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Monday, November 28, 2005
While we were away Mac had a day off so we decided to catch a bus into the nearest big city and do some shopping and have a look around. This bus is the main connection between where we were and the city so although it was half empty when Mac and I got on, the seats filled up within the next two stops. The people on it were about a half-half mix of locals and 'westerners' so as far as I am concerned there is no cultural reason for what happened.
A woman about my age got on the bus at the next stop. She was accompanied by her husband. They were of western appearance and turned out to be Brits. There were already a couple of men standing in the aisle so there were obviously no seats left and as this couple made their way down the bus, not one single man offered up his seat to the young woman.
Until they reached my Husband. Mac ever so politely offered the seat to her and with great beauty and grace this lady accepted and took the seat next to me while Mac stood. To say I was proud to be His wife at that moment is something of an understatement. I was almost smirking at the other women whose men would have been quite fine with making a lady stand. I wondered if they felt shame at their men's behaviour. I would have if it had been my Male shown up by another man. I know the men felt no shame as they allowed other women that got on at other stops to stand while they continued to sit.
And I must admit I was stunned at the young woman's grace as she accepted the seat offered to her. I have seen many women decline such offers from men. It always bothers me a little, like they have rejected the manners of another, and I think that the men who make such offers must wonder why they bother and I wonder if they continue to do so when it is often declined. It is as much our fault as it is their's that such simple politeness is no longer seen as the right thing to do.
So on the afternoon bus back to the hotel, when I was offered a seat, I accepted it with as much grace (I hope) as the woman had that morning. I knew it would make Mac proud to see His wife treat another's politeness with respect.
I know I would have disappointed both of us had I refused.