Full disclosure right up front: I didn’t care about the Johnny Depp/Amber Heard trial. I didn’t watch a single story on television or read one in print.

But wow, did I see social media blow up over the verdict!

And apparently, men feel vindicated. Which gives us a huge opportunity. More on that later, so stand by.

It’s been a tough bunch of years for those of us with a Y chromosome. Between the MeToo movement and creepy poster boys like Andrew Cuomo (with his Russian hands and Roman fingers), guys are walking on eggshells. Afraid to give a woman a compliment for fear she might take it the wrong way. The Brett Kavanaugh Supreme Court confirmation hearings made it seem like all men were guilty of, well, everything. Sure, there are plenty of legit cases of sexual harassment and domestic violence, and those should never be condoned, but a few famous bad boys (looking at you, Harvey Weinstein) have painted all men with the same sleazy brush. 

Back to Captain Jack Sparrow vs. a woman I never heard of.

Since Hollywood stars seem to go through partners like Kleenex, stories like this aren’t surprising. Considering an actor is someone who makes a living pretending to be someone else while speaking words written by someone else, how genuine could these people be? Was he a typical guy who wanted the proverbial eye candy on his arm? Was she the classic golddigger who wanted a fabulously wealthy husband? (see: Smith, Anna Nicole) Inquiring minds wanna know.

Anyway, the jury felt the man who wore too much mascara playing a pirate was the good guy in this story. And men spiked the football on social media after what they considered a rare win.

Which brings us to an opportunity. Guys, you want to keep winning? Time for some old-school etiquette and the return of the classic gentleman. Let’s turn this around and change our image.

How far have guys fallen? Watch an episode of Mad Men for a clue. The men in this show set in the early sixties take their hats off in elevators. They stand up in a restaurant when a woman gets up to powder her nose and stand again when she returns. They hold doors for a woman. Sure, Don Draper slept with everything in a skirt, but in public he was Cary Grant.

Flash forward to the present and I see all the stuff my mother drilled into me has disappeared. So guys, if you want to help rehabilitate our image, here are some tips from a baby boomer who is celebrating his 33rd wedding anniversary as I write this:

-News flash, women like compliments. But these days, you have to do it in a non-threatening way. Your female co-worker has a great outfit? “That’s a beautiful dress. My wife/girlfriend would love it. May I ask where you bought it?” In this way, the woman doesn’t think you’re hitting on her and gets a nice compliment.

-Dining out means dressing decent. Recently I won a dinner for two at an expensive restaurant. While my wife and I dressed up, I was shocked to see three men in baseball hats, one in shorts, and one wearing flip-flops. Are you taking your best girl out for dinner or mowing the lawn? Hats in restaurants may be the biggest etiquette faux pas these days. Take ‘em off.

-Young men, there’s this new-fangled invention called a razor. You wanna look like Shaggy in Scooby-Doo with that scraggly beard? Show a woman you take a little extra time with your appearance.

-Hold a door for a woman. No-brainer. Sitting on a crowded bus or train and see a woman standing? Give her your seat. Walking with your date on a sidewalk? The side closest to the street is your side so if a car splashes you the woman doesn’t get wet. Does your date act like she’s cold? Give her your jacket. She may be the classic independent woman who can take care of herself just fine, but she still appreciates a little chivalry.

-Put. The Toilet Seat. Down.

-Don’t know how to dress properly? Do you mix stripes with plaids? Not know how to make a proper knot in a necktie? Do you show up for a date wearing a football jersey? Look like you dress in the dark? Then consider asking a woman to take you clothes shopping. (This will make her day. She will act like she won the lottery.) Another news flash: women like their men to dress well.

-Actually, listen to what she’s saying and not give her the yes-dear-uh-huh-that’s-nice bobblehead.

This is all basic stuff, guys. It’s time to go old school if we want to change our image. As Johnny Depp said when he played Donnie Brasco, “Fuhgeddaboudit.”

Randy Tatano is the author of more than 20 novels, writing political thrillers under the pen name Nick Harlow, and romantic comedies as Nic Tatano. He spent 30 years working in television news as a local affiliate reporter and network field producer. The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the policy or position of 1819 News. To comment, please send an email with your name and contact information to Commentary@1819News.com

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

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