I can name plenty of times when men have come up to me asking if I need help, when I didn’t even ask for it, nor did I actually need it. Whether it’s while I am parallel parking, walking to my car with groceries, or simply working out at the gym, it seems that some men never stop feeling entitled to offer their assistance.
Although these men may think they are only being helpful and chivalrous, to me and many other women alike, it seems as if you are being condescending, or presumptuously assuming that I cannot handle what I am doing on my own.
I have been driving for around 8 years now and have a spotless driving record. I drive cautiously and efficiently, and do an excellent job parking. Yet, it seems as though people, specifically men, love to offer help when I am taking my own sweet time to fit into a tight parallel parking spot. It’s pretty hard to focus on my parking while a strange man is waving their arms and hands in front of my car as if they are directing traffic.
If I roll down my window and ask you strangers lurking outside my car how much space I have behind me, then your help is welcome. Otherwise, please stop acting like a traffic director because you look ridiculous and are being all too distracting.
I have also dealt with unsolicited help from men while carrying groceries to my car. Yes, I am 5’3, 115 lbs and don’t appear the strongest physically, but I can manage my own groceries and in fact, I choose to because I can. If I was obviously struggling and dropping my groceries, then I would thank you for your help. But, if I seem like I am managing perfectly fine on my own, your lack of engagement is much more appreciated than your unsolicited “chivalry”.
Another inconvenient time when I am offered male help is at the gym, specifically when I am lifting heavy weights or trying out new equipment. Maybe it’s because a guy thinks I am attractive, or maybe it’s because he assumes because I am a petite, blonde woman that I just need the help. If it is because he is attempting to flirt, then his chosen approach is most definitely a turn off. To randomly ask if I need help figuring out how to use an exercise machine is condescending in itself. It’s just in bad taste. If I need help, I will ask an employee. Find a new way to charm me that doesn’t seem to doubt my intelligence and astuteness at the gym.
On the other hand, I will not deny that there are also plenty of women who do appreciate the extra, unsolicited help, even when they do not need it, but simply because they like being helped. That type of woman just isn’t relatable to who I am, and for many other independent women like me.
We are not all in dire desire of a man’s help.
All in all, be cautious when offering help to a stranger. Because, one – you are a stranger, and two – they may not need your help, and your “help” may seem patronizing. In my case, I don’t need your extra arms when I grocery shop, your mansplaining while I parallel park, nor your unsought instruction on gym equipment.
So, for future reference, unless a woman specifically asks for your help or gives obvious, unmistakeable signs that she needs help, maybe think twice before you so kindly offer help.
Let me know what you think in the comments below.