They took people at face value. If you did your job or held up your end, and treated them with the passing respect they accorded you, you were all right.
It was mad. It was like changing the channel, or going to a foreign country where the customs are highlighted because they're not your customs.
A lot of men's bluster is really indicating how much the esteem of women means to them, and not how little. I was surprised, too, to find that men care as much as they do.