Being a Gentleman in 2014
What do you do when you are trying to be a gentleman and the woman you are with does not appreciate your manners? What do you say if the lady insists on paying her portion of a bill or wants to open her own door? What do you do if a woman says, “I can do it myself”, when you attempt to pull out her chair? Obviously, you are not doing these things because you feel the woman is incapable of doing them herself. You may be trying to demonstrate that you are a gentleman and this is how you show respect.
There are many components to being a gentleman besides good choices and basic politeness. How we treat the opposite sex is quite different and undefined today. Many situations can present some confusion.
In business, you treat a woman as an equal. It is a very different situation. You shake hands and pick up tabs equally. It’s the social settings that bring the confusion.
Here is a good rule of thumb. If you are a man that is use to treating a woman like a lady, please continue. Please don’t assume that all women want to be treated like men socially. Many women enjoy and appreciate being treated like a lady. However, if you extend these courtesies and the person does not appreciate them, reply, “Ok, I understand”. It is never acceptable to be abrasive or confrontational in the etiquette world.
If a person indicates how they would like to be treated, respect their wishes. Part of being a gentleman or lady is recognizing how people want to be treated and accommodating them. It is a difficult situation to be in. In the absence of any "signals", go with your gut feeling, but always respond respectfully. It is how you truly demonstrate the rules of protocol.