Friday, November 14, 2008

Chivalry Died On The "A" Train

This morning on my commute in, the "A" train was its usual crowded tin of sardines. Which meant I had to stand the whole way to work -- a 40 minute long ride for me. Anyway I noticed something that made me realize (yet again) that there is something fundamentally missing from the youth of this city. I've noticed this trend before, but never really actually thought about it until this morning.

Chivalry is dead!

Now, of course, New York City is not quite the bastion of politeness and good manners, and nowhere is this more apparent than on the NYC subway system. People will just as soon ignore a pregnant woman as give her a seat. I give my seat to pregnant women, the infirm, and the elderly on general principle. But that's the way I am. And surprisingly, *most* other people are as well. Not all, but most. New Yorkers are assholes, but from my experience not more per capita than any other city in this country.

So, no, what I observed this morning didn't fall under the banner of general politeness which most New Yorkers actually do extend to each other in this great big city of ours. No, this has to do not with how we treat strangers in public, but with those we're romantically inclined towards.

Let me preface this with a rather obvious, though necessary, example first: when Lisa and I are on the subway, and if there is only one seat available, she gets the seat. End of story. It's not even something I think twice about or bemoan or anything. It's simply automatic. And that's the way it should be, right?

Well apparently not. I don't know if this is an age thing or a cultural thing, but I've now seen on numerous occasions where a teenage couple (and I stretch the word "couple" a tad here) are faced with the same scenario, but it's the male half that takes the seat. And not only does the SO of this equation not protest, she actually seems genuinely *okay* with the arrangement.

WTF? Did I stay home the day they issued a public decree thereby disavowing all young males from the act of performing common decency? Since when has this been *okay*?

And, as I've said, this was not the first time. I've seen the exact scenario play out half a dozen times on my way to work now. A teenage girl and boy, obviously on their way to school, making googly eyes at each other, standing way too close, but yet pretending like it's not really all that serious. Then a seat becomes available, the two walk towards it, and without even a moment's hesitation, the boy sits down rather than the girl. The girl then continues talking and laughing with the boy as if a major breach in interpersonal etiquette had not just transpired.

Again: WTF?

I've tried to rationalize how this could be happening within the youth culture of today. And I can only come to 3 possibilities:

1) The parents of these kids never taught them manners.

2) Pop culture of the day has dictated a new code of behavior between boyfriend and girlfriend, whereby boys get treated as if they're "the shit," and girls glibly stand by while feeding into their BF's egos.

3) A natural progression of the age-old quandary that girls like bad boys, and good boys never get laid.

So in this equation: (being a punk + stuckup asshole) * the degree of your indifference = girls forming long lines for the privilege of gulping down your junk.

In order to stay sane, I'll allow for the fact that No. 3 on that list is simply absurd, and lean more towards No. 1 instead.

Unless No. 2 is the actual reality here, in which case our planet is seriously and utterly SCREWED!

Anyone else notice this? Is this just with young people? And, if so, what the hell is wrong here?

1 comment:

cindy said...

wow, interesting observation.
i'm all for a little chivalry!!
you should ask one of these days.
maybe the girl would get offended--
why do I have to be the one to sit.
haha!
maybe we are old-fashioned? =O

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