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Why chivalry follows creepy men

 Why chivalry follows creepy men (Photo: iStock)

My three girlfriends and I went out. It’s not a usual happenstance, but when we do, it is awesome. That is not the gist of the story, though. As is required, there was the designated driver, although the rest of us were only a little tipsy. When you get to a certain age, getting drunk is too much like hard work, as you cannot forget how inconveniencing a hangover is, and how you no longer have the option of staying in bed all day in recovery.

Being an adult means there are responsibilities eye-balling you constantly, hangover or not. For us, going out is a way of, for a few hours, ignoring responsibilities, and age. It means talking loudly over the music, dancing while seated, pretending to be shocked about the skimpily dressed younglings, giggling at the men with audacity to try and chat us up, sipping drinks at a speed that does not please the club owners, drinking more water than alcohol, and doing regular one-leg stands, just to make sure we are not overdoing it.

Often, we retire early, and by early I mean just the other side of midnight. That’s what we did, leave, as others were checking in looking energetic, and us feeling as old as we were – what with the yawning, and wanting to get home so we could pick up our Netflix choices. At the parking lot, I had to direct the driver out of a tight spot.

Sometimes, no matter how sober you are, you need extra eyes, just to make sure you do not bump other people’s vehicles, especially at night. Our driver managed to manoeuvre, but she had to drive about fifty metres up to find a place to turn.

It was as I was waiting, when an obviously drunk man staggered to me and asked, ‘are you okay?’ I said I was, and thanked him. It would have made sense if he had tried to chat me up, or even discussed the weather, but what he said next threw me off. ‘I mean, are you guys okay to drive?’

Confusing, and for a moment did not answer, because I was trying to think what could have given him a reason to worry about us.

He did not see us staggering, because we were not – all we did was giggle our way to the vehicle. At no point did our driver, while reversing, make a mistake – in fact, she hardly needed me to direct her. So why was this man, who was obviously not fit to drive anyone including himself, asking if we were okay to drive?

Fault me for my thoughts, but my conclusion was, it was because we were women. Chivalry? Plain creepy? A man’s natural instinct to feel protective over females around him, or a man’s unnatural instinct to doubt women’s ability to handle machines? So I put up this story on my socials, and it was interesting to read the comments.

Chivalry is not dead, that man is an example, some claimed. Women (like me) are killing chivalry, for misinterpreting it. He was just being a gentleman. I should have indulged him in chatting. He was a car thief. He thought there was no way women could manage a big engine without a man. There were many comments, most of them versions of the above.

Mostly, I was told off, especially by men, although it was interesting to note that the person who said it was a car thief, was a man. Enough women called me out as well, for not seeing it as it apparently was - kindness. I was honestly shocked, because in the world we live in, indulging a strange man in a dark parking lot, methinks, is one of the worst things you could do, as a woman. Forget what else he could have been doing, it is not advisable.

That people decided to ignore that I indicated he was drunk, and therefore not in any state to judge how drunk we were, was a bit surprising. If he was just being nice, he would have stopped at, are you okay? The rest of the words that came from him were condescending. Is my sort responsible for killing chivalry, or are people not ‘situation aware’ enough?

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