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Mindy is trying to think deep thoughts but keeps getting... oooh shiny thing!

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  1. Louise
    Louise at |

    This being the Hun, and given what else was described as going on in that office (no surprise in the timewarp known as Rupertland) what’s the bet the door-opening fell into 3, 4, 5 and 6 rather than 1 or even 2?

  2. pseudon mousie
    pseudon mousie at |

    The one that always gets me is when someone holds a door for you when you are still a good ten or twenty feet away from it, so you either have to let them stand there for what feels like forever, or pick up your pace.

    I’m never sure why people would do that; if it’s deliberate (and not just poor judgement of distance) it feels very passive-aggressive.

  3. Megpie71
    Megpie71 at |

    Context: female

    I hold doors open when I’ve gone through them first, and I can see another person in range who is approaching the door. I don’t mind waiting a couple of seconds to do it, and I just see it as good manners. Generally, if I’m going through a door, I’ll check behind me to see whether there’s anyone following (if so, I’ll hold the door for them), and scan ahead to see whether anyone is coming in the opposite direction (again, if so, I’ll hold the door for them). Elsewise, the door gets to shut itself.

    Exceptions: If I’ve held the door for someone else, and they don’t bother to acknowledge this (say “thanks”; give a nod; brief eye contact and a headbob; whatever) I’ll not bother holding the door for them in future, should I happen to remember this the next time we’re in the same situation. Good manners is one thing, being treated like a doormat is something different. Same applies for guys I hold a door for who use it as an occasion to make sexist comments.

  4. emgem
    emgem at |

    I do think this is all about context and situation. My father always holds the door open for women and he puts his hand in the small of your back as you cross the road. Both of these actions are rooted in sexism and they are both completely unconscious actions. It is how he was raised to treat women. His conscious choices show no apparently sexism. He is perfectly happy for women to help him lift furniture, carry groceries and/or drive him places. Of course, my father is 73.

  5. Chris
    Chris at |

    I do think this is all about context and situation.

    Definitely. Can’t really make absolute statements. Like its polite to help someone up if they’ve fallen over, but not if you’re doing it so your friend can stand behind them and steal things from their backpack.

    Would have been better if her article expanded a bit on why she thought it was sexist that people would hold the door open for her.

    Though when I read the article I did wonder if she chose her internship there with the intent on being able to write about it. That paper doesn’t exactly have a great reputation in the first place.

  6. Helen
    Helen at |

    She interned at the Hun and found entitled white men! News at 11!

    It’s easy, from the relative peace and safety of middle age/invisibility to think “FFS, couldn’t she just not have given them that easy handpass?” But it’s easy to forget being an undergrad and being newly, passionately pissed off about it all. Yes, under the old rules we had no super and would have been sacked from most white collar jobs on marriage, let alone pregnancy, and worked for formally different wages, but hey THEY OPENED DOORS. What Friedan referred to as “the sexual sell”, and yes, it was a sell.

    Like Mindy, I open doors for people willy nilly and think that people with large packages / pregnancy / disability / old age should be the main recipients of door opening, rather than it being based on gender. Unlike the undergrad in the story I keep stum about it simply because men enjoy so much turning it into a tragic tale of rejection of their wonderfulness, but I can put myself in her shoes.

  7. angharad
    angharad at |

    I have a friend who considers it his chivalric duty (or something) to open doors for women. He has a disability which makes walking uncomfortable for him, but will nonetheless speed up to overtake me if we are walking together so he can get to the door first.

    But where I work at the moment it’s more elevators than doors (mostly I suppose because most of our doors are automatic, and/or security doors). There are some men who will not get out of an elevator before a woman even if she is standing at the back and having a conversation. I find this mildly frustrating on occasion.

  8. Kit Kendrick
    Kit Kendrick at |

    I’ve discovered an aspect of ageism as well. I generally hold doors for anyone close enough behind me that they’d otherwise have a door close in their face. The distance expands for people with their arms full, or who may have some other factor impairing their mobility.

