Changing Etiquette Between the Sexes

On the subway recently, a man near me rushed to sit when someone got up. I was a little taken aback, as I’m used to men giving up seats to women. Then a man boarding the train made a quick dash to sit down. This change in etiquette was surprising. My first thought was even more surprising — good for you!
They both looked drained. One carried several packages. While several women gave them dirty looks, I thought about double standards. Why shouldn’t men be able to sit down if they’re tired? Why should they feel obligated to let a woman sit just because she’s female? Older or pregnant women? Sure! I’ve given my seat to old men. But a healthy woman should have no extra dibbs on one.
Women want equal rights, but some expect old standards to prevail when it suits their needs. I wanted a seat but would never expect a man to give me his. I’ve even turned down offers from a guy ready to get up for me because I feel they have a right to comfort too. We can’t have it both ways. We fight to be equals but…
It doesn’t serve us well in the long run to waffle selectively between expecting traditional courtesies we like and new liberated standards to feel more equal, depending on which we like in different situations. Women who want equality need to adjust expectations fairly. There are many men who like being more traditional, and it’s fine to enjoy being with one. But if we want to be treated as equals, traditional behavior should be optional. I get angry when I hear a woman who has complained about not getting promoted as fast as a man then complain that a guy she had dinner with asked her to split the check. Hello! Either we want equal rights or not. It shouldn’t just be a sometimes mentality, depending on what we’d like in the moment.
It’s also not good to go completely in the other direction to prove you’re an equal. I’ve heard women indignantly declare that they won’t let a man hold the door for them. Men tell me they’ve had women balk when they tried to open the car door.
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