605: No, thank YOU

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I am so dreadfully sorry that I was in conversation with my husband, and neglected to notice that you held the door for us to enter the establishment. I am sure my error was compounded in triplicate because you are black and I am white. I can assure you it wasn’t intentional, nor do I expect such service from strangers, or black people in particular. Neither my husband or I am visibly handicapped, so you offered (of your own volition) to hold the door which you could clearly see we were capable of opening ourselves. That was both courteous, and kind of you.

What wasn’t, was your announcement in overly loud voice of that sarcastic “You’re WELCOME” when we neglected to immediately and profusely thank you ourselves for your kind (and unnecessary) gesture. Believe me, your deliberate rudeness put our unintentional forgetfulness squarely even and then some.

Why bother to offer a kindness (necessary or not) if all you are after is the public notice of your nobleness? And your conduct when you didn’t get your thanks (for whatever reason) certainly left us both with a clear impression of your “nobleness,” didn’t it?

Yes, it is our usual habit to acknowledge such a gesture with spoken thanks. Yes, we were engaged in our conversation, and we forgot to thank you. I don’t believe I have lowered myself to that level when my polite gestures have gone unrewarded and unnoticed, and if I ever have, I am thoroughly and utterly ashamed of myself.

302: La, Shokran (No, Thanks in Arabic)

No, thanks. I don’t want any, but it was nice of you to ask. I don’t want to, but I am honored that you asked. I remember in Girl Scouts (back in the day) when we girls were actually taught how to politely refuse a man’s proposal. We were all about the age of eight, but you never know – it might have happened………. Anyway, we were taught to let the gentleman know how very honored we were at receiving the proposal, but that manners dictated that we had to consult with our family before we could reply. Safe exit. I don’t think girls this day and age are taught how to respond to a proposal that they don’t immediately want to say ‘yes’ to. And nowadays, the proposals are often not proposals of marriage, but offers for other things most of us would rather just pass up, too.

My brother¬† (it shames me about my family to admit this, but *I* didn’t do it) reported that in his heyday (30 years ago) he would walk up to attractive girls in our college town, of which there were innumerable, and just baldly ask them, “Wanna ____?”¬† I am also equally ashamed of my sex to admit that occasionally he got an affirmative reply, which encouraged him to keep asking that very, very rude question to perfect strangers of the opposite sex. I have NEVER responded positively to come-ons of the rude and crude sort. I have often not responded positively to come-ons of the polite sort, either, but that’s neither here nor there.

I remember being in my little ’66 Ford Mustang and having guys on the street shout unmentionables at me as I was driving by. Here in Morocco, it is fairly common for men to whisper/mutter suggestive things to a lone woman who is passing them on the sidewalk, and to shout juvenile things at women who are walking as they pass by in their cars. WHAT are these guys thinking? That women are actually flattered?? Seriously?

My second husband was just coming off of a disastrous relationship and decided that he didn’t want to ask women anymore, judging by his previous luck, and he decided that he’d just wait to be asked. It apparently worked out fairly well for him. American women did ask, I asked, and so have a number of other women here in Morocco (to be his second wife, not to dance).¬† I think that should work well for the rest of the world, too – let the woman ask. She is very unlikely to be turned down, knowing the average man. When a guy asks, his chances of a refusal are actually statistically pretty high – even if there are a few alcoholic drinks involved.

My advice? Let her ask – and then you can be the one with the polite refusal: La, Shokran.