On Words of Wisdom from My Grandfather

I just wanted to jot down a humorous-but-salient bit of commentary my 92-year-old grandfather passed along this afternoon. We were discussing the lamentable fact that many young women these days are too willing to settle for boyfriends or husbands who, to put it politely, lack the desirable qualities one might seek in a long-term mate. In impolite terms, this is what I have described as the rise of bitch and jackass culture.

Here was his colorful reply:

"I gotta think a fellow with shiny shoes and a convertible has a little more going for him than some fool peddling a rickety old bicycle down the street."

The statement reflects his Depression-era values, of course, as well as a time when young men would actually dress up and polish their best shoes to impress a young woman. These days young men do not have to make much of an impression, either for the young women or their parents. While some might cheer at the concurrent emancipation of women, I do not think that expecting young women to be treated well is a mutually exclusive proposition with equality.

Heck, even in my heyday of wooing young women way back in the distant 1980s one still had to spring for dinner at a quality restaurant now and then, and putting on at least a shirt and tie was de rigueur to make a good impression with a girl's parents.

This was not patriarchy or oppressive chauvinism - it was good manners and common sense.