Thoughts on The Bus (About Men)

Hi Readers — On the bus going across town today my husband and I sat behind a girl of about 13. No one sat next to her, even though a couple of folks were standing. This reminded me of my long-ago trip to Turkey. When I was there  in the 1980s, at least, men were not allowed to take an empty seat next to a woman.

I don’t know if this was law or custom, but the thinking seemed to be that men are too rude, easily excited or perverse  to sit next to women. In other words: Their entire gender is guilty, or at least gross. And I worry that that’s the direction we’re headed now, too. Except instead of worrying for our womenfolk, we worry for our kids.

Lately I have been hearing so many stories of people afraid of ANY men around their kids: Moms who won’t let their 9-year-olds use the men’s bathroom. Parents who won’t let their daughter be the first or last kid on the school bus, because the driver is a male (and God knows what could happen)! Even a parent who pulled her kid out of a pre-school class taught by a male teacher — because why would any man want to help  kids for any decent reason? (For the record, my younger son had a male pre-school teacher — gay, even — who was the best ever!)

Last week I heard a horrible story from a mom — call her Ellen — whose own sister won’t let her son be around Ellen’s husband, ever. Why not? The sisters live several states apart, but on one visit Ellen’s husband taught this boy, his nephew, how to make shelves and then gave him some tools. A few years later the uncle saw his nephew again and wrestled with him. This was enough for the sister to assume he was  “grooming” her son for a sexual relationship and now all bets are off.

So are all family visits. 

Let us reiterate something here: Most people — male and female — are good. Prejudice is not. Do we want to become a country where we forbid men from sitting next to kids on buses? As one reader wrote so brilliantly to this blog: “being around kids while male” is the new “driving while black.”

I’m starting to feel bad for men. And kids. — Lenore

49 Responses

  1. My favorite teacher ever was Mr. Campbell in third grade. My mom still speaks of him in reverent tones because he was the one teacher who managed to bring my very, very shy self out of shell.

    I admit I was thrilled 5 years ago when my sister ran into him right before his retirement party and he remembered me from 35 years ago.

    Believe it or not, nothing indecent happened the entire 9 months I was in his class.

  2. That grooming idea makes me utterly sad… How horrible for Ellen.

    My son’s best teacher (in public school) was his male first grade teacher. Everyone wanted him!

  3. I was abused by men, but I also had incredible mentors who happened to be men, and who pulled me out of some very bad places. I’m saddened that some kids won’t have the chance to develop those kinds of relationships.

  4. I (male) was also abused by men, but like the vast majority of us, it was by men I knew – not strangers. There may or may not be a genetic or biological difference which leads men to be more predatory or abusive, or perhaps it’s just a result of our overwhelming dominance in the social sphere. Regardless, such overbearing protection from STRANGE men is ridiculous. Most vulnerable children need protection from the men in their lives, not strangers.

  5. This situation with “save the children from men” is worrying to me simply because I want to teach. If I have any interactions with children, I, and any male teacher around, could be in serious risk of jail time simply because someone thinks we’re a “danger”. I’m hoping the hysteria hasn’t hit Korea whenever I get my teaching contract there.

  6. As a kid, from about age 12-14, I had a once-a-week paper route. One of the houses I delivered to was occupied by a man in his 40s. In retrospect, rather a social misfit, for whatever reason(s), I have no idea. Every day when I’d deliver his paper, he’d talk to me (and I to him), maybe for 30 minutes. Outside his house. Once he did invite me in and offer me a cookie (which I accepted) and then he said (quite seriously), “Oh! Don’t take cookies from strangers!” Mixed messages, anyone? I did take the cookie. He never (give or take offering me a cookie?) did anything in the least bit inappropriate.

    It was an odd relationship, but one I enjoyed, and not a dangerous one. My mother knew about it. It’s sad to think that this would be impossible today. On the other hand, I don’t know how I’d feel about it, were that my kid.

  7. Not sitting next to a woman or girl on a bus is chivalry as old as the ages. Some things are done out of respect not fear.

