used to be
Way back in another time, when you were just naturally polite, women were not suspicious, nor overly cautious with an eyebrow hiked - now, it seems, you may be guilty of felonious flirting. And forget about holding the door open for them. I've been barked at for that atrocity. You are allowed to tip your hat because men don't wear hats anymore.
Eye contact is also scratched from the list. Or so I thought. In a crowded elevator recently I smiled at a woman with serene blue-gray eyes and she smiled back. She did not look away, and I tried to hang on with a natural smile, not something forced like an undertaker, or the grin of a great uncle looking serious in a lost oil painting hidden in an attic.
I couldn't help but notice the gray swimming with the blue in her magnificent eyes, and time stopped, as much as time could stop in a hurling box stuffed with humans. We were the only ones not looking down at glowing little screens full of cryptic sentences, seeming lost as though squinting nearsighted at an old compass in a shrouded fog, frozen with fear, hesitant at a strange pterosaur blocking a path least taken. 'I believe North might be that way', I said doubtfully above a whisper, and she laughed silently, playing along, just before we zoomed past the eighth floor and braked in slow motion with a soft poof at ground level. I held the determined finger-crushing bank vault door for her and she thanked me, adding,'North seems just about right'. I replied, 'you're welcome', and time started once again.