Try a Little Helpfulness

Chaps! Can I alert you to the existence of these? Buggies, strollers, pushchairs, call them what you will, women use them to transport your small children around. I’m telling you this because you seem to be completely oblivious to them. I was out the other day with Babymother who, I might add, is a mother of two and hence can carry a buggy complete with child, changing bag, kitchen sink and all up seventeen flights of stairs in her teeth, but even she appreciates a hand at times. Now obviously I was there to help, but even so we got the odd offer of assistance – and all of them came from other women. From the chaps? Not so much as a glance in our direction.

Then this morning, at the foot of the monstrous stairs (two straight flights) that are the only exit from Kew Bridge station, I saw another mother with a buggy, and offered her a hand. Were any of the gents streaming past us shamed into helping out? They were not. I’m sure had it been a suitcase – or perhaps if either of us had been blonder – there would have been offers aplenty. But a buggy? I don’t think men can even see them.

Now look, chaps. This is not some politically correct minefield we’re talking about here. Nobody’s going to glare at you and accuse you of opening doors for them. Nobody’s going to burst into tears because it turns out they’re just fat. Nobody lugging their precious infant up two flights of stairs is going to turn down any assistance wherever it comes from. Giving her a hand does not in any way imply she is not capable of carrying the buggy. It just implies that she might not want to have to every single time.

And you know what? Helping people gives you the warm fuzzies. It can perk up any commuter’s day. (It also gives you aching triceps but that’s a matter for another entry). Obviously I could keep this quiet and hog all the smug brownie points myself. But I just thought you gentlemen might want to share the joy…

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23 responses to “Try a Little Helpfulness

  1. Oh I’ve so been there.

  2. I hope somebody helped you out…

  3. At this point can I mention that just because I’ve got a beard like a Pirate I don’t eat babies or drop my end half way up/down the steps for a laugh so as to watch the little tyke bounce down the stairs whilst I cackle demoniacally and if you really don’t want my help, could you try and look a little bit less horrified/fearful/disgusted please.

  4. Perhaps they’re just worried your beard will get caught in the straps?

  5. My older sister was once struggling with a buggy and suitcase on the underground. When she got to the stairs she kindly asked the staff at the station for a little help (because its, you know, their job to help out commuters and maybe make their journey a little less nightmarish) their responce? “Cant, its against health and safety regulations” I mean really.

  6. Oh dear. I did mean to say that I excepted most station staff from this rant because often they are helpful (train stations at least). But obviously not!

  7. Yes, but like you said, only by women!

  8. Come on chaps, where are all you knights in shining armour? Cha0tic excepted, of course

  9. Well, I would, but for me, children are simply accidents waiting to happen – not in the sense of “unplanned”, but in the euphemism for excrement. I’d worry that they’d soil my spats, cummerbund and white dandy gloves.

  10. Ross, if you’re commuting in London, they’re already spoiled…

  11. I’m wondering if the reluctance of the males to help is because in this day and age we are all regarded as potential rapists and paedophiles. The last time I offered to help I was rebuffed in no uncertain terms – the look on the lady’s face suggested that I had some ulterior motive for offering.

    I think that your predicament is merely a sad indictment of the sick state of the “society” we find ourselves in.

    Having said all that – I’m as non-PC as they come so I would gladly risk being branded as public enemy number one and assist you.

    Unfortunately (for you!) I live about 150 miles from London.

  12. I think you will find its because we are far more likely to be accused of trying to kill/steal them for illegal purposes than thanked for any help offered. Women with children are insane and more territorial than a pensioners terrier.

    You have brought it on yourselves, I have no sympathy!

  13. Howard – I’m sure if you’re just offering to take one half of a pushchair there’s little damage you could do (except to your back)
    SciFi – Okaaaay … if that’s how you feel I’m sure you can be excused

    Full disclosure – I don’t have any kids myself, but I’d be really really surprised if a woman wasn’t grateful at an offered hand wherever it may come from. Any mothers out there reading who would care to chip in?

  14. Oh, and SciFi, I think you’ll find it takes two to make a baby…

  15. disgruntled: I can only repeat what I said in my first post – “The last time I offered to help I was rebuffed in no uncertain terms – the look on the lady’s face suggested that I had some ulterior motive for offering.”

    I can and do offer help when I can. If the offer is rebuffed, surely all I can do is to politely withdraw..?

  16. Right mothers, the ball is in your court: do you want the chaps to help you or not?

    The floor is yours…

  17. Well I think that if you stopped dragging babymother and her buggy up and down stairs we could all breathe much easier – and then she would have time to catch up on her blog. No wonder her writings are so few and far between if you are force marching her up and down the stairs of TfL all the while grimacing at various and sundry men who are not offering to help – and I thought you were supposed to be back at work?

  18. Pah. It will take more than me just not bothering her to make Babymother blog these days…

  19. My mother drummed it into me to give up my seat on buses, open doors, etc for ladies.
    I think she would be horrified if she saw me ignore a mother struggling with pram and bags, so I always offer assistance. (Just in case she sees me…)

  20. And do the mothers rear back in horror and imply you’re some sort of wierd child molesting pervert?

  21. They don’t seem to go quite as far as that, but I do get some funny looks…
    It’s the world we live in, I guess?

  22. It may take two to make a baby, so why is the father helping them up the stairs then?

    Probably been beaten to death as a potential peadophile. Like I said, insane and territorial!

  23. Ooops. That was me by the way!

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