    With how the media pushes on a sexual message, and at an earlier and earlier age most people have no clue how to be relational without it being sexual. Maybe right now chivalrous things are happening out of fear not respect. We will teach our children who will do it out of habit. Their children will question the norms and push the limits.

  8. my favorite teachers were men, and if one of my bros-in-law wants to involve himself in my son’s life as a positive male influence (building stuff, canoeing, wrestling- you know, traditional manly behavior) then i say more power to him! it would never occur to me that they might be predators of any sort, just that they love my kid because we’re a family and want to build memories and a relationship. “ellen’s” sister obviously has some deeper issues.

    as for the bus thing, can anyone find a news story about molestation on a public bus? what are the odds? one shout from the kid and someone will whip out a cell phone and the police will be waiting at the next bus stop.

  9. Of my top 3 favorite K-12 teachers, 2 were men. Neither did anything inappropriate. I’ve often thought of a nice old man who lived in my childhood neighborhood. I think he was a widower. When we kids would walk home, he’d hang by his fence, talk to us, and give us fruit from his trees. Nowadays someone would probably call the police. Sad.

  10. We have a substitute instructor at our daycare, a young guy of about 21. My wife and I look at him sideways all the time. Our fault, not his.

    You out me on my subtle prejudices and make challenge my beliefs all the time… thanks again.

  11. “Not sitting next to a woman or girl on a bus is chivalry as old as the ages. Some things are done out of respect not fear.”

    Nonsense. Buses aren’t that old, and both men and women sit next to me on the bus all the time. The empty seat next to me has nothing to do with respect.

  12. The thing about 13 year old girls in public is that they often are the object of sexual harassment. As a young teen, the only time I was approached by men in public was when they would hit on me, and because of that I would have been incredibly uncomfortable should any man sit by me on the bus. While most men aren’t child rapists, a sizeable minority of them (maybe majority?) engage in street harassment.

  13. As a prime-of-life male bus rider who is perfectly capable of standing for my short ride, I make a point of not sitting down when riding alone if there’s any crowd on the bus at all. Most people feel awkward if I give up my seat for them, but they’re perfectly happy to sit down in an open seat if I’m already standing.

  14. Pretty sad when we’re getting to the point that men are good for making babies, but we don’t trust them to help raise them.

    Seems we are just dying to have a society of single mothers bringing up children – it’s safer that way, right? *eye roll*

  15. When I was in college (not too long ago), I started out pursuing a major in education. As part of this, I completed my student teaching in a pre-Kindergarten classroom and a 5th grade classroom. I taught in a fairly low-income area, and in many cases I was the only male role model that my students had.

    The only problem was, many parents did not react well to having a younger male teaching their children. Specifically, a younger male who wore leather jackets and sunglasses and smoked cigarettes. I was being judged not only on my gender, but also on my appearance and personal lifestyle choices. Regardless of the fact that I had the best intentions of the children at heart, parents would not trust me with their children. Because of this, I decided to drop my education major and pursue a degree in playwriting instead.

    It makes me really sad…I really want to improve and enrich the lives of the next generation. But if the parents won’t trust me around their children simply because I’m a man…well, it’s not only their loss, but the loss of the children as well.

  16. When our oldest child, now 14, was about 9 years old I was called in for a parent teacher meeting. That is no typo, only I was requested for the meeting.
    Upon arriving at the main office I signed in and the receptionist called the teacher to tell her “Patricia’s mother and her FRIEND are here, would you like a security guard to escort them back? No, HE refuses to stay here in the office.”

    My FRIEND? They wouldn’t refer to him as my husband, or my child’s FATHER but because “Six foot tall potentially violent beast with a penis” is offensive and might upset someone, they called him my Friend.

    During the entire conference the teacher (female in case you were wondering) refused to speak to my husband, wouldn’t even look in his direction.

    We deliberately moved to the other side of town to get our children out of that school. Since that time, we either both go to conferences or HE goes. There have been a few times when teachers have made the assumption that we are divorced, or that I am flat out a lazy parent, until he explained to them about how he is treated or neglected as a parent.