    I’ve discovered as I get older that I run into more and more men who will not allow me to hold a door for them. As a young woman I was “allowed” to hold doors because the “young persons hold doors for their elders” rule was apparently trumping the “gentlemen hold doors for ladies” rule. Now that I no longer read as a “young person” for the purposes of those rules, some men absolutely will not proceed through a door I am holding.

  9. SunlessNick
    SunlessNick at |

    … some men absolutely will not proceed through a door I am holding.

    What, do they just stand there? Pretend to have urgent business with a nearby object? Verbally refuse? I’m not demanding an answer, I just find it utterly screwy.

  10. Kit Kendrick
    Kit Kendrick at |

    What, do they just stand there? Pretend to have urgent business with a nearby object? Verbally refuse? I’m not demanding an answer, I just find it utterly screwy.

    Generally they try to take over the door holding and insist that I go through before them.

  11. tekanji
    tekanji at |

    What, do they just stand there?

    In my experience, yes. When I make “hurry up and go ahead” motions, they shake their heads and wave me on. It’s incredibly rude and a waste of both our times.

    I also had a friend who I explicitly told that not to go out of his way to open doors for me because I found the practice sexist and patronizing. He continued to run ahead of me so I wouldn’t get to any door first.

    Interestingly, I have had very few problems with this since coming to Japan. The most I’ve encountered is when I hold an elevator and a man waves me out first. But in that case after I say, “Go ahead” the man’s always thanked me and gone right through. I know this sounds a lot like the “man won’t go through the door” thing I described above, but in this case the man doesn’t wait around staring at me but immediately does some sort of “after you” thing. I’ve also never had anyone (here in Japan) refuse to go through a door I was holding.

    Personally, I hold doors and elevator doors when appropriate because I think it’s important to do things (even little things) for the people around you. But I feel that acts like only holding the door for a certain kind of person (based on their gender, age or whatnot) and refusing to walk through a door someone is holding for you because of their age/gender/whatever taints the experience for both parties.

  12. SunlessNick
    SunlessNick at |

    Personally, I hold doors and elevator doors when appropriate because I think it’s important to do things (even little things) for the people around you.

    Yeah. In Britain (IME), the general habit with doors is if someone’s on your heels, you hold it for them.

    What you and Kit Kendrick are describing … going “look how polite I am” is a very different thing from actually being polite. Especially when you’re carefully picking which people you want to show off to.

  13. orlando
    orlando at |

    I remember my Nigel telling me that, on a visit to the U.S., he held the door for a guy who was coming the other way and the (female) friend he was with said “you’re lucky he didn’t hit you”. Apparently dude looked like he thought it was some kind slight on his manhood.

  14. SunlessNick
    SunlessNick at |

    You have to wonder if masculinity is worth the effort when it’s threatened by something like that.

  15. Feminist Avatar
    Feminist Avatar at |

    I’d never thought of this being a ‘British’ thing, but maybe it is! But, I hold the door for anybody who is coming behind me and my general rule is that if I see the person and it’s not holding me up more than 4 seconds or so, I will wait til they arrive. But, unless they are literally at the door with me or are carrying something or will otherwise find it difficult, I do a ‘door handoff’, not a ‘holding it open for them to go through’. I.e. I go through the door and hold it open for them to take from me. That seems to be pretty common in most of my interactions here as well as in the UK. I also think it creates a slightly different dynamic as there is no room for ogling someone as they walk past or brushing up against them, when you’re just ‘handing off’ the door. And it might be because we UK people do this, that we just see holding doors open as a manner’s thing and less of a sexist thing. I also don’t expect people to say thanks for me holding a door. I mean they might and I might, especially if they waited, but I wouldn’t be offended if they didn’t – I guess I expect this to be a quick, unthinking interaction, rather than a belaboured ritual.

  16. maiforpeace
    maiforpeace at |

    I’d say on average, Americans in general are more polite about helping with baggage and opening doors. Men will always jump up to offer. In the UK I don’t think are quite as polite, and France is even worse.
    I was struggling with some luggage in the Paris metro (there are plenty of times when you have to lug stuff down regular stairs) and it was a young woman who offered to help, got out with me at the end of the line and walked me to the bus stop.
    I don’t wait for anyone hold a door for me – if I can, I will hold the for them first. If they want, they can try to. And if we want, we can do the little dance of politeness, that brings smiles to faces and makes us feel good…”No, you first”, “please, be my guest!” that makes our world much nicer and more pleasant place to be.

