Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Nothing But A Rant

I don't know what it is about airports that turn me into the crazy bitch woman from hell. Maybe it's because I've spent one too many nights trying to find a comfortable position on a ridiculously uncomfortable airport chair whilst simultaneously trying to hord my luggage around me. Or perhaps it's because I've had one too many missed/delayed/cancelled flights which have left me stranded in the middle of who-knows-where. Quite probably it's because I am always pulled aside for a "random" check and I just have to stand there, spread eagle, smiling because it would be completely inappropriate to say "I can't help it if I'm racially ambiguous and tend to have shifty eyes when I travel. And how is this random if I get selected every time?"*

The real reason probably stems from the fact that for most of traveling experience, I have traveled alone. When there's no one else to watch out for me, I have to watch out for myself. I know what the statistics are and I know that overly friendly women are the ones that get attacked. So, I'm not friendly. I don't look anyone in the eye. I always wear business professional outfits and have business professional luggage. I like to look like I'm someone and have important somethings to do and I know exactly what they are. I've perfected the art of looking like I know exactly where I am and where I'm going even in a new airport that is completely foreign to me.

For all these reasons (and the fact that I am a fiercly independent woman), I find myself getting more annoyed than I probably need to when men attempt to be gentlemen, specifically when they try to help me with my luggage or think that I need special treatment just because I'm in stilettos.** This was made clear the last time I made the all-too-familiar trip from Pittsburgh to Boston and back again. I was on my return flight back to the 'Burgh on a somewhat crowded flight. It was late, our flight had been delayed for an hour, everyone was tired. We're finally at the gate and de-boarding the plane. I open the overhead compartment (carefully because contents may have shifted during the flight) and reach for my bag. It's a rolling suitcase, small enough to be counted as a carry on and probably not weighing in at more than 25 pounds. I had it about halfway out of the compartment when the man behind me saw it as his duty to, without even saying a word, wrench (and I seriously mean wrench) my bag away from me and finish extracting it. His action caused me to stumble into the man in front of me and twist my wrist most uncomfortably. When he finally placed my suitcase in the aisle, beaming and proud of his chivalry, I glared at him and said, sarcasm dripping from my voice, "Wow, thank you so much, I really wouldn't have been able to manage without you." I'm pleased to say he looked rightfully deflated. Unfortunately, we still had to wait in the aisle for another 10 minutes while we waited for everyone in the front of the plane to collect their things and get the hell off.

I guess I should feel bad, I mean, he was just trying to help. But, I get really frustrated at people who do just that and end making the situation worse. Would you mind just getting the hell out of my way and letting me ask for help if I need it? Being the strong, independent woman that I am, I am also equally aware of my weaknesses and the (few) things of which I'm incapable. I have no problems asking for assistance when said assistance is needed/wanted.

Why is it that men feel the need to stroke their testosterone and rush to the aid of a damsel anything but distressed? Am I supposed to swoon and swear my undying devotion because you did something that I could have done myself?

Ok, but here is where I'm a walking contradiction. I love it when men open doors, pull out my chair, walk on the outside of the sidewalk, let me order first, and are protective. I think it's because there's not question that I could complete these simple tasks for myself, but there's a chivalry present that I am the softer sex and should be cared for. My problem mainly arises when men assume I can't do something just because I am a woman.

Where's the happy medium? Maybe this is why I'm still single...

*Ok, so maybe it's not every time. In fact, I can't remember the last time I was selected for random searching. But, it used to happen, so I can still complain about it.
**This is the same reason why my dad doesn't hand me a couple of $20 spots whenever I leave home now. I was so adament that I am independent and he doesn't need to know the state of my finances and I know how to budget, blah blah blah that I'm sure he thinks that if I'm so independent, I can do it on my own (which I can) and I'll ask for help if I really need it (which maybe I will). Still, those extra $20's were nice...