    So many people complain about absent fathers, that I don’t think it ever occurs to them that this absurd fear of males that they have pushed fathers so far into the background that many don’t feel they have the right to be involved, or that if they push too hard to be involved that every one will think they are a pervert.

    On a parenting forum I used to belong to a few of the mothers refused to allow their husbands, the men they love and trust with their lives supposedly, bathe their daughters, change their diapers and one even refuses to allow her husband alone in the house with their 12 year old daughter. Why? Because, in her words, “ALL men have the potential for rape. Why tempt them?”

    So much for innocent until proven guilty.

  17. I’m reminded of one woman who wrote that any man, if he thought he could get away with it, would rape a woman. Reading that made me furious. I have women in my life that I love dearly, and I am truly fortunate to know them. They are a constant source of joy. The thought that I could ever hurt them is offensive beyond words.

    These days, all men are seen as crude, stupid brutes who are selfish and incapable of fellow feeling. I am a man, and yet I enjoy classical music. I love art, especially the sculpture of Rodin(also a man). I am absolutely head over heals in love with the works of Shakespeare. I am not a brute, and I would never hurt a woman in my life. If I do so, may god strike me down. I would have earned it.

  18. My 13yo daughter has six classes a day at middle school. ONE of her teachers is a woman. All the rest are men – one of them teaches TWO of her classes. They range from the oxford-button-down shirt wearing men to the long hair hippie type (he’s the home ec teacher!) And every one of them has been *awesome* for my daughter.

    Last year in the elementary school my two youngest attend, there was a very popular (and tall!) male substitute – he was pretty cute when he subbed for second grade with all these little 8 year olds around him! And this year we have a male fourth grade teacher. No one seems (that I can tell) to be disturbed by this, so I hope this prejudice is fading away.

    The last handful of teacher/student sexual issues in my area have been *women* targeting the young teen boys. So really folks, it does swing both ways, if it’s going to happen at all.

    I agree. Men are getting a bad rap.

  19. I just had a great evening at the park with my son, which included helping a 5 year old get her 2 year old sister out of a baby swing. Mom was busy with other kids. I shouted out a quick “can I give her a hand” and mom thanked me and went back to what she was doing, turning her back on an adult male as he lifted her daughter out of a swing.

    It may seem trivial, but more often than not ‘mom’ doesn’t want the help.

    When I was 8 I lived with my mother in a rented room in a house full of gay men. Although it was years later that my mom mentioned the gay part. At the time I had no concept. The man down the hall was just the nice guy with the legos who taught me how to play chess.

  20. @Jeremy it sure depends on your audience. I do sit down first and then give up my seat because only then
    I can make sure that the seat goes to someone who needs it instead of an impolite and thoughtless person.

  21. “How horrible for Ellen.”

    Not only that, how horrible for Ellen’s nephew! Imagine being a kid, and every time there’s a healthy, positive male influence in your life, you’re forbidden from going anywhere near the poor guy. That’s gonna create some issues down the track.

    “On a parenting forum I used to belong to a few of the mothers refused to allow their husbands, the men they love and trust with their lives supposedly, bathe their daughters, change their diapers and one even refuses to allow her husband alone in the house with their 12 year old daughter. Why? Because, in her words, “ALL men have the potential for rape. Why tempt them?” ”

    Good grief! How could these men even stay married to such…oh, I can’t possibly use the word I’m thinking of here…such creatures, shall we say?

  22. A study was done once with a hidden camera. In an open air eating space (the terrace of a fast food place or some such) they left, on purpose, a coat and a umbrella on a seat as if that seat was occupied with the owner of the coat just left for a few minutes and would come back any minute. They filmed that place for a few hours. Even when the place was crowded, and even when it became clear that the owner of the coat just didn’t come back, nobody sat at that table. Nobody moved the coat and brollie to make place for themselves. Why? Because these were all strangers in a place not their own occupying ‘public space’. That makes each of us hesitant to intrude in other people’s space, even when they are not there. That coat and umbrella had ‘marked’ that space, and people respected that. Having to share a space not our own with strangers for a finite amount of time has unwritten rules, and ‘not invading personal space’ is one of them.
    The bus or the train are also public space which strangers have share for a finite amount of time. That’s why we all want a ‘double seat’, a whole bench for ourselves alone. Not just because it’s more space for us, but because we don’t want to intrude on personal space if at all possible. With all respect, but if I, a grown woman, go by public transport, and I sit in a bench and a man comes and sits next to me when there are many whole benches unoccupied, I slot him as a pervert.

