My next boyfriend will be a bellman!

bell man cartArriving home tonight from an 11-day international trip, I lifted my heavy bags into my trunk at the airport. It occurred to me that I’d schlepped these bags more than I cared to when help was not on the horizon. It made me appreciate the cheerful van drivers, bellmen and skycaps who did offer to hoist my bags.

I began to ruminate on the many things men — often strangers — do to lighten women’s burden’s. Not only luggage lifting, but I’ve been struck by how often men have gone out of their way to give directions or even walk me to my destination. Sure, some of them have been in a role at a hotel, but many have not. They were just helpful strangers.

I think the more we women are willing to accept their aid, the more willing men are to go out of their way. This has nothing to do with being a helpless woman. It has to do with being a grateful recipient to someone’s kindness. Did I need the hotel banquet staffer to escort me to the door of the ladies room? No. Pointing it out would have been sufficient. But I didn’t waive him off with an “I can find it,” instead allowing him to feel the satisfaction of completing his task.

Arriving in Manila at 5:30 a.m., I stopped at the airport information desk to ask about storing my luggage so I could catch a town tour during my 16-hour layover. Discovering there were no lockers and I couldn’t check my bags into my connecting airline for 14 hours, I had few alternatives. The young information desk clerk helped me see the most viable option was to rent a small room at the airport Day Lounge. I could lock my bags there, or take advantage of the bed and shower to rest during the long layover.

He could have given me directions, but instead opted to call a colleague to cover his desk and escort me. While navigating the labyrinth of elevators, security checkpoints and behind-the-scenes hallways, I was appreciative he’d taken the time. Several times he negotiated in Tagalog with Security and other gatekeepers. When we arrived at the nearly hidden Day Lounge I heaped thanks on him.

When a man offers assistance — whether it’s help with a heavy box or directions — do you accept readily? Or do you cut them off, saying, “I’ve got it”? If the latter, consider that you could actually give him a gift by accepting his offer. You both get to experience the generosity of the other.

That’s not to say you can’t offer to assistance, too. When I travel, I often see one in a party taking a picture of the other(s). I now make it a habit to offer to take a picture of everyone together. During this trip, a large military convention was in town. In the mall, military men from dozens of countries were enjoying the music and people watching. Cameras were flashing non-stop. As I came upon these groups, I made my offer. No one refused. I felt good for contributing to their memories by allowing the whole party to be in the pic. I felt like I’d connected to them in a way that otherwise wouldn’t have happened. And who knows, maybe I left a positive impression of Americans in my wake.

The lesson is to not be stingy in either your receiving or your giving. Both are a gift. Be sure to express your appreciation. Even if you can heft your own bags yourself, thank you very much, allow a man to contribute to you.


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3 responses to “My next boyfriend will be a bellman!”

  1. Liz Avatar

    I agree with your post. Accepting someone’s assistance can be rewarding for both and it also motivates you to do a bit of kindness to someone else. It also sounds like a good way to start love. People around you will see how kind you are, and how much you appreciate others, therefore making someone become attracted to someone with that personality and respect. More people should act this way!

  2. Anna Avatar

    I definitely agree DG. I always accept help from a man, either with heavy bags or changing a flat tire. Men just have more muscle and it shows how well they were raised when they offer to help. Unfortunately not many of the younger generation have those instincts (in my own opinion). Perhaps its a reflection of the feminist movement or poor upbringing, or perhaps it’s their youth and as they get older they will offer to help. One of the things I do in return is to watch out for mothers traveling alone with small children and offer to help. I traveled internationally on my own a fair bit when my two were babies and I was so grateful for the other women who offered to help (it was rarely men in those situations, only women seemed to understand!!).

  3. Sports Dating Avatar

    As a man, I allways help women who need help, with the lugadge, tires, car, ecc. If I can help why do not help?