Sometimes things hit you between the eyes.  That happened for me recently when I attended an event at the Stamford Yacht Club.  The observation happened as I was going to the restroom!

At first it was just something I noticed.  But then I realized how
this one thing could have big repercussions.

What I saw on the door struck me.  The sign read 'Gentlemen.'  That's not the word you typically see on a restroom door nowadays.  Usually there's just the plain word "men."  Or in other cases the iconic avatar of an amorphous male figure so that words aren't even needed.  No, the word here was  'gentlemen.' 
As soon as I saw it, I was struck by the notion that this was serving as a de facto reminder to us that we ARE gentlemen, and remind us to aspire to keep living up to it.   If you think signs like this don't matter, think of some specialty theme restaurants where they will use terms like cowboys or bulls for the men's-room door to help convey an image they want to instill.  They wouldn't be doing it if they didn't feel it would mean something to people visiting their restaurant.  Every sign you see can convey a message, no matter how imperceptibly or subliminally.

I thought how rare it is to get public reminders of the concept of gentlemanliness, and how differently many men might behave if they got more frequent reminders. 

I also thought about how this message could reach impressionable boys might also get the message, perhaps when their father brings them into the room at a young age, as well as during their formative years.   Maybe dad would tell his son about what it means to be a gentleman.  How different things might be! 

That's not to say every man's behavior would change -- some guys are not going to want to be gentlemanly for whatever reason matters to them.  But perhaps some guys who have fallen out of awareness and out of practice might get spurred on.   Wouldn't that be a positive result?
I went to check out the sign on the female restroom and sure enough, rather than 'women' it said 'Ladies.'  My feeling it that in the same way as gentlemen would for men, this could serve as a gentle reminder for women that there is value in aspiring to a higher standard of conduct and feeling worthy of being offered respect. 
Women don't have to accept boorish behavior by some men just because that's how some men choose to act.  The same goes for vulgar song lyrics about women (sometimes I'm astonished) just because the radios and clubs want to play them.  Taking that more empowered approach is very ladylike to me.  

The same way 'gentlemen' would be a good reminder for boys, 'ladies' could also remind young girls of the message that they deserve to have self-respect and standards of how they deserve to be treated.  And not feel like they have to be loose simply because lots of boys are pushing them to be.

If you ask me, something as simple as changing the words on the outside of our restrooms to the words 'ladies' and 'gentlemen' would promote an underlying message that would end up having a more positive impact for lots of girls and boys, women and men.  What do you think?


© 2014, John Rasiej, Bring Chivalry Back

If you would like to reprint this article, you may reprint it only in its entirety, include the photo and the following attribution:
John Rasiej is a Chivalry and Relationship Expert who founded Bring Chivalry Back™ for the purpose of enhancing the quality and enjoyment of relationships by men and women. He rediscovered the value of chivalry several years ago and has been practicing it both in his marriage of 23 years as well as when he's been among groups made up largely of women. Chivalry and similar gestures resulted in a more satisfying marital relationship and life, and also helped him stand out to many women in those group.He now shares the value of chivalry with more men and couples so they too can have happier results. You can follow him and get a special report how to deepen relationships and attract a woman's admiration at BringChivalryBack.com.  You can follow him on twitter at @YesToChivalry
 


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05/11/2016 3:38pm

Yes I will raise my hand in the favor of this question that two simple signs can change the world. Gentleman itself is a kind word that helps you to define your attitude towards others.

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