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  1. #1
    Registered User Just Bill's Avatar
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    Default The unwritten gentleman's rule

    The unwritten rule and taboo threads are nifty- but one got missed and I'm not sure where it fits.

    On the AT, and really any outdoors adventure there is a general gentleman's agreement held by all in my experience. It always seemed to be common knowledge to me but I suppose falls into the unwritten rule category.

    Quite simply-
    Any female encountered in the woods is your Sister, Aunt, or Grandmother depending upon whatever category suits you best. Regardless of relation any lady encountered is treated as such.

    You'll note that all of these familial categories are non-sexual. If it turns out that you are not legally related and the woman in question quite clearly makes her amerous intentions clear that's one thing, but in all other situations treat any woman encountered as off limits.

    My understanding was that besides simple gentlemanly behaviour, a concerted effort was made to welcome, and therefore increase the female population on the trail to the benifit of all by being excessively polite, kind, and if not outright brotherly, at least neutral on the subject.

    Sexist? perhaps-
    The rule is not meant to coddle the ladies, mainly to spare them the "ravenous glare" of men who spend a long time without female companionship and lovelorn hikers hoping to find love on the trail from swarming any prospects. It was a general agreement to keep it friendly and welcoming.

    The right thing to do? I always thought so.

    In recent years though the female population has increased, and while I still firmly believe in this attitude and behavior, I wonder how others feel and if this attitude still exists?

    I firmly agree that a woman can handle her self, but why should she have to handle her fellow hikers on top of handling the hike?

    I ask because that question comes up, and I wonder if it's because the unwritten gentleman's rule should be unwritten no longer.

  2. #2
    Registered User SawnieRobertson's Avatar
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    Quite simply-
    <<I firmly agree that a woman can handle her self, but why should she have to handle her fellow hikers on top of handling the hike?>>
    Thank you, Bill. Well put.
    You never know just what you can do until you realize you absolutely have to do it.
    --Salaun

  3. #3
    Registered User dink's Avatar
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    Thank you "Just Bill" it is hard enough on the trail without fighting off the 2 legged pests...well said!!!

  4. #4
    ME => GA 19AT3 rickb's Avatar
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    I am smiling, because yours was my way of thinking some 24 years ago when I first met my (now) wife at Ethan Pond Shelter.

    I knew from the start she was something special and we had a great deal in common, but as one who subscribed to your code, there was no way I was going to ask for her number. Just not right, I thought.

    Hiking out the next day, I began to think differently but the die was cast. My efforts to find Jen with the few clues I had led nowhere and I came to realize that code may not have served me well at all.

    Then I saw a Ford Festiva with a Middlesex Community College sticker on the window. The woman who I would almost certainly never see again had extolled the virtues of a small car (none smaller than a Festiva, right?) and said she was out for the long weekend prior to starting a new job teaching at a CC outside of Boston.

    I put put a business card on the car window with a short note asking if the car belonged to the White Mountain Hiker Scuba Diver.

    Ten minutes later came a knock on the door. Jen lived 1 floor up and 2 doors down in the same complex. It was rather easy to ask if she wanted to go for a walk.

    And the rest is history- but not so sure about codes. I got lucky. If it was luck.

    Yea, I love the Trail.

  5. #5

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    Not a bad code for off the trail, either. Of course, as you get to know someone, things are apt to change.
    "It's fun to have fun, but you have to know how." ---Dr. Seuss

  6. #6
    Registered User Damn Yankee's Avatar
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    Making me think of Slack Pack in Southbounders. What a character he was

  7. #7
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    Why should a woman receive any preferential or differential treatment? This is the 21st Century. We are all equal hikers and should be treated as such. I disagree with you OP. Everyone is an equal hiker with zero weight based for gender. Gentleman's rule? Brotherly or neighborly is different than being excessively polite and kind. Treat everyone equally and you will find that it is civilized to do so. No need for a specific unwritten "gentleman's rule" if you are civilized, polite, and kind to all equally.

  8. #8

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    snifur... I can't agree 100% with what you are saying simply because you seem to be ignoring the fact that there's a difference in the way we interact with each other. There's a lot going on, sometimes. It has nothing to do with equality. We are all equal hikers. This is true.
    In the 21st Century, it goes both ways. Jus sayin. Just Bill is addressing the "gentleman" in this thread.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by snifur View Post
    Treat everyone equally and you will find that it is civilized to do so. No need for a specific unwritten "gentleman's rule" if you are civilized, polite, and kind to all equally.
    . Um, you just stated a gentleman's rule. Rather well, too.
    "It's fun to have fun, but you have to know how." ---Dr. Seuss

  10. #10
    Registered User canoe's Avatar
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    Sexist? perhaps-
    .[/QUOTE] Yep. SO the woman can make a move on a man but a man cant make a move a woman. double standard..clearly

    Mutual Respect

  11. #11
    Registered User Wolf - 23000's Avatar
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    Why should it just be for the AT? Why not treat either sex with proper respect on or off the trail?

