Ok. Here’s the scenario. You’re walking side-by-side with a girl. There’s a door ahead. Ettiquete insists that I open and hold the door for her.
But it doesn’t always work out that way. Sometimes the only way to get to the door in time is to perform a kind of cutoff-lunge motion in front of the lady. Is this rude? It seems kind of ostentatious to me.
Trivial, I know, but it’s been bothering me! Help!
If you have to knock her over to open the door then obviously it becomes awkward. If you fell compelled to do something animated for the purposes of chivalry than humor usually helps. I would let the situation take its’ natural course. First person to the door opens it. You could even ask her if door opening is something she expects.
I have the same problem with handshakes. In my age group and social setting it is almost always a standard howdy handshake. Go to a blues bar and its a smorgasbord of differing styles.
The door opening lunge can be avoided if you time it just right by being a pace or so ahead just before opening the door. If you’re still not too sure about it, you could always say something like, “I’ll get the door for you”. My SO always opens the door for me. I’m used to it and I often don’t notice him doing it. It’s just something he’s always done, but a lot of other people notice that he does it. He also holds the door open if others are approaching the doorway. I guess it’s just politeness. Some women don’t care if the door is opened for them or not, afterall, we’re quite capable of opening it ourselves. I don’t think it’s such a big deal, but it is a nice gesture.
I never really understood this etiquette rule. It’s basically saying women are useless. They can’t use those big useless flaps of flesh hanging from their shoulders to do something as simple as opening a door. They must rely on a big strong man to do something even a little child can do.
Or maybe this really says women cannot be expected to realize the door must be opened and will walk directly into doors all day without this rule.
Following this logic, etiquette must demand that men do the common courtesy of lifting and carrying all women around all day so that women can avoid usnig those big useless flaps of flesh hanging from their hips.
Note, I am criticizing the etiquette, not flaming women in general.
I share the door-opening responsibility with someone I pass through doorways with regularly. Like my husband or my smoking buddy. For others, I just kind of get out of the way so they can open it for me. But not too far, so as not to look like I expect it.
I sort of expect it. (My late husband would get annoyed if I didn’t let him do it!) I just move out of the way so my guy can get to the door. Sometimes it is inconvenient, and I will open it for us, and I will enter first.
At work it gets ridiculous. Guys will hold the door when you are still halfway down the hallway. I feel like I have to run a little so they don’t have to hold it so long.
Overall, though, I like the door to be opened for me. It is courteous, and makes me feel ladylike and special. It’s not done because they feel I am not capable, it is just a nice thing to do for somebody.
I’m a serial door-opener - i do it automatically without thinking (guess its just the way i was brought up).
I tend to find myself trying to end up a pace ahead so i can open the door. If this isn’t possible and she opens the door and gets through first then no biggie.
If, however, she starts opening the door and its heavily sprung (most of the doors in my office are like this - easy to start opening but hard to open all the way) then i find that i’ll move round and gently (not in an aggressive “rah! me strong man! let me do it!!!” way) help open it so that i end up holding the door open for her.
I agree with Goo, first person to the door opens it for the other. Male or female, no difference.
My husband likes to hold doors open for me, and I like to let him. But if it’s a restaurant with a vestibule and door inside the front door, I don’t want him to try to squeeze around me in this tiny little room so he can open Door #2. It just flows better if he opens the first and I open the second. (But he still gets miffed when I do it.) Besides, half the time, he’s holding the door open for every woman within a 2 block radius. He likes to open doors. Oh well, it’s good to have a hobby.
To avoid the cut-off/lunge my SO will say a step or two before the door, “Let me get that.” In a vestiblue sort of situation as DeVena described I will open the door myself but let SO hold it as I step through. When it’s anyone else behind me I step back with the door and let them walk through before me.
I most certainly do not expect or demand this courtesy of strangers. I don’t like that awkward I’m too far away but he’s holding the door so now I must trot feeling. If a stranger does hold a door for me though I ALWAYS say Thank You. I’ve noticed this is not standard practice. Harumph!
It’s not that they can’t open the door, it’s that they need the man’s permission to pass through certain barriers, just like children need permission.
I’m a door opener, more because my wife wants it that way than because of what I feel is right.
When she gets there first, she starts to open the door then I do “the reach around” and hold it open for her. That way she doesn’t feel weird having a clod for a husband, or waiting in front of the door.
My office has a double set of doors into the lobby (first door – 4 foor vestibule – 2nd door). This arrangement makes it nearly impossible for the same person to open both doors when 2 people walk together. The opener would have to sort of sidle past the walk-through-er while the latter paused awkwardly.
On occasion, a person (man or woman) will open the first door for me. I always reply with a courteous “thank you” and hold the second door for them. For some reason this gets a chuckle a lot of the time.
By no means to I expect anyone to open the door for me as a rule. I actually find the “door lunge” a bit rude. It’s certainly the opposite of courtesy in that it makes something more complicated instead of easier.
Opening a door for someone who is a little way behind you has always been something that I have been unsure about. I generally hold open a door if I have just walked through it, but sometimes it causes the person to run to get through, presumably because they don’t want to hold me up from wherever I am going. I have always wondered if I should do that, or if it is more polite to just let the door close.
I generally hold the door open for anyone who happens to be there. I usually hold the door open for my wife but not because I think I should, or she wants me to.
Philip Howard, the etiquette columnist of the Times of London, frequently deals with this type of question. I really like his answer (and not just because of the lovely English wording and references):
I’m a door opener myself, always have been. I open for friends, I open for more than friends, and I open for complete strangers. And often other people will get there first. Luckily, most of the women I know are shorter than me, and it is easy to grab the door over their head after they’ve initially pulled it open. Works for me!
And as to opening it too early, I tend to just not look at the person who is coming, and I think they feel less pressured to hurry. Not like I’m staring them down and scowling at their pace or something of the sort. :rolleyes: