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Will the Real Gentlemen Please Stand Up

Last Saturday night, I went to a club with some friends. I’ve never been a fan of clubs, but every now and then I make an exception. On a few occasions, I’ve had nights to remember. Last Saturday was one such night, but not in the way I had hoped.

First of all, we were at a club I do not like. (Hint: NYMM has actually reviewed this place.) I had been there before, and despite thinking this particular club suffers from a major identity crisis, I decided to be a sport and show up nonetheless. 

When my friend gave me the details, he said to show up around 10 or 10:30. Naturally, I showed up shortly before midnight. Ever the gentleman, my friend came out to get me when I arrived. He did the same for all my other girlfriends who arrived after me. 

Unfortunately, not all the men in the club were raised like my friend. A few minutes into dancing with my friends, I found myself cornered by a man whose first name I barely remembered. He seemed to think we were in a romantic embrace, when really I was trying to signal to my friends that a rescue mission was needed. 

When he didn’t get the message by my horrified face or my closed-off body language, I settled for the only escape plan I could think of: I started laughing hysterically. Thankfully, my tactic seemed to scare and embarrass him and he scurried away. 

A couple of months ago, I met a couple of friends out. They had a friend with them whom I hadn’t met before. Apparently, they were trying to set me up. I unwittingly stepped into a hopeful double date. 

First I just stuck to talking to my friends, then I was left with this stranger. I talked to him for a bit, but it was just friendly chit-chat. About an hour later, we decided to go to a club. When we arrived, my friends ran off, and I was left with what I guess was my date. He grabbed my hand and intertwined his fingers with mine. I quickly grabbed my hand back. 

At that moment, I couldn’t even remember this guy’s name! At what point did he think it was ok to hold my hand like that? How did a friendly conversation translate to “I want you to be my boyfriend”?!

So to avoid further confusion, let me be clear: when I am with my friends at a club, I’m there to have fun and dance with my friends. I am not inviting every Tom, Dick and Harry to pursue me. 

Unlike Britney Spears, I am not available for you to dance up on me. My presence at a club does not mean I’m game to be touched or approached by a complete stranger. No one is allowed to enter my personal sphere without permission. No one! 

What I do expect is for men to behave like gentlemen. Where has the etiquette gone? When did it become acceptable to treat women like you’re about to devour a steak? I’m not asking for Jane Austen times (though I wouldn’t turn down Mr. Darcy), but I expect to be treated like a lady. Scratch that…a queen! 

I expect for the door to be held open for me. I expect the man I’m walking with to be aware of our surroundings and be on guard to protect me. I expect men to step in if a woman seems in distress. I expect men to show their interest in an intelligent, respectful way and not by pawing at women’s bodies. 

Too much expectation? I don’t think so. In fact, I think that’s the problem…too little expectation. I refuse to believe chivalry is dead. In this city, we don’t expect men to open doors for us. We’ve trained our selves to think that equality means we have to take what men dish out. But shouldn’t equality mean treating one another with respect and appreciating men’s masculinity and women’s femininity? 

What are we passing down to our sons? How are we raising our daughters? Are we teaching our daughters when they walk into a bar or a club, men will assume they’re on the prowl and approach them in which ever way the men are comfortable? NO! We have to do better. We must set better standards. We must have better expectations. Show me you’re a man by keeping your hands to yourself and treating me with respect. 

So next time I’m at a club, you may come over and say hello, but beware I do not do the grinding or the bumping. 

Featured Image by Sarthak Navjivan on Unsplash

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1 Comment

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    October 23, 2012 at 7:31 pm

    Amen, Sar!!

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