Gone But Not Forgotten

I was homeschooled until high school. Insert a joke about being Amish and/or inbred here.

Homeschooling had its perks: lots of cross country trips to Gettysburg and Washington D.C. and lots of flexibility to read, study, and write. Homeschooling also had its downfalls, however, and I feel like those affected me more acutely than others. Homeschooling left me extremely naïve and socially inept when I entered high school.

When I was at home decorating VHS tape recordings of George W. Bush's inauguration with handmade patriotic stickers, my peers were having sleepovers and hanging out at the mall.

When I was crying over a black and white Cary Grant romance, my peers were watching things like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and the Fresh Prince of Bel Air.

When I wore a scrunchie, a Winnie the Pooh t-shirt, a long jean skirt, and some sort of horrible clog to school on dress down days, my peers were sporting Juicy suits, North Face jackets and True Religion premium denim jeans.

While all these revelations came as great shocks to me as I entered "the real world," one thing shocked me the most.

My lack of cable television prevented most exposure to the outside world. Instead of tuning into MTV on weekends, I would watch classics starring famous men of days gone by, like Cary Grant, Jimmy Stewart, William Holden, Spencer Tracey and Clark Gable.

I grew up thinking that every man was a gentleman. I thought that it was natural for doors to be opened, chairs to be pulled out, and chivalry to be a standard practice.

Did I ever have that one wrong.

While I must have known as a young girl that when I was old enough to date, not all men would ravish me with compliments and fling themselves in front of bullets for me or ask politely for a goodnight kiss, I was in for the shock of a lifetime when I started dating.

While men used to be polite, courteous gentlemen with girls they were interested in, now all girls have to look forward to is a whistle, a "Hey shortie," or a smack on the ass.

Last year, I went on a date with a 28 year old. Considering his age, I thought that he would be versed in dating etiquette.

After showing up about twenty minutes late, he proceeded to seat himself without so much as offering to pull my chair out. He then ordered first and spent the rest of the date checking his Blackberry and bragging about his long list of accomplishments and qualities.

When the bill came, I made an offer to pick up the tab, as it is the polite thing to do even if you don't really expect the other person to make you pay. Without a moment of hesitation, my date readily accepted my offer and reminded me to tip well.

As I drove away from my date from hell, I received a phone call from prince charming himself, who asked me, and I quote, "I know that you probably had the most amazing time of your life on this date. But if later tonight you are thinking about writing on my Facebook wall that you really like me, and that you want to have sex with me or go out with me again, please send it to me in an inbox instead so my girlfriend doesn't find out."

I'm not asking to be treated like a princess. I don't need to be constantly swept off my feet and I am strong enough to open my own car door. However, it's the simple gesture of offering to pay for dinner or saying something nice to a girl that doesn't involve the words "titties" or "ass" that goes a long way.

A few weeks ago, my best friend and I were standing outside of Blue Monk one night when the bar happened to be full to capacity. A group of older men in front of us in line began talking to us and showing us pictures of their kids as we waited in the cold.

One by one the bouncers started letting people in, they motioned for my friend and me to go ahead, telling us that "chivalry isn't dead."

Maybe it isn't dead. Maybe I just need to widen my horizons and start dating senior citizens.

Quite possibly, though, girls are just as much to blame as boys are. For as many times as a guy has slapped my butt while I was out, I've rarely ever slapped him back or said anything. When you don't make an effort to treat a boy like a gentleman, he probably isn't too inclined to treat a girl like a lady.

I guess the moral of the story is, men, act like gentlemen, and parents, don't homeschool your kids.

E-mail: amanda.jonas@ubspectrum.com