I was sitting on the old packed out commuter train this week, smug with the fact that a) I had a seat b) I was on an earlier train and c) I had a copy of the new Jim Collins book (yeah I know it doesn’t take much). When I saw a lady get on in her 50s and looking around seeing there were no seats. She clearly was not a commuter and had not bought into the madness that is our daily lives.
Now my instinct in this situation is to give my seat up (thank you mum and dad). In the same way that I hold doors open, let women onto the tube first, offer my coat if its cold etc. And in this case I followed my instinct. The lady was very grateful and as some weird anti-Pavlovian reward, I got to stand for 45 minutes.
More interestingly , what followed was a Mexican wave of chivalry. Every time a lady stepped into the carriage men were fighting to offer her their seat (apart from the three young male bible students…but that’s a whole other story!). The reactions of the women were mixed. Some accepted, some looked decidedly put out.
So I ask, in a world where we are suppose to strive for equality, does this make me chivalrous, or does it make me anti-feminist? And should I really care or just keep on doing what I am doing?
From the Oxford Dictionary
chivalry • noun courteous behaviour, especially that of a man towards women.