I consider myself a progressive. I’m a confirmed feminist (my granddaughters are destined for greatness). I also support women in the priesthood, equal pay for equal work, and look forward to the day that we have a woman in the Oval Office. I champion diversity in my workplace while supporting family leave for women and men. Social justice issues (especially as they relate to women) are dear to my heart and I expect that I will ALWAYS lean to the left. And I think that we can all agree that violence against women is intolerable and shameful.
So why do find myself mourning the passing of certain traditional elements in society?
I still go to a barbershop replete with a barber pole, clippers, straight razors, sports & auto magazines, and the same old guys (yours truly included) that have frequenting the place for 30+ years. I don’t need a stylist or a colorist or a scalp massage. I just want to talk about the weather and local sports teams and get a 15 minute haircut.
It also makes me very sad that many young people don’t have legible handwriting. When was the last time you even received a handwritten note? I love email and texting but sometimes I long for a letter or even a postcard, written in long hand (not printed), addressed to me, and actually mailed with a stamp and a postmark! Do they even teach penmanship in school anymore?
I always carry a handkerchief (not for blowing my nose) but to offer to a lady to dry her tears or to wipe a smudge. No sexist implications here. I was just raised to believe that a gentleman should always have a clean and pressed handkerchief. Thanks Mom!
And when did holding a door for someone become passé? My beautiful wife is just as strong and smart as I am and yet I still want to hold the door for her whenever we’re together and would NEVER step in front of her when walking through a doorway. This doesn’t make me gallant and certainly doesn’t imply that she is weak; just loved and respected.
So what does a well-meaning progressive do in a society that seems to be discarding tradition; abandoning manners in lieu of efficiency or mistaken equality; surrendering politeness in an attempt to be first in all things at the expense of others?
I’m not really sure, but I believe that I can still be relevant and thoughtful. I believe that I can support women’s rights and hold a door. I believe that I can embrace technology and still write the occasional note. Who knows, maybe when one my granddaughters becomes president she will ask Congress to consider mandating that penmanship be taught in all public schools.
I will be there to offer my handkerchief to her when they reject her proposal as antiquated and foolish. And then, of course, I will wipe my own tears.