Oh, no! What will I do? I’m just a little woman in a man’s world and I can’t possibly compete, or take care of myself, or just plain old get by without some big strong man’s help! … Oh, wait. Actually, I’m fine and I don’t need your help and please get away from me you condescending jerk.
This must be what goes on in some people’s heads.
I was carrying a box from one side of the building to another. It was not a heavy box, and I was clearly doing fine. Now, I’m not going to complain about someone simply offering their help; if someone is offering to assist you with genuine generosity, it’s actually quite nice and polite. However, I was approached by a smirking gentleman who said, “Are you sure you can handle that, little Miss?”
In my head, I was thinking, “LITTLE MISS? LITTLE MISS? Am I 12?!” (Ensuing rage.)
Instead, I said, “Yes, I’m fine. Thank you.”
To which, he replied, “Here, let me get that for you.” Then, he reached for the box in my hands. The smallish box, next to my heart and other body parts. I pulled back a little, trying to maintain a polite demeanor even though he was creeping me out.
I said (with a smile), “Oh, no really, I’ve got it just fine. It’s not heavy at all.”
“No. I insist. You should let a man do the heavy lifting.” He smirked again.
Now, at this point, he had stopped me and was blocking my path, thereby increasing the time it took me to perform this very simple task and increasing my annoyance at his insistence. I didn’t think it should take this long to say, “No, thank you.” I could have explained that I was carrying sensitive documents and that I didn’t know who he was. I wanted to also mention that it would be weird to have a stranger walk into my boss’ office assisting me in carrying a 5-10 lbs. box. I also was just mad because he couldn’t seem to take a hint. So, I finally replied with some force in my voice, and a stern, school-marm voice, “Sir. Thank you, but no thank you. This box is not heavy and you’re going to make me late.” With a swift maneuver, I spun around him, slipping into the hallway with a pace near a run. I couldn’t have been happier to get away from him.
Now, I have to wonder, why couldn’t he just let it go that I could carry this little box and that he should let me go on my way? I’m sick of men acting as if it’s not just unlikely, but unhealthy and impossible that I can lift things, know something about cars, understand hockey, can do mental math, know how to punch and many other things. Don’t be surprised by women’s knowledge, skills or power. If a woman turns down your help, let it go. If she gets hurt or fails without you, she brought in on herself. Let her live with her pride. Chances are, if a woman turns down your help, it’s because she doesn’t need it. Dudes, just settle it down. Ladies can handle themselves just fine.