Saturday, February 25, 2017

The Costs of Politeness

It was July 2014, Nashville Tennessee. I was walking into a gas station for a bottle of water when the man behind me stepped up to open the door for me. With that act of kindness, something inside me snapped and I flew into a blind rage. I began screaming at him at the top of my lungs.
“No, you can not open this door for me! You wouldn’t have opened it two years ago, so you damn sure can’t open it now!” I scowled and stormed away, completely enraged.
It was the third time that week that a man had done something polite for me. First a man had bought me a drink at a concert, and then there was the nice man who had helped me scoop up my groceries after I dropped my bag, and now this man with the door.
Why so angry?  Feminist rage?  She had lost 2/3 of her body weight, and was convinced this politeness would never have been offered when she weighed 365 lbs.  Some men were raised to do this for all women.  The heavy ones especially deserve such help.


  1. The heavy one's don't "deserve" help any more than the scrawny ones.

    But they *need* it more.

  2. As someone who is in process of losing weight, and dropped out of the 300 club a few months ago, unfortunately she is correct. It isn't so much feminist rage as the very clear knowledge that we were not "worthy" when we were larger. I am now half to being out of the 200 club and find that people (male and female) are much more polite.

    On the flip side, holding on to the rage just isn't healthy. Unless someone that distinctly snubbed me when I was heavier does something, I don't find it worth noting. And even if there was someone who had distinctly snubbed me, a look and a word would be enough to make my point known.

  3. Maybe because my best friend was well beyond obese for many years, I just can't imagine treating someone badly for their weight.

  4. I've never considered not holding a door open for anyone regardless of their weight OR their sex. If I'm the first person to the door and there are people close behind me, I hold the door for them. Just the way I was raised.