Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Day Tripper No. 2

Today I had to go to Manchester. I don't go there very often; and I don't like going there, though I can't say why. I'm quite comfortable travelling around the world, with or without my family; but as me to cross the Pennines for one day without them, and I feel twitchy from the moment the train pulls out of the station in Sheffield until the moment I get off the return train...Like I said, I don't know why: I've not had any particularly bad experiences there; I have no reason to be especially prejudiced about the city (other than - along with half the population of the world - not liking Manchester United); I have friends from there...Maybe I should get some prayer ministry!

Anyway, it was good to get back to Sheffield.

On the bus from town up to Crookes, I tried - without success - to offer my seat to three other passengers who got on after me. Two other men, both younger than me, tried to do the same thing, at least once each. Of the five offers, only one was accepted.

Chivalry is dead. Not because young men today are not prepared to prefer others before themselves; but because women and the elderly are not prepared to surrender - and be seen to surrender - their Independence. Personally, I prefer inter-dependence. But then, maybe I'm a sexist, ageist young male...


  1. sure it's about surrender of independence and not simply cos we're british & polite and wouldn't want to put anyone out?

  2. maybe...I'm not entirely convinced, though. [On the other hand, my assertion that chivarlry is dead was hardly based on an extensive survey!]

    But the reason why people won't accept such offers doesn't really matter...the question remains, where does this leave anyone who wants to put others before themselves?

  3. Chivalry should stay dead, if it is. Offer me a seat because it's polite and I'd thank you and take it if I was tired. Offer me a seat because I'm a girl and I'm not interested. I really can stand as well as you. Chivalry suggests that women are a weaker sex and need looking after. Those sort of ideas about difference between the sexes, though manifesting sometimes as politeness, also manifest in all sorts of horrible things.

    I'm sorry you odn't like Manchester

  4. Sarah - I never said that I offered my seat to a woman because she was female - I never even said that I offered my seat to a woman at all. I just said that it is harder to offer your seat, for whatever motive, and in particular to women and the elderly, because there is an assumption that the motive is sexist and/or ageist.

    And, it could be said that your reaction only goes to reinforce my point.

    On the other hand, I never said that I was committed to chivalry; nor that I thought it was a sad thing that it is dead. I'm not, and I don't. But I do think it is sad that, especially as a man, it is increasingly hard for me to be - in your words - polite, and taken at face value. It is, one might say, a form of discrimination...

    And I didn't say I don't like Manchester. Just that, for some reason I can't pin-point, I get a little distressed whenever I have to go there. I take your sorrow at this at face value, and not as pity, or sarcasm.

  5. I'm sorry - I think I sounded more agressive than I really am!

    I find it difficult to offer my seat to people because, if I think they are pregnant, they might just be fat and get offended and if I think they are elderly, they might not feel old enough to be offered seats.

    I really was sincere about being sorry that you find Manchester distressing. Actually, the city centre is not very nice. It's corporate and bland and full of shops.

  6. Hi Sarah - you are always welcome! Sorry if I was a less-than-gracious 'host'.

    It is interesting that we are held-back from extending a gift to strangers by fear that they will misconstrue our actions. I think any offense caused might be grounded in a very British thing, that we [are happy to respond to the needs of others but] don't want to be seen as needing help - charity - ourselves. We want to be self-sufficient [even if we are fat]. And that same desire to be self-sufficient is a stumbling block to coming to God...

    Perhaps we should just confront that attitude, with gift-giving, by giving up our seat on the bus for WHOEVER gets on after us when the bus is full - without regard for what they think of us...