Friday 23 August 2019

Ian O'Doherty: 'Lads, stop moaning and hold the door open - manners cost nothing'

End of chivalry: British journalist Nirpal Dhaliwal said this week he would not give up his seat on a train for a woman
End of chivalry: British journalist Nirpal Dhaliwal said this week he would not give up his seat on a train for a woman
Ian O'Doherty

Ian O'Doherty

One of the great frustrations of our time is the increased hostility between men and women.

What was once known as the battle of the sexes seems to have opened up on several new fronts as militant feminists do battle with the cretinous men's rights activists.

The rest of us?

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Well, most people aren't completely bonkers. Most people know that the secret to a slightly happier life, or just a slightly nicer day, is simply to try to get along with your fellow citizens.

There are certain rules to living a hassle-free life and they always, always come down to manners.

For example, never trust a man who doesn't tip in a restaurant and is rude to the staff.

If they behave like a jerk to people who are simply dong their job then they are guilty of one of two things: a) they simply don't realise that they are being obnoxious, and that's a bad sign or b) they do realise they are being obnoxious and they simply enjoy the feeling. That isn't so much a bad sign as a giant, screaming red flag telling his date that she should immediately run like hell.

Conversely, most men have been brought up to hold the door open for a woman, or to stand up and offer his seat on a crowded train or bus.

You could call it chivalry, but really it's just basic manners.

Yet the once uncontroversial act of holding the door open can now be seen - I kid ye not - as "upholding the male patriarchal dominion".

That was the reliably ridiculous take from one American college student who was so shocked at a man offering to hold the door that she had to write an article attacking such examples of male privilege.

In fact, she even went so far as to complain that: "It reinforces gender stereotypes. We can never be equal if women are assumed to be dependent on men to get where we want to go."

Now to be honest, I imagine the man involved (boo!) simply thought he was trying to be nice. Which, on Planet Stoopid, is now seen as a micro aggression.

That piece was also echoed by another American woman who complained that "a white man" offered to lift her bag into the overhead container on a flight.

Bloody white men, always offering to help.

But while there is no upper limit to the whiny silliness of many young, privileged activists who have the time to fret about doors being opened for them, this attitude has now infected many men's behaviour, as more of them simply refuse to open doors or offer seats.

There was an interesting item on British TV on Tuesday which saw one man explain why he never holds the door or offers his seat.

It's because of feminism, y'see. Apparently this has so poisoned relations between men and women that men are now too 'confused' about social rules that they don't know what to do.

As journalist Nirpal Dhaliwal put it: "Firstly, if a woman is able bodied, why should I? Guys pay for the train ticket as much as women do. Guys are getting their heads bitten off or just getting an earful just for helping, and that's confusing."

Is it, though? Is the idea of simply displaying the tiniest bit of courtesy now a social and sexual minefield?

Or, to be more accurate, is this another case of the tail wagging the dog, where activists on either side try to set the tone for the rest of us?

What was interesting, and rather alarming, about Dhaliwal's point was the reaction of a large number of young men who completely agreed with him.

Women are devious and ungrateful for even the smallest gesture, said one of his supporters. Another, self-described 'incel' (involuntary celibate) seemed to operate off the idea that if he can't sleep with all the women he wants, why should he open doors for any of them?

That's not feminism's fault - their inadequacies are entirely of their own making. Like most activists who try to project their own neuroses on to the rest of us, it's easier for them to blame an external force for their own failings rather than confront the possibility that they are simply horrible people.

But these things matter. Manners matter. The only time I can remember my parents being in any way physical with me was the time, as a kid, my mother whupped me the length of Kildare Road with her umbrella because I refused to give up my seat on the bus for one of our neighbours. She was damn right.

Whatever about the usual campus craziness in the States, and the myriad ways some young people can get the hump over the most trivial of issues, it's hard to escape the impression that a lot of men are actually quite happy with these new rules.

Not because they are 'confused' about modern feminism, but rather because a lot of them - and I'm not including Dhaliwal in that category, he actually seemed like a decent enough chap - simply don't like women very much.

After all, if you'd rather look like a jerk than simply do the decent thing and hold the bloody door open, then you're probably not going to be much use as a romantic partner.

Let the lunatics take over their own asylum. As for the rest of us?

Just hold the door open and show some basic manners. They cost nothing, after all.

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