Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Chivalry is, indeed, dead

FYI, Jeff will write about his experience listening to Ben Bradlee at Columbia today ... but it will have to wait until he's feeling a bit better. Seems he's caught a flu bug.

So instead, Mary will tell you why chivalry is dead.

Example 1: A couple of days ago, Jeff and Mary were on the bus heading to work, when a woman with a young baby got on--she was carrying the little 'un in a baby carrier strapped to her front. Their stop is rather late in the bus route, and by the time they got on the bus, there were no seats left.

We were sitting halfway back, and would you believe not one person stood up to give her a seat ... until she got to Jeff? I was shocked! I mean, come on. This woman has a young baby strapped to her belly, and no one is going to let her sit down? Not only that, she was clearly a working mother--she was wearing work clothes, so we assumed she was going to drop off the baby girl at daycare on her way to work.

Pitiful, people. Really.

Example 2: Mary is trying to get used to the pace of commuting, and for the most part, she's adapting. Except for one thing: Men who cut her off intentionally when she's about to go through the turnstile, in/out of the subway car, up/down a flight of stairs, through a doorway, up/down an escalator, and the list goes on ...

Generally speaking, it is the men who tend to do this, not the women. Yes, there is the occasional pushy broad (although the pushy broads almost always say, "Excuse me"). But honestly, every day, the men just barge on through. No "excuse me," "pardon me," or "I'm sorry."

And it's not so much that Mary's looking for a "ladies first" attitude, although that might be nice. Maybe she just needs to accept the fact that, despite the difference in rates of pay (women are still paid less for doing the same work), men see us as equal targets: for rudeness.

Should we women rejoice in this?

Overall, though, people in NYC are fairly courteous. People don't generally push and shove or get obnoxious, although they certainly would have reason to. It's amazing that this city works as well as it does, and a big part of its success must be the generally positive attitude of the residents (and those of us who commute into the city every day).

But it might be fun to, just once, hear a man say, "Ladies first" when I'm getting on the subway.

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