I think you just did! And despite being a man, I think I understand. Your article made me understand how you feel. Will I ever be able to feel how you feel? No. But I can understand, I can relate and I can feel empathy. And I do!
I grew up in a very conservative family in Germany. Which means that at a certain age my parents taught me to hold doors open for women. And a few years later my mom expected me to hold them open for her and other women. It is completely part of my learned behavior now that I’m a grown-up man that I hold open doors for women (but not just for women). I do it because I’ve learned (and now believe) it to be the nice thing to do.
I also expect a thank you for holding doors open for anybody. If I don’t get a thank you, you might hear me say (admittedly passive-agressively) “You’re welcome”. Would I assault you (woman or man) for not saying thank you? Of course not, that wouldn’t be nice!
So does holding a door open for a woman make me a sexist pig?
Personally, I don’t think so. But reading your article makes me wonder!
I’d like to take this a step further. I’m a very visual person. I like to look at things. If that’s an ocean, the desert, photos of either or women and photos of them. Especially women. So I’m kind of embarrassed to admit to have had my eyes fixed on a woman and I shamelessly stared at every inch of her while she passed. And retroactively I’d like to apologize to every woman I’ve done that to and I’d like to apologize to every woman I will do that to in the future. My intent is not to make you feel violated or to dominate you or to make you do what I want you to. I am literally just amazed by what I’m seeing!
Am I a sexist pig? I am very certain that I’m not! I strongly believe that every human has the right to do whatever they want as long as what they’re doing doesn’t negatively impact anyone else. I truly appreciate those moments when somebody else wants to do something with me, for me or if they want me to do something with/for them at the same time I do.
But what if I ever run into you, Kel? Or women like you. Whose negative experiences with other men have been so overwhelming that by now you don’t have a choice but to go through life assuming guilty until proven innocent? What if I fix my eyes on you and stare at every inch of you? What if I go bottom up so you notice my stare before I have an opportunity to let you see my smile. In other words, before you can judge by my smile that I’m completely harmless (which both my current wife and even my ex-wife would confirm)?
Kel, I apologize! I can’t read your mind and you can’t read mine but I would never ever do any harm. I can’t know nor should I expect that my actions might negatively impact you. While I would never expect you to change your path for me, should I ever run into you, I will open the door for you, appreciate your beauty and expect a thank you! Because, you know, I would love for you to do those exact things (open the door for me, appreciate my beauty and expect a thank you) if you ever ran into me.