Reciting the Riot Act: Was I wrong to hold open the door for a date who said she could do it herself?

Q: I drove 95 miles to San Francisco for a first date with a very educated, successful woman. When I reached to open the door to the nightclub where we were to have a drink, she preceded to “read me the Riot Act” about how she was an independent woman and could open her own doors.  This went on for about 30 to 45 seconds while I was still holding the door open and with other customers going in and out of the club staring at her tirade.  When she was done, I asked if she had anything else to say and she said no.  I was still holding the door open so she turned and walked in without saying thank you.  I look at her through the open door and then let the door shut and went back to my vehicle.  It took her about 45 to 60 seconds to realize that I wasn’t behind her and she came out into the parking lot looking for me.  She came to the my driver’s side window and asked where I was going.  I replied, “I came here expecting to meet a woman who appreciated being treated like a lady.  In this case, I made an error in judgement so I am going home.  If you ever want to contact me you have my cell number.”  I left and drove the 95 miles back home laughing all the way.  I never heard from her again.  Was what she did acceptable?



A: Her tirade certainly gave you an indication of how the rest of the night was going to go, as well as the opportunity to move along.  Her behavior was unnecessarily abusive.  It is fine to have feelings of independence, but it is not fine to take someone to task in public when all he is trying to do is be polite and thoughtful.  She was wrong.  Your departure most likely pointed this out to her.


  1. Alicia

    If you stranded her without transportation that was uncalled for. If she had her own car things are severe reaction but acceptable

  2. Amanda

    Wow. She may have gone off the handle with her rant, but based on the way you’ve phrased this question I’m going to guess that she’d reached a condescension tipping point over the course of the evening. Your behavior was far, far, FAR more rude than her outburst. “Expecting to meet a woman who appreciated being treated like a lady” – every time someone has used that phrase with me it’s been an overbearing, misogynistic, entitled jerk.

  3. Lilli

    I think you were right to end the date, and considering she went on about being independent I would expect that she could find her way home even if you had driven her to the nightclub (although it’s still not very nice to leave her stranded). I think saying that you were “expecting to meet a woman who appreciated being treated like a lady” was unnecessary, rude, and implies that there is one correct way to treat a “lady” even if the particular woman in question disagrees. How she likes to be treated has no bearing on the issue, YOU should want to be treated with respect and since she was unable to do that you were free to leave.

  4. Noah

    This story is totally made up. There is no way that he got a parking spot right in front of a nightclub in San Francisco.

    My guess is that the story was created so the LW could state, in a manner he thought would be attention-grabbing, his distaste for women who don’t like a man holding the door for them.

  5. Vanna Keiler

    I agree with the EPI response to this question. This is a strange situation to find oneself in. There really is no tactful way to handle an explosive situation in a public setting, except to remove oneself from it quickly, to ensure one does not contribute to the situation getting any worse, especially with someone who is essentially a stranger. On a social level, I can see how her outburst would be extremely frightening for a “blind date” scenario, and would cause many of us to be wary of continuing in the company of this volatile individual. She was as much being observed and judged by him as he was by her, which she seemed to forget until he walked away from it. And he was certainly not obligated to respond to her in the parking lot if he felt it could create even more escalation of the situation. I think his actions were perfectly reasonable under the circumstances.

  6. Nina

    I thought everyone knew that the polite way for a lady to let a gentleman know she doesn’t want doors opened for her is start opening them for him! Then it’s still a kind gesture, but inverted–and if she’s already got the door open, he can’t do it for her!

    • Vanna Keiler

      Yes Nina, that would be the presumptively sane and polite course of action. However, it appears this option was never exercised by the gal: she chose to chew him out instead, with relish! :)

      If one feels rebuffed enough after an assault like that to simply walk away, I do not feel it is indicative of a social faux-pas on his part, but rather tact and haste, since this individual is exhibiting unrestrained behavior in public. I ask: why should anyone be expected to stick around for a second helping of “Riot Act: Part Deux”?.

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