Mon | Aug 21, 2017

Courtesy as a challenge to women

Published:Sunday | August 14, 2016 | 8:00 AMMelville Cooke

I saw behaviour cruder than oil in its most unrefined state about a week ago at the Texaco gas station near Cross Roads (you know, the one only a certified madman would try to rob, because police officers and security guards who work at nights are always there for coffee and other stuff).

Of course, base mannerisms are nothing new to me. But this time around, the excuse for it, the cloak of being respectful to women, was mind-numbing.

Two women were leaving the store and a man held the door for them. They went through without acknowledging him, and when he walked in, he went ballistic. He loudly announced that the women have no manners, and it would have been bad and not so bad if he had stopped there.

But he did not. He proceeded to determine and describe the sizes of their vaginas (XXL), the state of uncleanliness of said genitalia, and the lack of manners of the women carrying them around. All literally sprinkled with Jamaican fabric. I think the only women in there at the time were the cashiers and no one said anything to him. No one actually acknowledged him.

 

DISINGENUOUS CHARACTER

 

He did not stay and, when he had departed, one man summed up the feelings of us all when he quietly said how nasty the complainer was.

He could have added that the man does not like women. The vehemence of his reaction to something very, very minor - the speed with which he went from the nice man holding the door to going below the belt; the fact that there was not a gradual build-up to that utterly despicable pace; that he felt comfortable announcing his feelings to a bunch of strangers (including women) meant that it was his accustomed behaviour.

So the act of holding the door open was not his real self. The respect for women and the basic courtesy it indicates were not genuine. His real character was given a chance to come out when he leapt at the opportunity to degrade the women, even though they were no longer in his presence.

The courtesy of holding the door open was a challenge. It is not an uncommon strategy for persons of limited intelligence to employ - to dramatically and obviously extend a supposed courtesy and wait for the grand opportunity of it not being returned effusively (if at all) to declare that "certain people no have no mannas".

There are times when courtesy is a challenge (just like how being deliberately and repeatedly called 'Sir' can be an insult). That man, despite the show of opening the door for the women, did just that, and, whether or not he has sex with women, does not actually like women. He is not unusual in that regard. Quite a few overtly heterosexual men do not genuinely like women, and even use sex as a means of punishment.

Details may differ, but that is the kind of man who held the door open for those women at the Cross Roads Texaco that night. He may not have sex with men, but he sure as hell does not like women. A nuff a dem deh bout.

melville.cooke@gleanerjm.com