Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Elevator Behavior Matters to Most Women!

This past weekend I was at my home-away-from-home. Well, I guess my second home-away-from-home because Asheville would be first. But Vail runs a close second.  We've joined a club in Vail allowing us easy access on and off the slopes with all of our equipment, a place to eat and rest, and a place to store everything during the off-season.  It's a nice club and seems to have very nice and polite people who have joined from all over the country.  The club has rules as any club does - no cell phones, respect people around you by not talking too loudly - they even have fur-lined Crocs to put on when you take off your ski boots because they don't want people walking around in their socks (that have been in their ski boots all day!)  The rules and the people seem so courteous to me that I could not believe the lack of thoughtful consideration when people were on the elevator!  But sometimes what you expect and teach your family is not what other people do.  I thought I would tell you the "Elevator Rules" we've agreed to as a family (grandma and grandpa have helped us come up with and teach these rules to our boys as well.)

Let me begin by explaining the elevator in question.  There is just one elevator that goes between two floors in the club.  If you want to get down to the locker room, you must ride the elevator from the main floor down.  Likewise, you must ride it back up again to the main floor.  I carefully watched my boys this weekend to see if they were following what I've taught them is "proper elevator exiting".  I know that this is not exactly what the Emily Post people teach these days - there is a lot of gender neutrality people have to worry about and the Emily Post people say that in these modern days, the person closest to the door exits first.  But I was brought up, and I am bringing my boys up (including my husband), to follow the old-school ways because it shows courtesy and consideration.

Our Family Elevator Rules:
First, wait for the people IN the elevator to exit - which means don't block the door when the elevator door opens because most likely people need to get out - and you should allow them to do that instead of  pushing your way in first.  Then, if the elevator looks like it is going to be crowded, the first people in line to enter the elevator should obviously go in.  But if it looks like there will be plenty of room in the elevator it is a kind gesture for a male to say, "After you" and let the females enter first.

Secondly, when we exit the elevator we've taught our boys "The Exit Order."  My sons know that this means they are pretty much at the bottom of the totem pole, but they see how kindly people look at them and appreciate their good manners - and it makes them feel good - I've never heard them complain.  It has become second nature to them.  The Exit Order:
1) An elderly or handicapped person should be allowed off the elevator first.
2)  Then allow any woman of any age off the elevator - it is kind for younger girls to allow older women to go ahead of them.
3) Then older gentleman exit.
4) Finally young men exit.

Whenever a man lets me exit first I always make sure to say, "thank you" so that he hears me. Nothing helps more than to reinforce those good manners! :)  And when it's a young man, I say, "What nice manners you have. Thank you."

That didn't happen at all this past weekend except the times I was in the elevator alone with my Dad, husband, or boys.  And one other time, a very nice gentleman let me off first.  Only once all weekend!  The rest of my visit - over four days in and out of that elevator -  men, whom you think would know better, just walked off without any acknowledgement.

Yes, it's old school. But to me, it's a matter of common courtesy and respect that underlies all manners - I do think most women like to be treated with this kind of elevator courtesy. And, men, if you're worried that you might offend a woman with this chivalrous behavior, you can extend the offer and say, "After you."  If she insists that you go first, then you should go ahead and exit.

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