A Little Courtesy and Sunshine

Picking up on Trisha’s post yesterday about craziness and courtesy on the road, I have a little courtesy to share from this evening’s commute.

On my way home, an SUV driver stopped for three older gentlemen at a crosswalk.  This is so rare in Chicago, that could be the whole story, but there’s more.  I was biking from the other direction and also stopped. Two of the gentlemen shuffled by and the third saw me waiting and gave a polite bow while motioning for me to go ahead of him. I thanked him with a smile and set off, as another in the group called out, “Hey, want to take me with you?” Ha, cute! (Note to men: do not attempt unless you are in a group of adorable elderly men, otherwise you’ll just be a creepy.)

A few miles later, I heard a little girl say to her mom, “I like that bicycle!” as I passed. Aw, double cute!  Ladies of all ages appreciate the Betty Foy.

Another plus from the day – the weather was glorious. I enjoyed basking in the morning sun as it rose over Lake Michigan.

The sweet little interactions and the beautiful weather made up for the traffic craziness of the day, like the four drivers who opened car doors in my path. Good thing I was not riding a little closer to the parked cars, sheesh.

Anyway, a little courtesy and sunshine go a long way to brighten my day.  :)

 

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22 thoughts on “A Little Courtesy and Sunshine

  1. Keiron Curtis2 says:

    Thanks for the note to men in your post. But, why is it creepy for an old man on his own to make such a comment? I’ve a few grey hairs, but I still appreciate a good looking girl, especially on a bike. Nowadays, even a smile in their direction is perceived as “creepy”, Why?l

    • Dottie says:

      Good question! There are all sorts of reasons why. I’ll address this response to any guy reading this. The most basic reason is that by calling out something to a woman on the street, a man assumes that his opinion or judgment is important enough to force on her, despite the fact that she did not ask. Women are people going about our lives for ourselves, not objects on display for random men’s approval or disapproval. Of course, there is nothing wrong with appreciating a good looking girl and smiling, but please, men, leave it at that. No matter how nice you think the statement is, remember that it’s most likely not welcome. Whether a man calls out, “smile, beautiful” or “nice legs,” my reaction is the same – I want to hit him. Even if you don’t understand or agree, respect women enough to listen.

      Note that this response is about calling out to women on the street and does not apply to approaching a woman and having a normal conversation with her, although be prepared to respect her boundaries and leave her alone if she seems uncomfortable. And if you’re in a remote location or an empty subway car or it’s nighttime, just don’t. Remember that around to 1 in 4 women (stats vary) will be a victim of sexual assault or attempted sexual assault in her lifetime and you never know what the experience of a particular woman on the street has been.

      • Keiron Curtis2 says:

        I don’t think my simple question demanded such a verbose reply, or for you to get up on your soapbox vis a vis ” women going about their lives for themselves, not as objects on display….etc”
        I resent the accusation that I may not understand or agree, because I respect women enormously.

        • LGRAB says:

          I assume that anyone who asks such a question directly to me is interested in hearing a woman’s honest answer. The opportunity to have open discussions and learn from others’ perspectives is one of the great things about the internet. I hoped that you and other men would appreciate the time and thoughtfulness I put into my response.

          As I said before, my response was directed to any and all men. I was not talking about you specifically and never made any accusations. I hope this clears up any misunderstanding and refocuses the dialog on the main issue.

          • Keiron Curtis2 says:

            I don’t believe you are, at all, interested in others’ perspective, forgive me for thinking otherwise. Your main issue is quite simple, lone single old men are creepy, if they make a comment to a girl riding a bike. Recently, a woman shouted ” Nice legs” as I cycled by, she was alone, I didn’t find it creepy?

            • mamavee says:

              I think you are being out of line.

              1. that’s great you sdon’t find it creepy to have a woman call out to you. enjoy it when it comes.

              2. Dottie is giving you a very honest woman’s answer on why we do not appreciate being called out too. She was very specific that her comments are pretty much about call outs. I do not think Dottie is singling it out to only Old Men. I think men in general. In fact a Group of Young Men would not only be creepy but would freak me out.

            • Keiron Curtis2 says:

              A group of young men calling out ” Nice legs” or similar, to me would cause me concern also. However, I don’t use callouts to women I see on bikes or otherwise, a smile at most, but today ,even that isn’t PC, which means alot of fun and openness has been lost, out on the road/trail because of attitudes, current today. I’m sure the statistics Dottie quoted re: sexual attacks are correct, which is very sad, because of the fears that have been engendered as a result. You should all come to Wales to cycle, where those kinds of fear could be left in the USA.

          • Keiron Curtis2 says:

            I don’t believe you are, at all, interested in others’ perspective, forgive me for thinking otherwise. Your main issue is quite simple, lone single old men are creepy, if they make a comment to a girl riding a bike. Recently, a woman shouted ” Nice legs” as I cycled by, she was alone, I didn’t find it creepy?

      • RobW says:

        I notice a strong contrast in the conduct of the men you encountered and wrote of here. One made a chivalrous and courteous jesture by bowing, and yeilding right of way to you. The other made a self serving insincere call desiring to accompany you. I can surely see how the latter would be offensive.
        It is totally possible for the most innocent of intentions to go horribly wrong, but I would hope that a polite “Nice Dress” or such would not rate a rebuttal of Bear Spray. :-)
        While riding my recumbent TourEasy, and my electric assisted bike, i do recieve a fair number of “hey, cool bike!” and other polite greetings. I’ve also gotten a fair share of rude, crude and socially unacceptable comments as well. Try to embrace the positve, and dispose of the negative as quickly as possible is a good best practice. The latter half is the hardest part though.

      • Sam says:

        I’ve gotten the “smile, beautiful” or “why the sad face?” comments too. I now respond with, my dad just died. Which shuts everyone up. I’m going to eventually get cancer, gonorrhea and other ailments.

  2. Trisha says:

    Aw, nice stories! It reminded me that last week as I was passing a Mexican place with an outdoor patio, a little girl waved at me on my bike. When I rang my bell, she smiled really big and waved harder, and her parents started laughing.

  3. Trisha says:

    Aw, nice stories! It reminded me that last week as I was passing a Mexican place with an outdoor patio, a little girl waved at me on my bike. When I rang my bell, she smiled really big and waved harder, and her parents started laughing.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Dottie–

    Greetings from NYC

    Pretty busy, but thought I’d send a quick hello, love your blog, and this heads up: I’ll be posting again soon to ask you a sincere question to which I’d appreciate an honest answer. Upon receipt of that honest answer, I will proceed to dismiss it out-of-hand and to accuse you of acting in bad faith. Really looking forward to it.

    Hey, you in the photograph — nice skyline!

    rMs

  5. anniebikes says:

    There is something about the warmth of a sunshiny September afternoon that sets the mood for the rest of the day…

  6. Sam says:

    Regarding these “compliments”, I think the intention matters and I think on an intuitive level the receiving party can sense the intention. I’ve received compliments from what I’ll call thuggish looking guys and sometimes I can sense the genuine desire to just acknowledge my beauty and I say, thank you. Other times I sense that there is a power play dynamic going on and while I KNOW most men are physically stronger than me, asserting that in a vaguely threatening manner (body language, vocal tone, etc) rubs me wrong and pisses me off. I think older men tend to not intimidate as much because they’ve paid attention and made notes on how to give out body language and verbal cues that do not threaten and intimidate. Younger men, very rarely have had enough experience to be that discerning…although there are exceptions and I know many of them. So my suggestion would be this, if you constantly get women freaking out on you for your compliments maybe pay attention on why (ask them, maybe) and then…listen. Unless of course there is way too much pride.

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