The fact that I don’t talk does not justify the following:
- Speaking to me in slowly, carefully enunciated single words.
- Insisting on opening doors for me, especially when I am clearly not burdened with anything that would prevent me using my entirely unencumbered arm to open it myself (and also, I’m not going through the door yet).
- Calling me ‘darling’, ‘sweets’, or similar.
- Shoving paper and a pen at me when I clearly have a document open and am typing to you.
- Yanking my phone out of my hand and refusing to give it back while yelling ‘but I need to read it!’
Yes, I’m sure I want an overseas envelope. Asking me whether I’m sure by saying ‘O-VER-SEAS!’ and pointing to the ‘air mail international’ stamp implies you don’t think I can read, when I was staring at the local envelopes and then had to reach above my head to get the international one. Running out to open the door for me, while I’m holding my bag, three envelopes and a magazine, makes you look stupid. That’s why I made a point of pushing the door open myself when you refused to let go when I glared at you. I was not ready to leave – I will now post my envelope elsewhere, and my head hurts because you insisted on me going outside before I’d put my glasses on.
It’s not helping.
It’s assuming what I need and inserting yourself to make yourself feel better because you’re ‘helping’.
But when you run a business, it’s also a sign that I should probably find another one.
Because I can open a door myself. There is nothing about not talking that indicates I cannot do this. We’re well beyond it being polite, especially since I opened the door myself in order to you know, enter. And most days I even open the door myself to leave. And sometimes people open the door and stand right in the gap and wonder why I can’t get through and yell at me because they’re being nice.
Which, they’re not. I have had men open the door for me and insist I go first, even when I refuse, until other people get involved because they won’t go until I go because I was first (even when I wasn’t), so they can follow me and stare at my butt. Opening the door for someone forces them into a social interaction with you, because it’s rude not to say thank you. It’s inserting yourself into someone’s day when they don’t want you to, or else they would have asked you.
So don’t do it. And then I might not be angry with you. (And especially, don’t assume I need it because I don’t talk/look femme/have a thing to carry. Rawr.)
If you go ‘should I open the door for someone?’ here is a list of things to consider first.
- Am I assuming something about their gender? (e.g. man should open door for woman because chivalry – assumes that person is female and subscribes to outdated gender norms and implications)
- Am I assuming something about their strength? (e.g. opening the door for someone with grey hair because they are old and therefore need help when they may not)
- Am I assuming something about their limitations? (e.g. opening door for someone with a disability because they have a disability, not because they can’t)
- Am I preventing them doing something? (e.g. opening the door but standing in front of it so they can’t actually get through)
- Am I assuming that they can’t do the thing? (e.g. that parcel looks big – it might not be heavy, or the person is strong. etc.)
- Would the situation be improved by asking first? (YES)