  17. Helen
    Helen at | *

    Whenever this topic comes up I think of the Goofy Gophers…
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qD2rI4rTzRw

  18. Louise
    Louise at |

    I’m never sure why people would do that; if it’s deliberate (and not just poor judgement of distance) it feels very passive-aggressive.

    I guess it depends on the distance, but I feel (as the door-opener) like it’s rude to let the door close on someone. As a door-openee I’ve never felt negatively about it, so it’s never occurred to me to think of someone else receiving it that way. I guess if it came to an either-or, I’d prefer doors being held.

  19. dylan
    dylan at |

    Opening doors, I love opening doors. I open doors for everyone and when I’m in incidental street theatre mode I throw in a courtly bow. Yes it gets me into trouble some times, nearly got thumped in The US once, but as always the Aussie accent cast it’s “get out of awkward situations free card”.

    I know I learnt to open doors as part of my inculcation into masculinity along with learning the words to TMG songs and actually inhaling. But the dominant social imperative didnt survive the twin attacks of cabaret and uni.

    Cheers all.

  20. Chris
    Chris at |

    Yes it gets me into trouble some times, nearly got thumped in The US once, but as always the Aussie accent cast it’s “get out of awkward situations free card”.

    LOL. I totally understand and that’s a very valuable card to have. The only time an Aussie accent has got me into trouble rather than out is when someone took me to task for giving them Rupert Murdoch.

    I.e. I go through the door and hold it open for them to take from me. That seems to be pretty common in most of my interactions here as well as in the UK. I also think it creates a slightly different dynamic as there is no room for ogling someone as they walk past or brushing up against them, when you’re just ‘handing off’ the door.

    My view is that if the door opens away from you then you hold it open on the other side. If the door opens towards you then you hold it on this side, unless you’re just passing it off to them in case you “give” it to them as you’re passing through. Otherwise you’re just getting in the way and perhaps making it more difficult.

    Until this latest controversy I hadn’t been aware of the ogling aspect. Now I’m wondering what female friends have thought when I usually suggest they go first when out hiking (I do it because it lets them set the pace).

  21. Louise
    Louise at |

    The only time an Aussie accent has got me into trouble rather than out is when someone took me to task for giving them Rupert Murdoch.

    LOL most of my American friends say the same thing!

    My excuse is that he’s really an alien substitute. I mean, Dame Elizabeth Murdoch … Rupert Murdoch … nah.

  22. Aqua of the Questioners
    Aqua of the Questioners at |

    My pet hate is definitely the man who half-runs to get to the door before you “I better deal with this difficult technical problem you’ve never faced before”.

  23. Mindy
    Mindy at |

    Good point AotQ. I wonder what they think we do when there isn’t a gallant man around? Wait until one turns up?

  24. YetAnotherMatt
    YetAnotherMatt at |

    You exist when men aren’t around?

  25. tigtog
    tigtog at |

    Not me! My waveform collapses whenever I am unobserved by men!

  26. Rebekka
    Rebekka at |

    That’s why the male gaze is so important…

  27. YetAnotherMatt
    YetAnotherMatt at |

    If a woman taking Schrodinger’s cat out of a treehouse in the woods is stuck behind the door because no man will hold it open for her, and it falls on a mime but misses a bear, does anyone important notice?

  28. TansyJ
    TansyJ at |

    I’m an equal opportunity door holder, I usually try to pay attention to see if there are people with packages or strollers or canes etc. coming behind me.

    And I used to turn and say “thank you!” if someone got the door for me, but I had a few too many guys use that as an opportunity to start a conversation/follow me around telling me their life story.

    Now when a guy holds the door open I’m generally through it and 5 paces ahead before I shout “thanks” without turning around to make eye contact.

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