How Not to Be an A-hole When…

… You Aren’t Sure Whether To Offer Your Seat

I feel like my whole life I was taught that it was the gentlemanly thing to do to give up your seat to the young, elderly, and members of the opposite sex. Two of these make sense but I’ve realized that the lumping of women into those categories seems super sexist but the thought still persists and I do see this behavior on the bus quite frequently. Usually the woman just says no and everyone goes about their business but still every time a bus gets full I feel like I should find the closest woman that’s standing and offer my seat. What do I do?

Generally speaking, offering your seat to a person who might benefit from it is a thoughtful (as opposed to gentlemanly) thing to do, as long as you’re also okay to stand. At the same time, I don’t think you should assume that just because someone is a woman, she’ll definitely be more in need of the seat than you are.

Instead, I suggest that you use your judgment and apply this reasoning: if someone looks like they might really appreciate that seat more than you, then offer it. Someone with a mobility challenge (like a broken leg) is an obvious example. Another one that pops to mind is that sometimes a woman will be wearing extremely uncomfortable shoes that make standing for long periods of time unpleasant if not downright painful.* That’s obviously not as dire a situation as a tired parent with two little ones in tow, and you’re not an asshole if you don’t pop out of your seat when a person in stilettos gets on board. At the same time, I don’t see it as sexist if you say something like ‘would you like to sit down?’ They can always decline.

Which leads me to the other part of this: if you offer a seat and someone declines, just accept that and move on. They aren’t being rude; no one is required to accept an offered seat. Some people appear elderly but could kick your ass in a 10K. Some people might appear pregnant but aren’t. Some people might have been sitting all day and enjoy the opportunity to stretch their legs.

Basically: offer your seat if you think someone needs it, and graciously accept their response either way.

*I’m not going into the fashion issues (and sometimes dress codes) that make such shoes seem like a necessary choice for some women but not men.

You Might Also Like

…Scheduling An Early Evening Event

… Someone Harasses the Person You’re With

…You Realize You’ve Slighted a Friend

…People Talk About Their Pets

… Getting Unwelcome Responses on Social Media

…You Feel The Need to Correct Someone

…Parents Want You to Say Their Baby Is Cute

…You Hate Your Boyfriend’s Friends

…Your Boss Changes Your Schedule at the Last Minute

… Your Family Member Doesn’t Quite Grasp the Concept of the RSVP

Ridiculousness Part 1

…Your Neighbor Wants To Be Friends But You Don’t

…Your Roommate’s Boyfriend Basically Moves In

… Your Friend Is Choosing To Not Vaccinate Her Child

… Your Friend’s Kid Is Cruel to Their Sibling

…Rescuing People from Burning Buildings

…Flying (child edition)

… Encounter a Roundabout (and other driving etiquette)

… Your Friend is Transphobic

… Comforting Someone Who Is Grieving

…Ending a Long-Term Friendship

… You Hate Your Boyfriend’s Mother

… You Don’t Want to Recommend a Former Coworker

… You’re Concerned About Someone’s Drinking

… Breaking Up With Someone

…People Start Talking Weight Loss At Work

… You Get a Not Great Uber Ride

… Getting Unsolicited Offers from Neighbors

…A Family Member is Being A Little Racist

…Receiving Unsolicited Parenting Advice

…You Aren’t Into Your Partner’s Hair (or Clothes, or Make-up)

… You’ve Been Laid Off And Friends and Family Are Pressuring You

…You Are Four Months Old

…It’s Mother’s Day

…You Witness Harassment

…Letting an Employee Go

… You Want to Lick Someone’s Face

…You Have Resting Bitch Face

…You Don’t Know What to Say

…You See People Feeding Wild Animals

…Your Friend is An Ethical Non-Monogamist

…Sorting Out First Date Logistics

… Your Vegan Friend Wants More Food Options

…Your Roommate Leaves His Dirty Dishes Out

…Your Friend’s Partner Dies

… Hiring Someone To Clean Your Home

…You’ve Totally Spaced in Responding To Your Friend’s Email

… Fireworks Are Involved

…Your Relative Has An Addiction

… Receiving a Gift (Thank You Note Edition)

… Someone Asks You To Review Something You Haven’t Experienced

…Staying In A Hotel

Leave a Reply