DEAR MISS MANNERS: The other day, I was walking into a coffee shop as a man was walking out. His hands were full balancing three cups of coffee, so I held the door open for him. Two other men followed behind him and one said to me, "Don't you just love equal rights?"
Not long ago, a man in the office where I work was coming through a door behind me while he carried a heavy paper box, and I held the door for him. He made such a big deal out of it ("Wow, this is the first time a woman has ever held the door for me!") that for a second I wished I had just let the door slam back in his face.
This just seems like a matter of common courtesy to me.
Why can't they just say thank you instead of trying to make it into some kind of gender role issue?
GENTLE READER: They are not responsible for injecting gender into this; that was done centuries ago. And while Miss Manners agrees that they were being tedious, at least they were not being rude -- as you were tempted to be.
Gender was injected into precedence when chivalry came up with Ladies-First to replace Out-of-My-Way-I'm-Important-and-You're-Not. But in a shocking oversight, the new principle was not applied to such other areas as money and power.
In the 20th century, some feminists attempted to make a trade -- forgoing minor courtesies for major gains. As it turned out, they were instantly successful in having the courtesies dropped, but somewhat less so in making the gains.
Unfortunately, courtesy was lacking on both sides. When gentlemen attempted to follow the courtesies they had been used to, they were often treated as if they had offered an insult, and were insulted in return.
Apparently, it is payback time. Miss Manners asks you to bear with it while it lasts, which can't be much longer.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: I received an invitation to a "gift card shower" for "a wonderful couple to celebrate their marriage and their new home."
There was no party or get-together. Instructions on the invitation indicated that this was a surprise and that those wishing to participate should send a gift card (from various retail stores listed) to the couple's new home address.
This young couple had a very small wedding several years ago and asked that no parties or wedding showers be given for them. Is this gift card shower something new?
GENTLE READER: For some time now, people who see their guests as sources of income and dry goods have been trying to eliminate what they believe to be the downside: actually seeing the guests, and supplying them with refreshments.
Eliminating that from social life has occurred to more than one such fundraiser. What Miss Manners fails to understand is why anyone would want to comply.