They say chivalry is dead. I know there are some romantics out there who like to disagree, but after a lifetime of experiences proving this hypothesis I have become the type of person who grows slightly suspicious of a man holding a door open. In fact, in the rare instances where this does happen, I will often check to make sure his leg isn’t sticking out into the path of travel as a trip setup from a slap-stick comedy routine.
I did my grad degree in a class that was predominantly women with only two men in the class, as nice as they were, even they displayed an “every man for themselves” philosophy that undercut the good guy routine every now and again. One class was dedicated to hands on creation, which was fun in theory (until the materials you were working with refused to cooperate with you) and over the course of the semester myself, and a few other classmates all decided to work with concrete as our main medium. Two of us thought that it could be neat to use white concrete instead of traditional grey. Even better, was that our professor told us he had an abundant supply of it and would sell it to us at a reduced cost to what we would find in the hardware store. From there, things only got weird. The first offer was to go to our professor’s house to pick up the material, we agreed and my classmate offered to drive us there, which was great since I have zero upper body strength and carrying a big bag of concrete on the bus would be quite challenging. Then, the offer changed to meeting him in the parking lot of a grocery store where we would move the concrete from his trunk to ours, now this would certainly look a bit suspicious, but ok, no big deal. The final arrangement was that we would meet him on a street corner by a coffee shop where he had a meeting scheduled for the day we were supposed to pick it up…and we thought a parking lot would look bad, never mind a street corner!
When we arrived, we realized just how sketchy this street corner was and that standing there, just waiting around looked incredibly suspicious. The time dragged on and we both grew increasingly uncomfortable, my professor was inside the coffee shop at his meeting and we felt like we shouldn’t interrupt. However, it was cold and we had now been waiting outside a considerable amount of time while my classmate mentioned again and again how peculiar this was and how he did not feel comfortable standing on this corner. We finally decided to approach politely once it was obvious that our professor wasn’t coming out any time soon. At this point, my classmate nudged me forward and promptly hid a good 15 paces behind me at all times…so much for chivalry!
So how did the story end? With my professor pulling out a zip-lock bag of white powder asking loudly “so, you here for the goods?” to which my classmate quickly sprinted back to the safety of his car leaving me to fend for myself. I handed over the cash and left with what was supposed to be a regular sized bag of concrete reduced to a single zip-lock bag of a white powdered substance. Our concerns of this looking like a drug deal came to fruition, we had a good laugh about the the whole thing on the way home and I learned that the reason men say “women and children first” has nothing to do with chivalry, they are really just making sure that it is safe for them to follow.