…i won’t. 😛


  21. My boyfriend is the kind of person to open doors for me and occasionally even the car door and I love it. I love chivalry and manners in men, but I have manners too. Every time he does those things for me I don’t hesitate to say “Thank You” even though he always says I don’t have to. It’s manners and more people out there should have them. It’s sad how those women reacted that way, it was impolite and shows that they can’t recognize a man with manners.


    1. haha, I can see that. It’s funny to me, when often people who protest against same sex marriages and whatnot…then get found with a male prostitute, or something along those lines – thou doth protest too much, and all that jazz 😉


  22. I’m likely to ruffle some feathers, but here goes. The female who went off on a tangent is probably one of those moronic twits caught up in the rise of the feminist movement who sadly, have interpreted it to mean “hate all men” and/or “men think you are weak or nothing without them.” Your brother made a kind gesture and the real women in the world appreciate it. The stupid ones can fall in a lake and drown, no real loss.


  23. I have the reverse story. A friend of mine was carrying many bags to work. People (who knew her) looked directly at her, walked through the door and let it shut. The rudeness is magnified when you know that it was a coded door and she had to put some of the bags down to enter the code. Manners are manners. I’m a middle aged woman. I would hold the door open for a body building 20 year old male if it meant that it wouldn’t slam in his face. And back in the day, when men did hold the door for ladies, it wasn’t meant as a statement of her weakness, it was meant as a statement of respect!


  24. just came to my mind…
    how can a guy actually made that woman happy!?!?!?!?!??!?!?!?!
    Maybe that woman is just not about gentle-hood. It’s not in her vocabulary. Poor little thing.

    i mean… for some reasons, i myself would love to see a guy making effort even for the smallest of things.
    little things done with respect and love make ladies feel extraordinarily special.

    Thanks john, for reminding me to appreciate little things more done extraordinarily awesome.


  25. I love it when someone holds the door open for me. I think it is a gentlemanly thing to do. And if there is an older person just behind me, I will respectfully hold the door open for them. Or a Mom with a stroller. I would say it is common decency, but perhaps it isn’t so common, eh? Your daddy did a good job!


  26. I love this post. Its witty, amusing and very true.
    I laughed when I read the part about your brother and the girl because I am that girl. Not the one he held the door for, obviously, but I’ve done that numerous times. Growing up, boys were nice to me so that they could get my attention. It was never just to be nice. So when I’d go out with a guy and he held the door for me or opened my car door I immediately was like nope. This isn’t going to work out. I can hold the door by myself. I think maybe the girl in your story grew up in a similar situation.
    In short, you’re right. There isn’t a lot of niceness going around anymore and it’s depressing. But I really can’t say much.


    1. I’m glad you enjoyed it, and even better that you have entered the debate that seems to have grown from it! I do understand, on further reflection – that it is a bit of an awkward situation for a female to be in (possibly) when it comes to certain gender stereotypes that are in place…a woman doesn’t want to seem weak, or less than able to do something – and I get that, totally!

      It’s a shame, as you have addressed – that niceness, can’t just be niceness! You know, you attach a guy’s nice gestures as just a way to get something else (often this IS the case which is very sad).

      Basically I have no answers, but I hope that someday there is a resolution…or people just start being nice to each other. That would be…well, nice. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It is a little strange if someone goes out of their way to open a door for you. I’ve never minded someone walking through the door right in front of me and holding it. But when they stand there for 2 minutes until you get to the door, you’re just like, really? Was that necessary?

        I do wish people were nicer and more respectful. Maybe someday…

        Thanks again for a good read. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  27. Nope, holding the door open is a common courtesy, for everyone! And since feminists believe in equality I wouldn’t assume that the woman was “a feminist taking things too far” as some of the commenters have said. Your brother should not be dissuaded from treating others with courtesy and respect and neither should you. I hold the door open for whoever is behind me and I always appreciate it when the same is done for me. 🙂


  28. That is quite a hilarious story! 😀 and maybe the lady was an alien and the only stuff she researched about women on planet earth is the dumb aspects of feminism 😛 Jus saying. 😀


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