Whether it’s a byproduct of the “war on women” or just a new generation of men who have completely lost sight of what it is to be chivalrous (polite, caring, decent in the slightest, the list goes on…), these days, women are beginning to take things into their own hands and demand the treatment they deserve, the result being a completely new breed of Sadie-Hawkins-inspired reverse chivalry. The difference though, is that
this form of chivalry does not involve women opening doors and pulling out chairs for men, but rather women demanding these things from men.
Though I have been passive aggressively (and sometimes not so passively) grinding my teeth and throwing dirty looks at the guy who squeezed in front of me to take the last possible space on an already packed B-line T (God-damn you) since I moved to this city, I have never seen such an effective solution to the ever-present chivalry problem as the one that some older women have recently begun to act on.
I was sitting on a stationary train somewhere in Allston, watching people pile in like sardines, when a woman, probably in her mid-60s, arms full of grocery bags, hobbled by. As she pushed past passengers, she looked for an empty seat to no avail. I kept watching as she glanced from young man to young man, desperate for one of them to so much as make eye contact with her. When finally she was fed up,
she marched right over to the closest oblivious, able bodied, young male and tapped him on the shoulder. He slowly removed an earbud and looked up at her as she said, “you get up so I can sit here?”
It was barely a question. The young man, slightly taken back, slid out of his seat and further into the train to find a nice place to stand.
Watching the woman settle triumphantly into her new seat, my first thought was something like, “RUDE!” My second thought was something like, “NO…BAD ASS”. Chivalry on the T is hard enough to come by when you’re twenty-something and female. It shouldn’t be such a battle for a sixty-plus woman who can barely stand up. Didn’t your mothers teach you anything? I’m not asking you to jump up every time someone with a vagina steps onto the train, but the least you could do is give up your seat every now and again to a woman in need.
The T is perhaps the epicenter of the antithesis of chivalry. I have been pushed aside, cut in line, and had seats (many of which I had clearly been staking out and power standing in front of from Boylston to BU) snatched right before my eyes by many a middle-aged male.
So next time you are asked by an angry old lady, wheeling a cart full of miscellaneous garbage, in a thick Russian accent, to kindly give up your comfy little single-seater spot right next to the door so that she can plant herself there for the rest of the ride, don’t storm off grumbling about how you thought we wanted to be treated as equals because you did this to yourselves.
You may call it rude; I call it justice.
A refresher course in chivalry: