Bad Romance — Continued from Last Week

If you recall, last Friday, I accompanied a friend to a court-hearing regarding the restraining order she filed against her ex. Riveting stuff, actually. The courtroom is split—half waiting room, half hearing room. Everybody waits on benches for their cases to be called. Everybody has an audience, and I got to watch these no-more-than-twenty-minute windows of people’s lives.

But the one thing that struck me the most was the set of waist-high swinging doors separating the waiting room from the hearing room. And if there’s one thing I took away from Friday’s hearing, it was this: If you want to make a man a gentleman, take him to court. If there’s one sure way to get a man to hold a door open for you, it’s serving him with legal action. Each time the judge called forward a new case, the man in question didn’t hesitate to demonstrate his chivalrous ability to hold the door open for the woman who accused him, as though this single act of due respect undoes the multitude of offenses against this woman that drove her to take him to court in the first place. Yet this pattern persisted, case after case.

Defendant after defendant, obligingly holding the door open for his accuser, passive-aggressively attempting to invalidate her claims against him, to no avail. Please note: men take women to court, too, and men take men to court, and women take women to court. It just so happened that the handful of cases I observed were women taking men to court. But let it be said that any woman who takes a man to court is liable to witness a most chivalrous display. Let it also be noted that in a set of two swinging doors, if the man accused is holding one door open for his accuser, she is sure to enter/exit through the other door.

Sometimes, all it takes to get the respect that you deserve is getting someone served. (However, legal action should only be used as a last resort, when necessary.)