So I was going to write something pithy and amazing for an inaugural post, but given the most astonishing display of contortionism (is that a word? It is now.) I just witnessed as a chap attempted to hold two doors open at the same time, forcing two able-bodied women to duck underneath his outstretched arms, all in the name of ‘chivalry’, I felt compelled to write this. Potentially a contentious topic (what topic involving gender isn’t?) but I really want to wade in with my tuppence worth.
Guys – you really, really don’t have to hold a door open for someone *just* because they’re female. This is an old-fashioned token of ‘chivalry’ which I don’t think we need any more (and which, when you really break it down, is inherently sexist)
Taking a view based purely in practicality – if it’s quicker/easier/more efficient for you (and this is aimed at everyone, regardless of gender) to hold a door open for someone and then go through after them; do that. Regardless of the gender of either of you.
Are they heavily laden? Hold the door. Are they pushing a pram/trolley? Hold the door. Do they have crutches or a stick? Hold the door.
Are they some way behind you, female and not presenting with any obvious physical issue which would prevent them opening the door for themselves? Don’t stand there for 30 seconds with the door propped open. It becomes weird. If you wouldn’t do it for a guy (i.e. no broken leg/pile of books/pushchair) then don’t do it JUST BECAUSE it’s a woman, and *especially* not if it’s actually more awkward/time consuming than if you’d just gone through first.
Likewise with lift and bus queues. If I arrive at a bus stop after a man, I don’t expect to be waved onto the bus ahead of him. Why would I? What possible benefit is there for me to get on first? The lifts in my building seem to cause no end of issue – I get waved on ahead of guys, even though I’d rather get on after them because I’m going to get off before them. Practicality and all that.
I know a load of people reading this will go ‘Oh ffs, you can’t please women these days’ and to that I say “Oh yes you can”. The swiftest way to please us is to stop thinking about women based solely on gender, and think of us as people. If you’re the kind of guy who’s been conditioned into believing he has to hold the door for women no matter how awkward it becomes, ask yourself *why* you think women need that assistance.