March is Women’s month. I value this celebration in honor of women around me whom I love and who have showered me with so much care and affection. I’ve never been closer to my wife Mafe and daughter Blessie, thanks to the stay-at-home mode of life. My mom Elvie and sister Malouin the USA have been in close touch even through Zoom. I have very good lady friends and relatives who have helped me in my journey.

For this column, let me share with you the viewpoint of one of my former staff who is like a daughter to me. A peripatetic, adventurous but deeply religious person, she has made a deep imprint on me in her little ways. One time, she shared her thoughts about etiquettes of a gentlemanand I asked her to put it in writing. This is Abigael Vasquez, a single millennial sharing her ideas about today’s gentlemen.

Of course, I recognize the fact that there is no perfect man. There is noperfect woman either. But observing how man treats a woman says a lot about this man. Being brought up by a gentleman myself, yes, I tend to have high expectations of men. So, pardon me for having this so-called “list” of how a man should behave. No, please don’t get me wrong, this is not my prejudices against men; rather this is my wish list that if only all men can behave this way then no policy such as “Violence Against Women” might have been enacted. You may call me a generalist,  old fashioned and probably not all my fellow ladies may agree with me,yet the items mentioned here will go a long way.

Simple gestures. Yes, we don’t live in Maria Clara time, you don’t need to chop wood or fetch water from a hydrant. Just helping to carry a heavy load is ok, sharing your seat in a public utility vehicle won’t hurt, guiding along the road while crossing, especially the elderly is a plus. And yes, don’t you dare cat call us while we’re walking on the streets. We are after all not animals but civilized humans.

Physical Strength. Yes, we fought for equality of our rights. But that does not mean you can hurt us physically. Yes, some were able to do jobs that previously were intended for men, but that does not mean lessening your consideration for us. We are still a weaker vessel in many respects. Your strength is still overpowering than ours. Your slap, your kick, your blows will certainly damage this frail body. 

Emotional Stability. There is a saying, “the scars you can’t see are the hardest to heal.”Those hurting words, the infidelity, the treachery, the actions that left an imprint, trauma and pierced the heart are not just mere sentimentalities.These are wounds invisible to the eyes. Your shaming, your blaming, those deeds that can make a woman feel worthless are fiercer than the physical blows.

It is easy to make a woman feel loved and fall in love. It takes a lot for a woman to fall out of love and give up. A woman will be able to give her everything to you –sometimes seemed impatient by nagging, but those irritating words are her expression of “hear me out, listen to me, just once, consider what I say and include me in the decisions you make.”

We are your mothers, your wives, your sisters, your daughters, your friends. So before hurting a woman, always remember that the same life form existed in your life. The etiquettes of a gentleman are showing due respect, love, and consideration for a woman. Treating her as his equal is not about “do things on your own in the same way we, men, can do it, rather it means, you can do it and if you need my help, I’ll be there with you every step of the way.”

And if a man can be as caring and as gentle as that, then life will be harmonious in a way. And if you know a man with a potential to be like that, helping that one man change at a time can be beneficial to the world. It’s not a weakness to show consideration for women. It’s not a sin to love her with all your heart. It’s not wrong to respect her in the same manner that you wanted to be respected.

And to my dear fellow women, give the due respect to men. At the end of it all, the same point in the bible stands still that he – is still the head of the family. And what a wonderful privilege to be a subject of this man’s headship if in every step that he makes, he exudes the etiquettes of a gentleman.”

It’s refreshing to hear the views of young people. We need to be open to their perspectives to bridge the communication gap, if any.

There is no such thing as “VAM” (Violence Against Men). I have once wondered why this is so. We hear a thing or two about men being physically harassed by their wives or women. We have a lot of slap stick jokes about being under de sayawith fearful husbands giving in to every whims of his wife. Yet, I still believe that being  macho is shown not by abusing women nor passing on the decision-making duties to the wife. The macho man shows due respect, love and honor to the one who serves as light in our lives – our beloved woman.

(Benel Dela Paz Lagua was previously Executive Vice President and Chief DevelopmentOfficer at the Development Bank of the Philippines.  He is an active FINEX member and an advocate of risk-based lending for SMEs.  The views expressed herein are his own and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of his office as well as FINEX.)

Source: Manila Bulletin (