Friday, May 17, 2013

The New Honk

She came out of her bedroom, straightening her outfit, eager for her date that night.  She practically skipped across the living room floor.  “See everyone later!”

“Wait! Where are you going?” I closed my book and glanced at the girls. They just glanced back, just as confused as I.

“I told you. I’m going to the movies. You said it was okay.” Her face held that frightened look as if I had just cancelled her night with my faulty memory.

“I know. Where are you going right now? I haven’t heard the doorbell ring.”

“Oh,” she looked relieved. “Sorry. He texted me that he was here. Have a good night. See you when I get home.” And she inched her way to the front door.

She didn’t get far. Our daughter doesn’t come when someone whistles, texts, or honks. She is not a pet. If I ever catch my sons doing it to their dates, I’ll personally take them to the woodshed for a lesson on chivalry. It’s simply rude and not the way men should treat a lady. It’s not the way anyone should treat another person. Period.

Before the day of cell phones, the car horn was the blaring announcer of the Come Hither. Loud and equally annoying, crude men would pull up into a driveway and press on the horn, summoning their dates to the passenger door, which they wouldn’t even get out to open for them. I mean if they are too lazy to get off their backside to walk to the front door and pick up their date properly, they are way too lazy to open their door for them. When I hear a car horn outside of some house calling for an individual within, I want to go outside myself and rip the steering wheel out and wrap it around their necks. Chivalry was on the endangered list a few decades ago, but with cell phones, it’s all but extinct. With text messaging cheap or unlimited, it’s become the whistle that the horn was, only now the obnoxious sound is gone. Our kids are kissing us goodbye and heading out the door, because they received the two block warning text. It drives me nuts.

I expect the boy to walk to the door, knock, and give me the opportunity to scare the hell out of him if he tries anything with my girl. It shows respect and our daughters deserve respect. They need to know they are worth more than a honking horn or a “Here” text message. As fathers, it’s our job to make sure they know it and believe it. It’s also our job to make sure their dates know it or they won’t be dating our precious girls.

While I’m not a big fan of texting “Here” and expecting someone to come out of the house and get into the car, I am a fan of the opposite. Zac has done this with his female friends and I’m proud of him for it. He’ll be in his room when he suddenly gets the “Here” text. However, instead of him leaving the house, he goes outside and meets the girl at her car and escorts them inside. To me, that’s chivalry in action.

We need to teach our sons that there is a proper way to treat the opposite sex and our daughters that they should expect to be treated properly. It’s also not just the father’s job. Mom’s should not allow themselves to be used as a bad example. Have your boys practice on their mothers by opening doors and escorting them to different places as a young gentleman would. A standard should be held that treats other human beings with dignity and respect and not as animals being made to fetch or roll over. Technology makes us lazy, but it has also made us rude. We can’t leave the phone alone. It interrupts conversations and distracts us from being in the moment. It beeps and trills at us constantly, demanding our attention and we succumb to the call every time. It never leaves our side.

And why would it? Today’s cell phone has become an all-in-one must. It’s our watch, calendar, camera, computer, video recorder, music player, television, novel, and now it’s even our horn, summoning those inside to get their asses outside - carrying their phone with them, of course. Occasionally, it’s even used as an actual phone, the least used function it has. However you use it, don’t allow it to steal your manners and don’t allow it to be the horn honking for your child. Make the offender come inside and shake your hand, say an official “Hello.” Our daughters are worth the effort of proper manners. Make sure they not only know it, but so do their dates if they want to continue being dates.

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For Further Reading ~ The Age of the Impersonal
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