    Sometimes it isn’t possible to have a whole bench for oneself, and then other rules kick in. When all the benches have one or two occupants, I, as a woman, usually try to sit next to a woman if at all possible, but if that’s not possible I’m not put out or something. It’s one of those old hardwired rules that when in a strange environment surrounded by strangers, one automatically seeks out one’s own gender. Besides, women sit ‘neatly’ whilst men tend to sit ‘spread-eagled’ so you have to wedge and scrunch to sit down 🙂
    (I once asked a male friend why men tend to sit with their legs wide in public transport, nearly taking the whole seat, and he answered that those males were probably members of a nudist club and had a meeting that night and so set curlers. Curlers are prickly, so they *had* to sit that way. I laughed so hard… and it saves my temper as well, because now, whenever I see a man sitting so spread out during rushhour when space is at a premium, I just shake my head and think ‘poor boy, those curlers must be a nightmare’)

    So yes, I think it pretty normal for women to prefer to sit next to another woman in public transport, and that a man who goes and sit next to a women whilst there are many whole benches available is questionable (that happened to me, you know – a whole train cubicle completely empty but for me, a guy comes in and sits right next to me, put his coat on his lap and his hand under his coat and starts to… fondle my leg! Sad person. I upped and left, and reflected that I had anticipated this, since no sane person would sit next to some stranger when the whole cabin was empty and many seats available) But that doesn’t mean I think all men are sexual predators or that men and children can’t sit next to eachother on a commute! Quite the contrary, in fact. Children are by default non-sexual creatures in my world (that’s why I find American child beauty pageants so utterly weird as well as the muslim preoccupation with covering up the heads of seven year old little girls. With the first its about putting sexual signals such as make up on toddlers and with the other its covering up sexual signals such as hair on prepubescants. What does that say about a society, eh?) This means that it is never a problem for adult men or women to sit next to a child on public transport. A thirteen year old who travels alone? Well, since thirteen is no longer ‘a little child’ I guess she will get the same courtesy as any woman on the bus, that is, she will have the bench for herself until there are not enough benches to go around, then it’s everybody for themselves.

    So please don’t confuse common courtesy with some hysteric hatred of men. ‘Ellen’s sister is a nutcase. ‘Ellen’ should be glad to never see her sister again, because one nutcase can harm a family more than any amount of real perverts.

  23. I’m sad to hear about Ellen’s story. Her sister obviously has issues if she doesn’t trust her family enough. Unless the kid told her about something inappropriate, there’s no reason to be this distrusting.

    Regarding the whole bus thing. I think it’s common courtesy to not take a seat next to someone else unless the bus is particularly packed, but of course, doing so because of fear is ridiculous. As someone already said, in today’s age of technology, it’s pretty much impossible to get away with anything without someone taking out a cellphone and warning the cops.

  24. Hi Lenore, came upon your work mentioned in the “Weekend Australian” newspaper. Wrote my own blog entry on an element of the issue ie kids need ‘suffering’ and risk to grow. The question is, are we adults up to helping them negotiate both, or have we become a little ‘retarded’, a society that might kill itself by its own success with eradicating danger.

  25. Random,
    That was stupid on the schools part. I got yelled at by a family because our conference forms say I will be there I am not able to attend. They thought it should say we.

    Perspective is a strange thing. We are lucky if we can drag 1 parent to the required conference, we are over the moon if we get both, three, all 4 depending on the family situation.

