January 15, 2004

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I am approaching a door. I see a woman approaching from the other side. We are going to get to the door at the same time. Which is correct:
(a) I go first and hold the door open for her?
(b) I wait for her to open the door and let her go first?
In case (a) I exert the effort but commit the faux pas of going first; in case (b) I force her to exert the effort but look gallant?

Another example how men can't win in this world.

posted by Simon on 01.15.04 at 02:11 PM in the


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i believe the hong kong etqiuette traditionally requires tat you decide to exert the effort and go first, gallantly hold the door open for her, and she steams thru without so much as glancing at you while screaming into a hello kitty mobile phone.

after the first few times this palled on me so now i find it much more fun to wait until she thinks you're not going to do anything and rteaches for the door. as soon as she has hold of the handle you then grab the handle on your side and pull as hard as you can, pulling her through the doorway at huge pace, and sending her mobile flying through the air. it may not be terribly gallant but she gets through the door without exerting any effort and you get the huge satisfaction of watching her phone smash into a thousand tiny pieces.

posted by: english on 01.15.04 at 03:03 PM [permalink]

Or you wait till she gets to the door and then _push_.

posted by: fumier on 01.15.04 at 03:29 PM [permalink]

Or let her pull open the door, stride on through with a "good day Madam" and a mock hat tip.

I think the best way to go is to open the door for her, if she opens it at the same time let her do it.

posted by: Giles on 01.15.04 at 05:05 PM [permalink]

I did a double-take when I read 'I wait for her to open the door and go through first?' Gotta love ambiguous syntax.

posted by: Nicholas Liu on 01.15.04 at 08:56 PM [permalink]

Point taken Nicholas - I've changed it slightly to remove the ambiguity. That's what happens when you rush.

posted by: Simon on 01.15.04 at 10:04 PM [permalink]

Oh but that's taken away half the fun of this entry. Bugger.

Anyway, another problem is that actively deciding whether to pursue course A or B will require either speeding up or slowing down, which can lead to complications if she decides to do the same thing--a bit like when two people in a narrow corridor step to the same side trying to let each other pass. The alternative is not to change pace, running the risk of arriving at and reaching for the door at the exact same time! Horrors! Isn't possessing corporeal form a bitch?

The good news is that none of this will be an issue fifty years from now when we've all been downloaded entirely into our blogs.

posted by: Nicholas Liu on 01.16.04 at 04:27 AM [permalink]

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