I saw the movie Cairo Time on cable last night, and one thing that really stood out in the movie was the difference in manners between the characters Tareq and Mark.
While Tareq has the impeccable manners of someone who was brought up by strong women in Europe and the Middle East, Mark has the more casual manners of a modern American.Â It’s a great film, besides being a very instructive comparison!
Written and directed by the Oscar nominated Ruba Nadda, and starring Patricia Clarkson (Shutter Island, Vicky Christina Barcelona) and Alexander Siddig (Star Trek: The Next Generation), Cairo Time tells the story of marriage, romance, culture and far-flung travel. Set against the magical Egyptian landscape, Cairo Time is a film of beautiful cinematography, which contributed to its 2009 Canadian Film Circuitsâ€™ Peopleâ€™s Choice Award, and shared in its stand-out success at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York.
Juliette (Clarkson) is married to Mark who works as a government diplomat abroad. Their adult children have moved on and Juliette is wishing for more time with her husband, which was the reason for their trip to Cairo. In the Egyptian city on her own as she waits for her husbandâ€™s delayed arrival, Juliette finds herself caught in a whirlwind romance with his friend Tareq.
I should say that many American men have impeccable manners as well. I am lucky enough to be married to a man who was raised in the South and opens doors, helps me off with my coat, and so on.
Seeing the movie made me remember an incident my son had in college.Â Â He was in a class where they were discussing ethics and manners and the topic came up of opening doors for women.
Some of the young women in the class felt that opening a woman’s car door, or holding open the door of a building, was somehow anti-feminist, that it was a statement that “women are weak.”
My son, (who was, of course, raised to be an opener of doors) made the point that we also open doors for presidents and ambassadors.Â He advocated the thought that it was a gesture of respect. His opinion wasn’t popular.Â But I was proud of him for speaking up.
What do you think?Â If you’re a woman do you find old-fashioned manners attractive?Â If you’re a man, have you been discouraged from using traditional “manly” manners?
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