@Shoelip Here is a good (understandable) article (IMO) on the definition of the word:
Google is your Friend and Overlo- um… continuing on.
@Canisa Yea, I’ve known women (and men) who’ve flat out said it’s okay for women to hit men, but not the other way (facepalm worth, at the very least). It’s not helpful that fighting is, essentially, one of the most time honored ways of men (and women, though to a noticeably lesser degree of both prevalence and common societal acceptance) to work out their aggression and settle arguments, and isn’t going to go away any time soon. Most (if not all) of my best friends I’ve traded a few punches with, and I am by no means unusual in that regard.
It also doesn’t help that ‘don’t ask for help’ is still a fairly commonly accepted social expectation men (or boys trying to become men) have to contend with while trying to puzzle such things out.
Personally, I end up adapting myself to (what I think are) the expectations of the person I’m dealing with. If I think the woman expects to be treated slightly different, (chair pulled out, door opened, ect.) I try to do so. If I think she expects me to not, I don’t. (My social anxiety, surprisingly, seems to help in this regard, as I’m constantly looking for cues as to what’s expected.) As for fighting, I never start a fight, but I never back down from one. Gender is no issue there for me.
As for what I’d personally recommend? If you’re in a normal setting, hold a door only if you’re going though yourself and releasing it would basically be closing it on someone’s face. To men specifically, if you’re going somewhere with a woman, and it’s business related, do not under any circumstances treat her at all differently than you would a man. If it’s a date, do the open the door/pull out the chair thing unless she seems to indicate otherwise. However, do it only if you can be subtle about it. Don’t step in front of her to open the door and don’t try to pull out her chair if she’s already reaching for it. That’s just rude.
As for paying, I’ve always heard that now it’s expected that whoever does the inviting also does the paying. However, I’d recommend everyone always carry more than what you’d expect to spend if you end up having to pay for everything.
@JimD I end up always holding doors for disabled people, but that’s mostly a habit from having two disabled parents (although I only ever went somewhere with my mother as my step-father was bedridden). I never got the whole thing with why people treating the physically disabled as though they are mentally disabled (although I’ve never really seen it happen as my mother’s always been a very boisterous person, and it’s practically impossible to ignore her in such a way). Sometimes though, it’s difficult to tell what to do, and a faux pas is, well, understandable. I remember talking to my best friend’s uncle. He’s unable to use one of his arms (I just know it’s from a motorcycle injury), and keeps it in a sling. I don’t know what brought it up (I think he brought it up because I didn’t say anything about it at all, which, I guess, is unusual), but he mentioned that people often times say “I hope you get better” thinking that it’s from a recent injury or something, and then become uncomfortable when he doesn’t ‘get better’. Strange how saying what feels like a small, common nicety can end up being so… awkward? (I can’t think of a good word to describe that.)
Also it’s a fucking pet peeve of mine that people on the bus in the reserved seats never seem to get up until the bus driver has to come up and tell them to move. Seriously, if you see a wheelchair coming onto the bus, and you’re sitting in the one place where it goes, why do you need to be told to get up? (Also, I hate foot injuries. My mom’s run my foot over I don’t know how many times with her chair, and that’s probably a quarter-ton with her in it.)
If you don’t mind me asking, what’s your opinion on something like Katawa Shoujo (http://katawa-shoujo.com/)? I mean that question both conceptually, and in execution (if you’ve looked at it at all). Personally I loved Hanako’s route (where, to get the best ending, you had to realize that ‘it’s not about you’.)