    It also goes both ways. There have been times I have run into some females that really took advantage of their male partner. Or some (not many) that have even made some very uncalled for or rude remarks about others.

    Wolf

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by rickb View Post
    I am smiling, because yours was my way of thinking some 24 years ago when I first met my (now) wife at Ethan Pond Shelter.

    I knew from the start she was something special and we had a great deal in common, but as one who subscribed to your code, there was no way I was going to ask for her number. Just not right, I thought.

    Hiking out the next day, I began to think differently but the die was cast. My efforts to find Jen with the few clues I had led nowhere and I came to realize that code may not have served me well at all.

    Then I saw a Ford Festiva with a Middlesex Community College sticker on the window. The woman who I would almost certainly never see again had extolled the virtues of a small car (none smaller than a Festiva, right?) and said she was out for the long weekend prior to starting a new job teaching at a CC outside of Boston.

    I put put a business card on the car window with a short note asking if the car belonged to the White Mountain Hiker Scuba Diver.

    Ten minutes later came a knock on the door. Jen lived 1 floor up and 2 doors down in the same complex. It was rather easy to ask if she wanted to go for a walk.

    And the rest is history- but not so sure about codes. I got lucky. If it was luck.

    Yea, I love the Trail.
    Rick, have you published this before, it sounds so very familiar to me, perhaps I read a similar story once.

  13. #13
    ME => GA 19AT3 rickb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rocketsocks View Post
    Rick, have you published this before, it sounds so very familiar to me, perhaps I read a similar story once.
    Yea. Like most people I like talking about myself and I am in reruns. I need a new story-- but definitely on a different topic!

  14. #14
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    The rule makes sense. Very few men feel threatened by unwanted advances from a woman while a significant percentage of women would feel threatened by unwanted advances from a man especially on the trail. Seems like good common sense and courtesy.
    HST/JMT August 2016
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  15. #15

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    Most of the female hikers I've met don't ask for nor want special treatment from males, in fact some think it's kinda weird.

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by rickb View Post
    Yea. Like most people I like talking about myself and I am in reruns. I need a new story-- but definitely on a different topic!
    Naw, all good, just knew I had heard it somewhere before, thought maybe a bound book though. So happy for you meeting your wife, that's pretty darn cool.

  17. #17

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    Nothin worse than a Cad on the trail, I imagine they get figured out pretty quick though...who's on the hunt.

    ...trail name "Elmer Fud"

  18. #18

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    live life with an open heart. i will always remember the three days that i spent with a girl named jenny on the trail. i was only 16, she was in college. it was and is one of the gems of my life. at the end of it, she gave me her number and jumped in her volvo station wagon and that was the last time i ever saw her. i didn't call her, because i knew she was rich, and i was just a poor hick. i regret that mistake. but not the days i walked with her.

    i'm not advocating wolf pack behavior, just saying that when the universe gives you a gift, don't ask to many questions.

  19. #19
    Registered User kayak karl's Avatar
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    How about just The Golden Rule and leave the sexism out of it.
    I'm so confused, I'm not sure if I lost my horse or found a rope.

  20. #20
    Registered User Sierra2015's Avatar
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    ... I like being treated preferentially! Haha

    I like when doors are opened and chairs are pulled out and I don't have to carry things and I'm given the best seat at a show and all that. Men like to treat women nicely. They enjoy it! That's still part of our society and that's part of our biology.

    I think the difference on the trail is sometimes you guys are also in the girl's bedroom. I know I would be nervous if I was getting too much attention from someone and I had to bed down there.

    So... I think the #1 rule is to not flirt where that girl is sleeping. Because I imagine that can be a little terrifying. (I say "imagine" since I haven't camped by myself yet, but it's not much of a stretch.)

    Also... don't touch me! No taps on the knee, grasping my hand, squeezing my shoulder, or goosing me! Lots of you guys don't understand physical boundaries. I once had a coworker who would come up behind me and goose my sides. Made me super uncomfortable and I had to switch shifts to avoid him since he just wouldn't stop.

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