Why has society created such a thin line between politeness/chivalry and flirting??
A young student
Many years ago, my father owned a company that imported laminated flooring. Sometimes on busy days, I would try to earn extra pocket money and assist in the business whenever I could. I was a student at the age of 18. There was an older man about as old as my dad with children my age, who was one of our biggest clients. Often when the other salespeople were busy I used to assist him to choose colors for many of his projects as a contractor.
Happy Birthday to me!
On my 21st birthday, my parents were overseas. I was in the store assisting my older brother. It was such a pity to be working on my birthday but I knew nobody in this city at the time to celebrate with, not that my family was ever big on celebrating birthdays. So naturally, when I received the most beautiful bouquet of pink orchids, I was delighted.
There was no name on the card attached to it. Assuming that it was from my parents, I rushed to see what was written inside, in excitement. Mortified and completely embarrassed, I stood rooted to the spot. My older brother snatched the card from my trembling fingers. We investigated and tried calling the florist to find out the details of the sender.
Are you intrigued yet? Read on to find out who it was and why my brother became livid with anger.
I believe that there is a tremendous amount of wisdom in the cliche, “learn to read between the lines!” Many people both male and female lack communication and understanding and this leads to so much of problems. Often kindness is misread for something different. Let’s face it, in this harsh world, kindness is rare. So when someone is being nice, it is often viewed as flirting. (Scroll down for self- development tips and tricks.)
Price of politeness
Recently a Twitter friend mentioned that chivalry comes with a price. I had the words ready on the tip of my tongue to retaliate but I held myself back. As women, this is what we face daily. The worst combination to possess as a woman or man who is attractive and decent is a positive, polite and friendly attitude. Why? Because this behavior is often misconstrued.
I wanted to tell the twitter friend, do you know what it feels like to be a woman? I wanted to tell him about the billions of times when my kindness and me being polite became a license to be hit on by men.
So in very simple terms, I will discuss certain issues that I find many are facing at the moment but these are the things nobody discusses. Fair enough, there are millions of women out there and men who love the attention from the opposite sex or even the same sex and view any interaction as an opportunity to have fun.
Promiscuity is rife and standards are low
The world is bombarded with free skin and promiscuity. Phrasing it very crudely, I would say the easiest thing these days is getting laid. Standards have dropped. So when someone is polite, it is automatically viewed as a come on by those who are used to such despicable behavior.
My mother’s advice
As a young girl, my mother taught me that one smile is all it takes for men to jump to the wrong conclusion. Being a friendly spirited young girl, I thought: “Geez mama, what are you talking about?” Emotional maturity came late to that tomboy. I really truly did not get what she meant. I did not know how boys and men think back then but now I do. As women, we are born with natural instincts that guide us. The key is to listen to your gut. When warning bells go off in your head about someone, go with it, trust your natural instincts. A woman automatically realizes who she is safe with and who is not safe to be around. This instinct needs to be honed in.
Drawing the line
Kindness and being polite has always been a part of my lifestyle. So the good question is where does one draw the line? How does one spot the difference between flirting and chivalry or kindness? Should you be selective about who you are friendly and kind to?
- Keep the communication very simple.
- Don’t get personal
- Be polite but don’t say anything that doesn’t sound good to your own ears.
- Don’t make eye contact, look at the space just above the eyebrows when you speak to them.
- Watch your body language by keeping within your space physically.
- Practice not smiling and don’t show your teeth too much or laugh at anything they say especially if it makes you uncomfortable.
- Do the bare minimum to show politeness but be careful about oversharing,
Curiosity killed the cat
To satisfy your curiosity, I will inform you who the flowers were from and why my brother got so upset. The flowers were from that contractor old enough to be my father. Along with a ” Happy Birthday!” was a crude message scribbled in the card attached to the flowers which literally made me cringe out of disgust. Don’t you worry though, my brother dealt with that lecherous old man in the best possible way? I am sure that there are many conservative people who can relate to these issues too.
I certainly hope that my tips will assist you to overcome the above-mentioned issues. Have you ever been in a similar situation? How do you communicate with the opposite sex to avoid this? As Muslim women and men, how do you deal with forward people? Please feel free to comment and add your views about this post.