    A few years ago we had a parent complain, because she witnessed our front office refuse to allow a father go to a teacher’s room, until the principal was available to escort him. The complainer was not a relative and didn’t know the father. Thankfully the district admin backed us on this particular incident. The father had a history of being physically threatening, but not actually harming teachers. Getting in their faces, banging fist on the table, knocking papers off the table, and backing a teacher up to the wall.

    Our admin ruled that there had to be 3 staff members present and 1 had to be a core team member for any meeting involving this father. Even if he was going to see a male teacher he had to have a core team member and another staff member present.

  26. Random: at our school, parents have to show up for a meeting with their child´s teacher every three months. Just to check the kid´s progress, you know. They actually set horrible timetables for teachers and facilitate childcare services for siblings just to guarantee BOTH parents will be present.

  27. I had a 5th grade male teacher who was a bigtime pervert, fondling, hugging, totally inappropriate behavior. But my 6th grade male teacher was a gem and I still think of him fondly; he had a huge, positive impact on my life. it’s all random, and you have to be careful, not hysterical.

  28. My partner is a spec ed teacher. He does intensive resource pullout programs and has his own classroom set up for this. If the child he’s working with does not have an educational aide he will not use his classroom, he takes these kids to the library instead. Just a wild accusation from a parent or a troubled kid (and there are those too!) would END his career, even if it was proven false. SCARY TIME to be a man!

  29. If all men are monsters than all women and children are victims, and that’s not a healthy state to be in, especially for a lifetime. Victims feel helpless, weak and fragile, that’s no way for a child to grow up, surrounded by “monsters” who are so much bigger and stronger than they are.

    We need to place ourselves on equal footing and not give men more power than they possess (for good or evil), while giving ourselves and our children the power to feel confident in assessing situations and people that could be dangerous or uncomfortable. Instead responding like a victim with a knee-jerk reaction of, “men=bad, runaway!”

  30. We visited a larger church in the Dallas area not long ago. One of the reasons I liked the special needs nursery so much was because they had a man in the nursery. Now, there was a woman as well because you don’t have one person with all those kids, far too much work and against state laws. But my boys are both going through their Daddy phase of childhood. So men, in general, are extra cool to them. Knowing how they freak out easily, there being a man there helped. I appreciated that men in the church were willing to step up and help care for our kids. My kids did better BECAUSE of the man in the room.

  31. My husband, who taught kindergarten Sunday School, is no longer allowed to help out with the preschoolers. At all. Why? A child fell down and hurt herself, and while comforting her he gave her a kiss. On the forehead. And apparently another parent saw this and assumed he was some sort of sicko. A month earlier he had a child in his class pass out napkins before snack and she went home and told her parents that she was the special helper in Mr. X’s class. They switched their child’s class. 99% percent of parents loved him, because of a couple of paranoid parents, and a church afraid of being sued, everyone is suffering. The kids come up to him and ask why he isn’t their teacher anymore. What is he supposed to say? The whole situation is ludricrous.

  32. Welcome to the new feminist society.

    Some airlines won’t permit male passengers to sit next to children on flights.

    Boys as young as 8 have been charged with “sexual harassment”.

    Fear for your sons.

  33. Kari, it’s great that there was a man helping with the kids at that church, and that the kids were so happy to have him there. That reflects my experience as a childcare worker years ago; the kids loved me being there, and I was constantly hearing from the other workers how much the kids loved having a man around, as well as how the parents loved seeing a man working there. If any parents did have a problem with having a man working with their children, I was never made aware of it.

    Shelly, I’m sorry to say but your husband did step over a boundary in giving that injured child a (perfectly innocent) kiss. That’s something you just can’t do when you’re working with kids. Yes, the parent overreacted, but a line has to be drawn somewhere, and I think that’s a pretty good place to draw it.

    Having a child removed from the class because she was a ‘special helper’, though, is patently ridiculous. Anyone who’s spent five minutes with a small child knows how much they love helping out.

  34. “Some airlines won’t permit male passengers to sit next to children on flights.”


    It’s ALL as far as I am aware.

  35. @ mjaybee: I’m sorry, but this is not a feminist issue! Feminists do not have some societal agenda to make all women and children into helpless victims.

