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Adventures in Communication: Bulleted Lists

This week’s jihad: Men who insist that women leave an elevator first, even when they are closer to the door than the women are. An absurd number of men in the building where I work do this. I have consciously avoided giving any indication that I was eager to leave the elevator, hanging back at the handrail on the wall, and even with this noticeable pause they still make a gesture to the door and won’t walk out until I do.

I don’t mind certain forms of politeness; for example, I don’t mind people holding doors open for each other — I do it for other women, they do it for me, we do it for men, men do it for us, everyone does it for the guy with no arms or the woman pushing a stroller — but this is a highly gendered form of “politeness,” and it’s dumb and slows everyone down and I hate it. I’m trying to work up a good comment. What I have so far (none of it is particularly witty, which frustrates me):

  • “Are you trying to get a good look at my ass? I’m sorry, I can’t help but think that when you’re closer to the door than I am and you want me to exit first.”
  • (while pushing him, imperiously) “Out of my way — my two X chromosomes need to be off the elevator before your Y does, or there may be A CRISIS!”
  • or “You know, they’ve discovered that being female isn’t actually a medical condition. I’m in no hurry.”
  • “Would you offer to let me go first if I was a guy?”
  • “Would you still offer to let me go first if you knew I was a transvestite?”
  • “I think it’s less rude if you go first.”
  • or simply, “You’re closer to the door than I am.”

None of these really sum up my continually unfulfilled desire to simply be seen as a thinking, productive, non-sexual entity by the people around me who I am not looking to fu(k (i.e. 99.999% of the population). It being nearly summer again in New York, I’m wearing less clothing for the sake of being comfortable, and I am sort of disgusted by how much time I spend angrily stewing my comeback lines so I have a fresh steaming one ready for the next a$shole who whistles at me. Come on, men of New York. Guys in other cities aren’t half so bad as you are. Settle the fu(k down.

(This jihad was inspired in part by one woman’s thoughts on men sitting on subway seats with their legs spread as if their test!cles were as big as their heads. I think she’s entirely right, and I would add that the societal expectation that women sit with their legs crossed makes for excessively tippy subway riding.)

* * *

My absolute least favorite people to interview are small-time government officials. I imagine the same is true of many big-time government officials. It’s nearly impossible to get them to give you a meaningful quote. This morning I called a guy at a Coney Island governance organization for this article I’m doing, and he gave me nothing but a mouthful of cliches. This may be a matter of my own failure in interviewing; I wanted to get a picture of what Coney Island means to him in the kind of the warm, personal, quirky terms that I was supposedly trained to evince as a literary journalist, but even when I asked how the C.I. boardwalk physically looks different in the wake of economic development, he heaped comments about his mother “giving back to the community” on top of pabulum about the local schools having a “children-first philosophy” and garnished it with cream about how people in Coney Island “work together and have a team attitude.” I gave up.

* * *

And now, a public service. The following doctors have REALLY BAD HANDWRITING:

  • Edward J. Kinkopf of Centerville, OH
  • Stanley Dziedzic of New York, NY
  • Richard Wolin of Williamsville, NY

These people are in the job of communicating the nature of ills to other people, in the interest of of remedying them. They really ought to have good handwriting, and they don’t. Fix it, guys. Further bulletins as I identify more doctors with REALLY BAD HANDWRITING.


  1. Lysander wrote:

    Hmm… I dunno. I tend to do a pause if there’s someone else in the elevator with me, but if they don’t go, I do. And it’s not gender-specific. Same thing with holding/opening doors for people; I do it for boys n’ girls both. But I admit I feel a little more compelled when it’s a double-X’er as opposed to an XY like me. Maybe it’s residual chivalry ingrained from a provincial youth.

    Friday, May 23, 2003 at 7:26 am | Permalink
  2. jessamyn wrote:

    I just look them straight in the eye and say “no” this is different than the guy at the intersection waving me across impatiently as he sort of waits but sort of edges his car forward if I am walking across too slow. Him, I pretend I don’t see.

    Thursday, May 29, 2003 at 10:58 am | Permalink
  3. Brett Kinkopf wrote:

    Out of curiosity- how do you know that my father’s handwriting is bad?

    Sunday, February 22, 2004 at 12:43 pm | Permalink
  4. gus wrote:

    I saw a sample on a survey I was processing at work. I am really good at reading bad handwriting, you can ask anyone who knows me. It must have been completely incomprehensible for me to mention it.

    Eh, heh heh heh. ok next time I check to see how many google hits a person gets before I post about them. Hooray! I’m #1! eek.

    Sunday, February 22, 2004 at 5:37 pm | Permalink
  5. Phyllis wrote:

    Well done! |

    Wednesday, September 20, 2006 at 4:26 pm | Permalink
  6. xa7554b wrote:

    1e09df | [url=]048cae[/url] | [link=]b2c070[/link] | | 4fd7d8 | [ ad89e3]

    Thursday, November 9, 2006 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

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