Women Sort of Bug Me
“Women. What do they want?”
I believe Freud wrote that in his diary, and in at least one regard I understand what he means.
First let me mention that I live in Portland, Oregon which has one of the best mass transit systems on the West Coast. You literally can take public transportation anywhere in the city and for the most part the crowd you ride with are just every day folks. In the morning I take our light rail called MAX into work. This is where my problem with the opposite sex lies.
I grew up in the South with the manners that go along with that. My dad never sat me down and read me a code of conduct, but it was always simply understood that a gentleman gives up his seat for a lady on busses, trains, restaurant waiting areas, or at any other like occasion. This giving up of the seat is a sign of respect. A woman is considered to be a lady until proven otherwise, and even then the offer is still made.
Well this isn’t the South. Every morning as I ride MAX into work, I’m reminded of that fact. You see, I board the train at the far end of the line when open seats are plentiful. As we travel closer to downtown the train gets more and more crowded until all the seats are gone and people are left standing. If there is a lady standing near me, I offer her my seat. This is where the battle begins.
“That’s alright, I can stand,” is the most common answer I get, and often it is delivered with an air of indignation. How dare I challenge her equality by daring to imply that she is incapable of standing on the train like the rest of the men? Candidly, if a woman is wearing pinstriped anything, there are pretty good odds this is the reaction I will get.
“Are you sure?” is my second least favorite response upon offering my seat. Do they really believe that I might have a change of heart and take back the offer?
Then there is the righteous silence; my least favorite response. I stand up, gesture to the now open seat, and say, “please,” and she says nothing. Now we are in that awkward space of two people staring at an open seat on a crowded train. It’s not like I can just sit back down. I should, but my manners don’t allow. No one else will take the seat as technically the seat still belongs to me, and it has already been offered. So it remains empty until we get to the next stop when a new passenger, oblivious to the mini-drama that just happened, boards the overly-crowded train and is amazed to find one, lone, empty seat in this compact sea of commuters. Often they do a double take just to make sure gum or worse isn't on the seat. With a shrug of the shoulders the lucky travelor sits down no doubt thinking that this is going to be a very good day while I'm stuck standing next to the ice queen of the train.
So I humbly request to the female segment of the species to do me a simple favor. If I offer you a seat on the train, please simply say “thank you,” and sit down. I’m not trying to prove my superiority over you. I’m not flirting with you. I’m not questioning your ability to balance yourself on a swaying train. I’m not saying that you’re too fat to support that kind of weight for however long you have to ride.
I simply want to show you the respect you deserve for being somebody’s mother, daughter, sister, or wife. I’m treating you as I would like someone to treat my own mother, sisters, or wife. Stow your feminism for the trip and embrace just being feminine. God didn't create you to be one of the guys. He had something way better and far more meaningful in mind.
If nothing else the ride into town should be a lot more pleasant.