  36. Thank goodness for our kindergarten which has a male student teacher. We happen to know him and I couldn’t think of a better role model for our three boys.

    Re: Turkish busses: From interactions with Turkish people here, I suspect it would be considered disrespectful for a man to sit next to a woman he hadn’t been introduced to, or to speak with her.

  37. I had lots of male teachers in high school. I liked all of them except one. My math teacher made me extremely uncomfortable. Every day he would make me go to the board and write problems, even though other kids raised their hands to do it and I never did. He would come into my study hall and tell that teacher that I needed extra time with him and I would be sent off with him. When he started tracking me down in the cafeteria I ran to another teacher for help. My male Italian teacher! I would spend study halls and lunch in his room. He would work at his desk and I would eat or read quietly at mine. Those were the only times I felt safe during the day. I feel bad that all men are getting a bad rap. Some of my greatest mentors have been men.

  38. How very sad for our society. How about instead of fearing men, we expect them to be men! Men are an important part of childrearing, believe me, as a single mom I know. They are the other half to the woman’s nurture, they teach our daughters what to expect in a man when it’s their turn to start a family, they teach our sons how to be men and provide and protect their own families. What kind of a message does it send that men should be feared? I’d rather have real men in the lives of our sons and daughters teaching them what’s appropriate, that way they will know what isn’t. We’ve got to stop letting the few ruin it for the masses.

  39. I had one of those teachers Mae Mae. Not so bad for me as a guy, but once discussing how wolves would not attack a female wolf in heat said “I guess you girls know when it’s safe to go into the woods”. Spent a lot of time peaking down girls’ shirts.

    He was also a young earth creationist and a biology teacher. Not that that has anything to do with it, but I always figured his strong religious convictions should have afforded him some better morals. Unfortunately I didn’t have the guts at the time to report him properly.

  40. It almost sounds to me like these women wish men didn’t exist. My own beautiful, intelligent son picked up on this when he was about 6 years old, and his feelings remain very hurt. He loves little children–he has sisters almost 3 years and 8 years younger than he is–but now that he’s a teen he’s noticing so many young moms looking at him with horror if he talks to their kids, and he knows way better than to ask to be allowed to babysit–even though he’s a terrific, conscientious babysitter.

    Ellen’s sister is, sadly, nuts. How else are boys to learn how to be good men, than to be taught how? They *aren’t* female, and emasculating them in any sense is cruel and short-sited. They’re not us. They have qualities and strengths we don’t. One reason my own son is not in a government school is that I don’t want him emasculated. As it is, he’s the kind, strong, athletic person he was made to be.

    Guys being guys with other guys, even younger guys, is not a bad thing, especially when the older guy is teaching the younger guy. Sheesh.

  41. RAndom said: On a parenting forum I used to belong to a few of the mothers refused to allow their husbands, the men they love and trust with their lives supposedly, bathe their daughters, change their diapers and one even refuses to allow her husband alone in the house with their 12 year old daughter. Why? Because, in her words, “ALL men have the potential for rape. Why tempt them?”

    So much for innocent until proven guilty.

    Then RobC said: Good grief! How could these men even stay married to such…oh, I can’t possibly use the word I’m thinking of here…such creatures, shall we say?

    So I say: Never mind why the men stay married to such; and even better question is why, as a woman, you would deliberately marry a rapist.

    What would these mothers think of their sons? Do they refuse to be in the house alone with their 12 year old sons for fear they will get raped by them?

  42. My first and third grade daughters both have male teachers. The school also has a male kindergarten teacher. All of this in a school of 260 kids (K-5th). The male teachers are the most sought after, partially because it is unusual, but they just happen to all be great teachers. There is hope for a rational, thinking society where we take into account what actually matters.

