May 15th, 2006


Another day, another peeve

Pet peeve du jour:

Men who go out of their way -- and everybody else's way -- to make sure
women get through doors in front of them. This is particuarly annoying
when several people are waiting for the elevator, and rather than
everyone just file on, Mister "Gentleman" confuses everyone and slows
down the operation. When I'm the woman in question, it generally takes
me a few moments just to figure out what's going on (particularly when
I'm pre-coffee, as this morning), because it just seems so artificial.

I know these guys mean well. They're usually older guys (although by
"older", I mean late 40s-50s, not 80s), and they're trying to uphold a
code of politeness that was probably entirely appropriate at one time
(when the guys in their 80s were young, maybe?). But it's just not
necessary anymore. Or realistic. And I can't help feeling a little
squirmy about the whole thing, because it's an arbitrary, imposed
politeness; it implies that we (women) are somehow delicate and needing
to be taken care of -- it's the same sort of stepping aside one does
when someone with a wheelchair, or a cleaning cart, or any other
"encumbrance" is trying to get through a door. It implies, by
extension, that women are, just by virtue of being women, somehow
handicapped or encumbered, and in need of special treatment. And I feel
guilty for feeling annoyed, because they're just trying to be nice.

Plus, it's just awkward and slows things down unnecessarily.