Thursday, September 29, 2005

Will the real gentlemen please stand up!

This morning I was on the bus, which I sometimes take now, in favour of leaving the car in the driveway to save on gas and headaches, as my community is now one big construction zone.

As usual, the bus I got on was crowded. A lady got on with a baby in a stroller. The driver asked everyone to move to the back of the bus, as drivers often do. He also asked, "Could someone please give this lady a seat?", as she folded up her stroller with one hand, holding said baby with the other.

There were no less than five - FIVE! - men in the front seats. Not one of them budged. One had his nose in the newspaper, another looked out the window and the others acted like they hadn't heard what the driver said. Instead, two women got up, and one of them gave her seat to the new mother.

(I was sitting about six rows back, packed in by passengers, so it didn't make sense for me to get up myself... but if I'd been in one of those front seats, I'm sure I would have...)

I'm neither a traditional princess, nor a raging feminist, but I can't help but express my disbelief at this... I know there are gentlemen out there -- some of you are reading this very blog. In fact, many of you are my friends, but I have to say... Sorry, gents... I just don't get what happened this morning!

I, for one, ALWAYS say thank you if a man is courteous enough to hold open a door, let me go first out of the elevator or whatever. Not all women appreciate such gestures, but many of us do -- and show our appreciation with words of thanks, smiles, and so forth.

My intention here isn't to start a war over what men and women should and shouldn't do, but if anyone can enlighten me, please feel free!


Барсук said...

At the risk of sparking an international incident, I'll disagree. The solution lies with the 'stroller' (what have you done to the language?!) She should have sat in that.

Sarah Elaine said...

Sorry? I don't quite understand? The mother should have sat in the baby's stroller? (And yes, in Canada we call them "strollers". "Prams" are entirely different things here.

Last time I checked, grown ups didn't fit into baby strollers. :-)

The seat that was eventually relinquished was then occupied by the mother, with the babe in her arms.

Arrogant Polyglot said...

Really, SEE, anyone sitting on the front seats towards the front of the bus should have offered their seat. Any able bodied individual would not be discomforted in any way by standing for some distance rather than sitting.

I suppose you should just be happy that the bus driver didn't offer his seat!

Steven said...

I definitely agree in the man giving up his seat for a woman. It's not required normally. It's polite, but not required. In this case, however, it was definitely a must for those guys. Tisk, tisk, gentlemen.

Bast said...

Chivalry is dead. Long live chivalry! And other such non sequiturs. Not really gendered behaviour though - just common courtesy, as one human being to another. Have we outgrown the need for gendered courtesy in the 21st century? (She sits pondering previous brilliant comment, staring blankly into space ...)

Emz said...

Well, I must say that on a trip to disneyland paris last year Prince John (From Robin Hood) actually sat in my daughters stroller! We have a pic too! But NO! What a silly suggestion 6apcyk! She would have rolled all about in it, not safe at all!
Someone should've said something to the ignorant men who chose to ignore the situation! If I'd been sat next to one of them I'd have given him a sharp dig in the ribs!

Soy Chip Diet said...

You're obviously right, Sarah. It is clearly the case that someone should have stood up, particuarly able-bodied me.

As an aside, it's interesting to ponder whether the reaction would have been different down here ("here" being the States). For example, I've seen this same situation happen many times, and I've (1) never seen a woman with child (or for that matter an older woman) remain standing; one or more men will always voluntarily stand and give up their seats, and (2) the bus driver has never felt the need to ask. Wonder what the difference is up there?

Surely it can't be that you guys are less polite. Since that's very much not the stereotype. But, then again, stereotypes aren't always true. Could it be that danger is sometimes good? For example, were I to see this, and was already standing, I'd definitely make faces -- indeed, somewhat threatening faces -- at a man who refused to stand. And would also probably say something (e.g., "Could you please stand for her?"). Maybe beause we're bigger jerks down here. But being a jerk sometimes has value, no?