  43. I think that this is one of the saddest things I have heard in a long time. I admit, the fact that people were avoiding contact with the young girl on the bus is one thing, that i can understand. I have hosted many children’s activities with my church, and we simply made it a point for no one person (male or female) to be alone with the children at any given time and encouraged parents to attend and join in the activities with thier children. We never had a single issue with these 2 common sense rules in place.
    Now, as far as Ellen, she needs to get her head out of her nether regions! I have gay male freinds I would trust more with my 11 year old son, than some straight people I know! How utterly ridiculous her attitude is! I have discussed this kind of thing extensively with most of my freinds, gay and straight alike,
    and the consensus is the same, Children are sacred, and should be protected, but allowed to experience life. I know I am over protective to a point, that’s why I joined Free Range Kids to help me, help him!
    All Ellen is doing is denying her son the opportunity to know family, and learn from someone who apparently took an interest in her son, she should be thanking him instead of separating them!
    Thanks for letting me sound off!

  44. one of my favorite teachers ever was my first male teacher. he was very protective of his female students and didnt let anyone get away with anything. he was always telling us about his son and how proud he was of him, and he always treated us like daughters. we all waved and shouted if we say him on the street or from the bus. and he was about as threatening looking as he could be. massive and glarey and very grey. but if anyone were to say they were afriad of his they had done something reeeealy bad to one of his students or the were lying. men can be great teachers and the womans sister must have some serious emotional blockage or damage to have that as her reaction.

  45. I had forgotten that I wanted to address Jeremy Smith on an issue.

    You say that you just stand for the whole bus ride because people feel awkward taking a seat that you offer them. I wouldn’t. I’d feel grateful but that’s not my point anyway. I ride the bus frequently. My 9yo son knows to give up his seat for women, babies/toddlers, and the elderly. Even my daughter and I give up our seats regularly. However, I see men and teen boys that not only won’t give up a seat but will sit down with a pregnant woman still standing. My hope is that maybe you will consider taking a seat and then giving it as needed so you can be an example. I wonder if maybe some of these people really weren’t taught bus etiquette by anyone and we’ve all determined that common sense is not so common anymore. I would hope that my son sees other men following this rule of mine because I think in the long run that will hold more weight with him. Just something for you to think about.

  46. There’s a book I bought some time ago, entitled How To Be A Gentleman. It’s a thin book, not very big. Mostly a collection of axioms of behaviour. I think most young men should read it, or something similar.

    Men do need to learn how to be more than thuggish brutes. The rudiments of etiquette are something that most parents stopped teaching their children years ago. Some bits of etiquette are silly, but there are some very good points that go to make others comfortable and happy. They are very important.

  47. I’m not a kid anymore (by my own standards anyway – age 22) but looking back on grade school, all of my favorite teachers were men. all of them were good, kind, and helpful to children. why do parents think someone who sacrificed years of their life to learn to teach and help children would want to harm them? granted, I know not all teachers are good people. but like Lenore said, they are certainly not the majority.

    another thing that may be noted is that because of the divorce rate, about half of kids today are usually around only one parent, it seems more often their mom. so shouldn’t those mothers be GLAD if their children have a good, upstanding male teacher as a role model? my own parents are still together, by my father is gone a lot with work. when my younger brother was in elementary school, he specifically asked my mother if he could have a male teacher. I can’t help but wonder if he was subconsciously looking for someone of his own gender to look up to.

  48. also, to wackyvorlon – a very gentlemanly friend of mine told me about this website and accompanying book:

    Being female, I’m not incredibly inclined to scrub through the whole site, but what I’ve seen looks great. 🙂

  49. My dad helps take care of the small kids at church when the women have their meetings. He’ll only do it if another man is there with him. Not a woman because he’s worried that would look like they’re having an affair. He got permission from every mother before he started this and there are some who won’t let him watch their kids.

    In our family, we all love all the men, but some of the brothers-in-law were abused, and it’s them (not the women) who are squeemish about other guys. One won’t allow his kids to spend the night ANYWHERE. The other won’t let his daughter be alone with a male AT ALL, including my 4 year-old nephew. I feel lucky that I have a husband who trusts people, and also that I have family I can trust. There have been several times I’ve let my brothers-in-law watch my daughter and I’ve never worried about her. You just need to teach your kids that if something inappropriate happens, they need to tell you about it.

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