For some reason, I have been thinking about having doors opened for me. Every so often, I find myself in an awkward situation.
In some cases, I am opening a door for a man and he is completely thrown off by my actions. I don't think about the "rules of chivalry" calling for the opposite unless the man is clearly feeling awkward. Otherwise, I just don't think about who opens a door for whom. I guess in my subconscious it's just the person with the easiest access to the door who opens it, and doors are only opened for others when it makes logistical sense. Otherwise, I think I operate under the assumption that everyone opens their own doors. Nor do I give much conscious thought to which gender proceeds through a doorway first. Again, it's a matter of happenstance and logistics.
I hold doors for folks behind me, and expect likewise, regardless of gender, if the distance between me and the other person would mean that someone would have a door closing in their face if it were not being held.
In other cases, I find myself feeling awkward when a stranger, or someone I have perhaps just been introduced to, opens a door for me. I do project onto these folks a sense of distance and condescension. This is not because I consciously believe that is what is intended. I am just so accustomed to doing my own thing, and I guess somewhere along the way, I have internalized a message that men holding doors for women is rooted in the belief that women need such assistance.
The exception to all of this is that my husband holds doors for me, especially if we are out by ourselves on anything resembling a date. I have to think hard about it, but I am pretty sure my father holds doors for me too.
So here is my conclusion: I am uncomfortable with people holding doors for me unless the person is my husband or father. I think this is mostly because this is what I am used to, and so now, holding a door open feels to me like an intimate action.
Otherwise, I don't want doors opened or held for me unless it would be rude not to hold the door. I don't like anyone else going out of their way to open a door for me- it just doesn't feel right.
I have never had conscious thought about this until recently, and I can't even remember what sparked this. It's not that I have consciously made decisions based on "women's lib" conversations that pre-date me. I think it's just the sense I developed without giving it much thought (until now).
I wonder what the rest of the world thinks about such things (or if it is worth any brain power at all!)