"Ladies First!"

Do you know where this famous (and previously infamous) saying came from?
I recently happened to be around-and-about, just minding my own business, taking a stroll (I wish I was walking a dog or some animal); anyway, I ended up being in some lady’s way and since I was not in a hurry, I offered her the chance to go ahead while I wait by saying “Ladies first”. In response she asked me if I knew where that saying came from and surprisingly I had no idea, I thought it was more of a tradition, where women were afforded ‘extra’ respect by men.

Well, according to the lady, I was wrong. If I paraphrase her words, she said that the saying was used to subject women to environments that were deemed as harzadous to human health; she went on to give an example that during the world war (I don’t recall which one, but probably the first or some war before those), if a house was suspected of being filled with explosives or that kind of thing, women were the first to go in – LADIES FIRST!; not because they were that brave but because the armies did not care enough for women and thus did not care losing them.

I kind of believed that, though am still not sure ;). Do you have a different opinion or an official source concerning this issue? If yes please enlighten me, right now am just busy holding doors and chanting “Men First” when it comes to risky situations.

‘It is my turn to turn the boat around’

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