The Value of an Open Door

I recently wrote this paper for my composition class. I thought I would share it here for all of you to read. Enjoy! 🙂


Can one single act of kindness decide the fate of an entire nation? The choice that a man must make regarding being a gentleman has been decided by women. Politeness and chivalry were deemed as actions that made women look weak and incompetent of caring for themselves. Men decided that it was not worth the fight to be chivalrous. Why should men go out of their way to be kind when it was obviously not wanted? In fighting for a society that would make men and women the same, society lost the very thing that made it unique. It lost people who were responsible for and better suited to particular jobs, assignments, and ways of life. The lack of chivalry created a culture that is the same. Society is constantly telling people to be themselves, while simultaneously discouraging individuality. Chivalry can assist in changing this mindset. Chivalry is an act of service that can lead to an entire culture valuing and respecting each individual that is a part of it. It creates an environment that has regard for each and every life.

Women are largely responsible for the lack of chivalry in public places, which can be ironic, as women then question where all the gentleman have gone. It is difficult to maintain a balance of men and women being equal, while men must still be gentlemen and women must be ladies. In doing this, you have eliminated the qualities that go into making a man a gentleman and a woman a lady. There is no service to the other person required, rather a ‘do it for yourself, by yourself’ mentality develops.

“Our generation is becoming so busy trying to prove that women can do what men can do that women are losing their uniqueness. Women weren’t created to do everything a man can do. Women were created to do everything a man can’t do.” (New Wave Feminists)

Women need to love who they are and find beauty in who they were created to be.

A friend and I were exiting a mall when a man quickly walked past us right as we were about to reach the doors. The man opened the door and slid his hand along it, giving the appearance that he was holding it open. Assuming that those were his intentions, my friend continued walking to the door. The moment she reached it, the man looked back towards us and let the door go. It slammed shut in her face, almost causing her to fall backwards. The stranger then jogged to his car and left. While women are largely responsible for the disappearance of chivalry, there are many times that men show an utter lack of respect and decency for the female gender. The lack of chivalry that was displayed in the story above prompts the asking of two questions. First, would a person want their son to be the one slamming doors in the faces of young women? And second, would a person want their daughter to be the one slammed by the door? The average person would most likely answer no to both questions. Frank Sinatra said,

“I may sound old-fashioned, but I want to think all women should be treated like I want my wife, daughters, and granddaughters to be treated. I notice today that good manners – like standing up when a woman enters the room, helping a woman with her coat, letting her enter an elevator first, taking her arm to cross the street are sometimes considered unnecessary or a throwback. These are habits I could never break, nor would I want to. I realize today a lot more are taking care of themselves than in the past, but no woman is offended by politeness.”

While many women today are actually offended by politeness, that does not change the over-all meaning of what Sinatra said. The point of being a gentleman is to set an example for the next generation and to show respect to women who may not even be deserving of it.

Imagine a world where chivalry is put into action on a day to day basis, it is seen as just a part of life. I have seen glimpses of this and it is a beautiful thing. My mom and I were exiting a building that had a narrow hallway and to get in and out, there were two single glass doors right in a row. As we got closer, a young man was entering the building and saw us. He opened the door nearer to us and then proceeded to stretch himself so he could open both doors at the same time. My mom and I were amazed by the forethought and thanked him immensely. My mom and I felt valued and the young man obviously has a great deal of integrity. The culture that chivalry creates is one of respect and love. That is the kind of place I want to live.

Women are worth the fight. This fight is not like many others. It requires doing simple tasks that women could easily complete on their own. It consists of opening doors, pulling out chairs, and walking closer to the street.  While this is a fight that will primarily consist of verbal beatings from the very people that men are trying to serve, it is a fight that may also produce men of character. The reward could very well be a woman who appreciates him and sees the character, kindness, and drive that is within him and decides he is too special to forget or dismiss. The reward could last for the rest of his life. Chivalry becomes a lifestyle that encourages women to be ladies and men to be gentlemen. It is an action that has the power to change a nation. And that is the value of an open door.


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