Saturday, 17 November 2007
On the buses
There was an amusing incident on the bus a couple of weeks ago.
I was on my way to work, sitting down near the front of the bus. I had a big fucking hangover. It felt like Andrea Dworkin was having sex with a rhino in my skull. Not cool.
The bus was packed and loads of people were standing in the aisle. Nearby was a woman in her fifties; not really old or frail, just not quite the prime of her youth. She is sort of the focus of this amusing incident but in fact she played no direct role in it. She was slightly forwards of me and facing away.
I was minding my own business and reading the paper when I felt a hand nudging my shoulder rudely. I swung my head round rather slowly and saw a young woman - amongst the many standing - looking at me.
"Maybe you can stand up and offer that lady your seat," she said, nodding towards the oblivious middle-aged woman.
She said it not in the form of a polite request but more of a demand, one put forth in the unmistakable shaming tone women employ when they want to pressure a guy into doing something chivalrous.
Like I said, I was a rather hungover, and the idea of opening my mouth to utter the word "No" was far, far too much effort. I just lazily stared at the young woman for a few seconds in silence, with half-closed eyes, then slowly turned my head back round and continued reading the paper.
"God, how rude," I heard the woman comment to her friend. They tutted and muttered softly amongst themselves for a while but I quickly tuned out and started doing the crossword.
It was rather funny. It's nice to take women - especially young and reasonably attractive ones - down a peg or two by not only failing to be chivalrous or accommodating but to barely even register their fucking presence, as if it is do them a massive favour by even looking in their general direction when they want something.
It also amused me that most of the people sitting down on the bus were men, whilst most of the people standing were women.
Just to prove I'm not a total shit, a couple of days later, incidentally, on the way home from work, an old guy hobbled onto the busy bus, and I didn't hesitate to stand up and offer him my seat.