We, Men First

A day ago I was in a taxi stand waiting for a ride home. It was hot and humid and there was a group of guys waiting ahead of me. From the way they looked, I guessed they’ve been waiting for some time. When an empty taxi finally came, the guys turned to me and one jokingly said,

”Paunahin muna natin si ate kasi mag-sasaing pa sya.” (Let her go ahead of us because she still needs to cook rice.)

I laughed, thanked them and with no hesitations jumped into the taxi to escape the heat.

In my country, ”ladies first” is one of the most worn-out phrases. It’s a code of conduct men live by since their first grade when pupils are taught to line up and the girls always go before them.

It’s a kind gesture I took for granted ’till I came to this country. Here it is shocking that the general population of men have no concept of gentlemanhood.

They cut queues especially when a lone woman is ahead of them. They pass you by like you’re invisible.

They seldom open doors for you or offer to carry your things.

They do not open car doors nor pull up a chair for you. They do not give way and when they walk, they walk like they own the street. Ladies are expected to move away from their path, sometimes even dodge as they pass by.

And yes, they steal taxis from you all the time.

Even when you’re in a pretty skirt.

Like today, with this man.

In this country, ”women first” is ”we, men first.”

So frustrating.

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