Mr. Manners

“Three steps behind is the most powerful position for a Queen,” tweets actress Jada Pinkett Smith, film star Will Smith’s wife.

One of the most discussed facets about Don Trump is why his wife is virtually always walking several yards behind him. The fact reared its ugly head on Jan. 20 when he left wife Melania far behind their SUV in the White House drive, holding a boxed gift for the Obamas. He charged yards ahead, never looked back, and was greeted by a stunned Obama and his wife. They waited for her and, putting their hands on her back, properly escorted her into the White House.

The image was stunning. It was disgusting. Was it oversight, or just plain rude?

In many countries it’s considered proper for the wife to walk three to 10 steps behind her husband. In Islam, men are given the responsibility as a protector and provider. The man walks in front of the woman to clear the way for a safe passage.

Barbara Walters did a story on gender roles in Kabul several years before the Afghan conflict. She noted that women customarily walked about five paces behind their husbands. Walters approached one of the Afghan women and asked, “Why do you now seem happy with the old custom that you used to try and change?” “Land mines,” said the woman.

“Husbands are forbidden to walk with their wife in public. The wife should walk several feet behind her husband, and women who do not want to abide by this should not marry in the sect,” according to an article on Orthodox Judaism.

In Japan, it was written that 女は三歩下がって (Onna was sanpo sagatte), meaning “a woman should walk three steps behind her husband,” not for women to be humble, modest and supportive of their husbands but also for men to look more manly.

In her relationship to Donald Trump, Melania has demonstrated the ultimate message of discipline: She has never farted in his presence. This according to an article in New Republic by Elspeth Reeve on May 13. He’s never heard her fart or make doodie, as he once told Howard Stern on Stern’s radio show, adding that he can “trust her to take her birth control every day.”

“I work very hard from early in the morning till late in the evening,” Donald told Larry King in 2005. “I don’t want to go home and work at a relationship.”

To the twice-divorced Donald, Melania is terrific. The New Yorker described her as “a model with the past of a nun.” A childhood friend told the Associated Press that “Melania was an excellent student, very organized, disciplined, with decent manners.”

“Even in summertime, she was always perfect, every day.” The childhood friend, paused, according to the story, adding, “She’s smart for the things she’s interested in, like jewelry. SHE’S NOT STUPID, SHE’S NOT A BIMBO, BUT SHE’S NOT ESPECIALLY CLEVER.”

Does this mean that she sees her place, like those of women in some European countries, as subservient?


“If I say, ‘I need an hour, I’m going to take a bath,’ or I’m having a massage, he doesn’t have nothing against it. He’s very supportive in that way.”

Talking about Don’s obvious chauvinistic habit of leaving his wife far behind, “The husband at the bottom of the stairs, saluting and greeting the people there, and the wife is still at the top of the stairs — this is incorrect,” international expert on manners, Elaine Swann, told the Huffington Post.

“The proper thing for him to do is to wait for his spouse at the bottom of the stairs and then take her hand and assist her down the last few steps as she comes down. This was not done,” says Swann.

Looking back at images from Ronald Reagan, Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter, George W. Bush, ALL walked down the stairs to Air Force One together.

According to the Huffington Post, Jacqueline Whitmore, American expert on manners, says, “the president’s distance in these pictures could be perceived as a sign of disrespect.” Could be?

Weighing all the facts and images of this and other presidents and their treatment of their wives, one can only come to the conclusion: The Donald is an ignorant, unmannered ass.


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