Culturally, the United States is one big mess. It comes from all the different people who have become Americans over the years. Each group had their own customs, their own foods, their own holidays, and Lord knows what else. While some people left those things to forge a new culture of their own, other groups cling to what are quaintly called the "Old ways".
As a modern woman, I have expectations about how I should be treated. Nothing fancy. I don't expect to be treated like the Queen, lest I get all gung-ho and start shouting for the lopping off of heads. I do expect to be treated with respect and dignity, because that is how I try to treat everyone else.
But sometimes it is difficult.
My brother was driving me home a few weeks ago, and he had to stop at the home of a soccer coach he knew. The man greeted me warmly, got me a beer, told me that his wife would be home soon...and left me to sit in the kitchen. He took my brother outside, where they opened beers of their own and sat. I could hear their conversation from my own seat...in the kitchen.
I used my time to contemplate the situation. I am not ashamed to say that I went through a few stages. The "WTF?" stage, where I sat there a few seconds and said "WTF?" to myself. (I try not to curse anymore since I became MOM, so I just say the initials.) Then I got a little angry. Just like nobody puts Baby in a corner, nobody puts me in a kitchen. An angry woman in a room full of knives is never a good survival strategy.
I felt a little stupid, because I was sitting in a strange kitchen talking to myself. I finally pictured the Borg from Star Trek: The Next Generation, saying that "Resistance is futile," and I laughed. The house I was in belonged to people who practiced the "old ways", where women and men had expected roles to play. I would be a poor guest to disrespect their culture, no matter how archaic I found it. If being respectful meant I needed to sit in the kitchen and drink my beer, so be it. It was quiet in there, I could play Words with Friends on my phone, and I had beer. And when the wife finally came home, she cooked me enchiladas and fussed over me like I was kin.
Some of the "old ways" are pretty darn cool.