Friday, August 15, 2014

to the old guy at the Dollar store

It was a cool, sunny day in August (which, before this year, I wouldn't have said was possible).  Sugar, Nice, and Lil' Snip had chosen and purchased gifts for Spice from the dollar store.  [Lil' Snip, knowing her heart's desire but ignorant that my Farmer and I had already taken care of it, told me that he wanted to buy her a bike.  With his quarter.  Sooooo sweet.]

We headed to the van with our birthday booty, well-concealed by bags and body-shielding.  As the children buckled up, I glanced back at the store and made an executive decision.  "Wait here.  There's something else I want to get.  I'll be right back."  And walked briskly toward the doors.

I saw you - an older gentleman (well, to be fair, you didn't look particularly gentlemanly; just another t-shirted old guy with a bushy mustache) - headed in the same direction.

You reached the doors before I did.

Opened one.

And held it for me, waiting.

I could have gestured "Go ahead."

I could have taken offense, assuming that you thought me weak and in need of assistance, and, by association, feeble-minded as well.

I could have accused you of sexism and rudely explained that I can open my own doors, thank-you-very-much.

But I didn't.

I smiled.  Said "Thank you!"  Walked in and bought that can of Pringles (my executive decision).  Walked back to the van to share them with my children, thinking about courtesy and other old-fashioned gestures.

To me, a man holding open a door for me (or offering to catch me when I stumble, or to keep me from inadvertently endangering my unborn child) is not an insult to my abilities.

It is a public testament to my value, to the value of all women, and to that man's commitment to care for and protect all women, because of his respect for us.

So thank you to the old guy at the Dollar store, to those few remnants of civilization, who offer me their place in line, hold doors for me to go through, stand to offer me a seat in a crowded room, pay for my meal on a date (only my Farmer does that, now!), or otherwise defer to and serve me.

(My Farmer, for instance, has started a charming new evening ritual of offering to bring me a snack from the kitchen when he is headed there to find one for himself.)

You are a noble breed.  I want to raise my son to be one of you.

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