One might say the Brits have mastered it; if that’s the case, you should know Canadians aren’t too far behind. I know for certain Greeks will do it but only if there is some kind of handout at the end.
That’s right. I’m talking about queuing. Indeed, waiting in line.
Now, while I may not be completely aware of how each culture handles lining up, I know that many of these cultures know that ladies should probably go first. Some of them even practice it. This pretty much goes beyond the duty of a Gentleman; it’s good practice for any man or woman. Here’s a quick story to illustrate my point.
Recently I was in front of the coffee machine in the office, about to indulge in one of my guilty pleasures: a great second cup of coffee about an hour after I had my first. Keep in mind this second cup might very well be just as important as the first for me, perhaps even more so. Whereas the first coffee usually gets me going, this one always sets the mood for the day. It’s like the second drink you pour (only if you enjoy one, of course): the first one cuts the edge; the second one gets you there.
Anyway, this pot of coffee was almost done; its last drops were just falling into the tall urn, the strong waking smell wafted heavily, stealthily through the air. Since I was the one who made the coffee I was naturally the first one to stand there, but that in no way signified I had to serve myself first. As a matter of fact, I never do. I turned and found someone standing beside me – a lovely woman I had come to respect as a kind of sage type – and I motioned that she should go first. You do that as well, don’t you – I mean, let others go first?
Suddenly, another woman entered the kitchen. This woman was younger and well known for being quite crass and equally selfish (no, she is not self-ish or even self-almost). Just selfish. She stepped up immediately to serve herself first. Normally I don’t make a protest out of a point, but I couldn’t contain myself this time. Equally despising this line-cutter for her obtuse behavior and her blatant disregard for lining up, I thrust my voice forward at her. Rather aptly put, my voice jumped out of my throat. I asked her if she would mind looking around to see if anyone was waiting there before her. Besides, I mentioned albeit in an ironically sarcastic tone, that this coffee was kind of gourmet, not the normal shit we usually gulp down. I wouldn’t want her to be shocked at tasting something so remotely delicious from what she was used to without her first being warned. But it was more so about my obligations. After all, someone had to make her wait her turn for once.
It is utterly profane that I have to witness people take such disrespectful liberties with one another on a daily basis and I suppose that day I had enough. She was The One Thing That Set Me Off. I didn’t release too much steam, but I spoke up more than I normally would have. She understood through somewhat rolling eyes, and stepped aside. When everyone else had their fill, I eventually motioned: “No. After you.”
A few days later, who do you think was trying to get through the door with her hands full and needed help? Yes, the Line-Cutting Coffee Hog. Of course I watched for an immensely long and guiltily delightful moment as she prepared herself for the struggle afoot. And of course I reached for the door before I allowed her time to struggle with the decision of what to do next.
After all, that’s what an Everyday Gentleman should do. And hope it turns out for the best.
The real trick is to do exactly that while holding back your imagination as it paints a picture of this rude person falling, covered in your delicious gourmet coffee. But I beg you: refrain. That is what Karma is for. And you know what they say about her…