Some years ago, I had a boyfriend whose car I kept repeatedly tried to steal.
This wasn't actually because of an undiagnosed streak of kleptomania, but because he persisted in walking around the car to hold the passenger-side door open for me. Since I had hands that were frankly awesome at opening doors, it never occurred to me that this was an act of courtesy. Rather, I assumed that no one in their right minds would circle their car unnecessarily, so I walked to the opposite side of the vehicle.
(The issue was compounded by this being an American car, myself being British and therefore with no strong opinion on which side the steering wheel was likely to be situated.)
After the boyfriend realising he had to either loose his chivalry or his transport, our relationship moved to an agreeable situation where we opened our own doors and alternated or (roughly split) paying for dinner.
I mention this after becoming exasperated by the first chapter of a book I recently started (… I'm only now on chapter 2. This may be the first of multiple posts). The tome in question is an Austen romance; that is, a story headed by a knowingly tragic female desperately hunting out a relationship with a character who didn't even exist when his essence was conceived in ink 200 years ago.
I know, who would think such a concept could lead to irritation?! After a hectic month of seminars this clearly philosophical and engaging investigation was going to satisfy all my literacy needs. It also made me thrilled to be living in the 21st century by emphasising I have zero accomplishments by the standards of the 19th, promised to make me glad I only tried to keep the car and not the man and it was only 99p on my kindle.
STOP JUDGING ME. I know you were.
The point is, when we first meet our tragic progenitor, she's on a terrible date. To give her little golden locks credit, the man in question takes his stage premier by calculating the exact split of their restaurant bill down to the details of ordered pizza toppings. The only way maths should be involved in a meal is if it takes the form of bad jokes where physicists get to laugh at engineers and mathematicians.
A physicists, an engineer and a mathematician are asleep in their respective apartments when the building catches fire.
The engineer leaps out of bed, grabs the fire extinguisher and pours the whole contents over the fire. The extinguisher is empty but the flames are out and the engineer goes back to sleep.
The physicist wakes up, does a quick calculation on the back of an envelope and works out approximately how much extinguisher he needs to put out the flames. He then kills the fire and goes back to sleep.
The mathematician wakes up, performs a detailed analysis to compute exactly how much extinguisher he would require to the last drop. That done, he goes back to sleep.
While understandably peeved, the mildly energetic brain waves emanating from our heroine suggest the only proper way to conclude to the date would be if the man paid for everything. This is where I decide she deserved the subsequent slam to the head when she didn't realise the door was not being held open for her.
My point (and surprisingly for me, I do have one) is that if women are fighting for equal rights in the workplace, shouldn't this also be reflected in daily manners?
Presumably, many of these supposed niceties originated from the need to prove that a man could provide a financially secure home. Frankly though, I got that one covered myself. Rather, I'd like a companion to share observation wheel rides (they terrify me but I can't stop going on them), sushi plates (I'm eating all the sea urchin), discussion of the best body burying sites (being prepared is never wasted), hockey games, ski trips and yes, also household chores and --it's probably wisest-- the auto insurance.
If we're going to split all of those, how about we begin by splitting the cheque and opening our own doors?