I may sound old-fashioned, but I want to think all women should be treated like I want my wife, daughters, and granddaughters to be treated. I notice today that good manners—like standing up when a woman enters the room, helping a woman with her coat, letting her enter an elevator first, taking her arm to cross the street—are sometimes considered unnecessary or a throwback. These are habits I could never break, nor would I want to. I realize today a lot more women are taking care of themselves than in the past, but no woman is offended by politeness. Frank Sinatra
When entering someones home, gate or business the common practice here is to ask “permiso” which is permission to enter. The response would be “pase” which means pass or enter. This extends to asking permission to walk on the porch and again asking permission to come into the house. Just walking into someone’s personal space would be considered rude. I even ask Estrella for permission to enter her tienda because people are not allowed behind the counter, but she allows me because I don’t always know what to ask for. We have seen this practice in Panama as well as the cities we have visited here in Ecuador. It shows a person has manners and is a nicety that we need to keep in this culture.
In our case we have a very old wood and bamboo gate that we have repaired several times since moving in. This has caused it to stick and makes it very difficult for the gate to swing into our drive easily. The gate has a lock that we wind around the two sections to hold it securely. Most days I do not unlock it because I do not want folks to try to open it without my help. Most actually try to pull it out not push it in which just breaks it a little more. One day when we go to renovate the walls around the house we will also replace the gate but until that time this one has to last.
I like when a man opens the door for me, when I am allowed to walk first through a doorway with a firm hand on my back assisting me, I love when Joe extends his arm and we walk down the beach. I love these small graces and appreciate anyone who would show those small kindnesses to others. I have been offered seats on the bus when a man has moved for me to sit, assistance climbing the stairs as well as help getting down from the bus. This culture shows extreme respect to older people, the handicapped, women of any age and children. I feel that most of the world has lost a bit of their humanity when they lost their manners. I for one would like to see their return.