I Was Told One Thing, But Taught Another
October 17, 2013
I Was Told One Thing, But Taught Another

Dr. Laura,

I was told as a child that I should open doors for women, treat them with respect, defer or apologize to them when it is necessary. I was told that it is polite to hold an umbrella for a woman I am walking with, and that I should be willing to carry objects for her if necessary. I was told to always sit to the right of a woman with whom I was out when at a dining table, to stand when she arrives or leaves, always holding her chair for her, to fill her glass before mine, and to never touch my silverware before she has lifted her salad fork, nor eat quickly enough that I would be finished with my plate before her. All of these things I was told as a child.

What I was taught, however, was what never exited between the teeth of my parents. What I was taught had nothing to do with what I was told. I was taught that women must be subjugated. I was taught that finances are none of a woman's business. I was taught that the only reason women exist are for sexual pleasure and for raising the natural result of the same. It was shown to me that women don't deserve respect, love, or kind words, neither do they have the right to independence, freedom of expression, or material desires. Women are chattel, to be owned and proudly displayed. All of these things I was taught as a child.

I don't love my parents. I have some fondness for my mother, and I pity her; my father has met his grandson exactly twice. The closest he could come to locating me is knowing that I live somewhere in a small town about 80 miles from him. I'm waiting for him to die so that I won't have to think about the repulsiveness of him being alive somewhere.

I wasn't taught how to respect people until I was nearly grown. I was 19, had been living away from my parents for three years, before I started learning how to treat people well. I have the greatest respect for my wife and place her needs above my own, except with regards to a serious long-term illness that I have. I defer to her judgment when she has more experience. I talk to her before making large purchases. I assist her in completing household chores. Sometimes, when I feel up to it, I clean up a very significant portion of her own chores before she gets home from work, just to see her cry in happiness.

I will never *tell* my son anything about how to treat a woman. I will *teach* him how to show respect, love, and appreciation. If there's one positive thing I learned from my father, it's that telling is not teaching.

By the way, I'm an old man speaking of ancient times. I'm 28.


Posted by Staff at 10:31 AM