Misunderstanding chivalry

True story: walking out of a pub yesterday afternoon with Male Friend. I am carrying 2.5kgs of cat food.

Bagelmouse [hefting carrier bag]: Bloody hell this is heavy. Feel this.
Male Friend [taking bag]: You’re right, it is pretty heavy. [Male Friend transfers bag to other hand and carries on walking.]
Bagelmouse: What… why… why are you carrying the bag?
Male Friend: Oh, wasn’t that what you wanted?
Bagelmouse: Well… no…

Apparently chivalry is not dead. Apart from the small problem of the concept just not existing in my head.

I’ve never quite understood the male impulse to carry a bag or walk someone to their house/train station/bus stop, or hold open a door. This sounds churlish but it’s not – I’m genuinely confused. Why should you go 15 minutes out of your way or put your back out carrying something I was stupid enough to buy? I wouldn’t accompany you home (but then, the idea of 5’4" me accompanying a big strapping gent home is quite ludicrous) – well, maybe I’d get you home if you were pukingly drunk, but that’s just making sure you don’t die in a gutter. Should I be flattered that, as I evidently appear too delicate to run like fuck if a mugger appears, you will protect me? (But what if a mugger appears when you’re on your way to your own bus stop? Then I’ll just feel guilty.) Or should I feel feminist fury when you assume I’m too tiny and wee to carry something and am trying to wheedle you into doing my bidding? Nah. That would be a) stupid and b) pointless. And oh yes – when you open the door for me going into a strange pub, that just means I have to go in first and be stared at by regulars. And that’s just not fair.

I actually feel sorry for ye poor bastards. On one side you’ve got women demanding to be waited on hand and foot, and on the other you’ve got women like me going "huh? Wha…? Why you doing that?" Personally I prefer my way (but then I would, wouldn’t I?). Everybody on an equal footing and none of this subservient-man crap. This doesn’t mean people can’t be nice to each other, but it wipes out those situations where blokes feel obliged to do something because of the teeny ickle woman. Really. Dude. It’s not necessary.


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