But it does stink a bit. So can we just let it go?
I blame society.
Picture this... You're in a lift - the back of the lift. And there are two guys in front of you. The lift reaches the bottom floor, the doors open.
And then nothing happens.
I'm waiting for the people in front of me to move so I can exit the lift. They are waiting for me to leave first. So we are all standing around like idiots in a lift going nowhere. Social awkwardness ensues.
You just can't win. I'm terrible at being gracious. I'm perfectly able to open my own doors or park a car or wait my turn exiting a lift. I don't need assistance or special treatment and I have a rough time being pleased about it. (I've been to places where, when this sort of activity took place, a tip was expected - I'm not paying for services I didn't ask for - Yes, I'm ungracious AND miserly.)
Okay. I have had to swallow my pride recently and accept seats on trains. But considering I'm carrying around more than my fair share of the population right now I kind of need that concession and there is an obvious reason to need it. And I do thank people for it. But for most of my life, my legs have been as sturdy as the next man's.
There was a piece recently in the SMH (http://blogs.smh.com.au/allmenareliars/archives/2006/09/the_myth_of_mal.html) about how men are oppressed into being the breadwinner and that they don't know how to behave since they get glared at if they try to be polite as they have been taught - either they appear as unchivalrous bastards or condescending arseholes. (Yes this is an exaggeration)
I think women are left in just as much confusion. We are taught that we are equal to men and that we should stand up for our rights and take responsibility for our lives. And yet we too are either evil lesbian feminist bitches or pushy demanding gold-diggers. (another exaggeration)
Gender stereotypes are changing daily and while we've come a long way since the stone age, we still teach these stereotypes to the next generation whether we mean to or not. I suppose the confusion on how to treat strangers politely in a social situation is inevitable. Some people seem to traverse this minefield far better than me.
Does this bother anyone else... or am I just having a cranky week?