Michael Eriksson
A Swede in Germany
Home » Humans » Women | About me Impressum Contact Sitemap

Awareness of surroundings

Original text

Note: The below was written shortly after the last incident mentioned (cf. below). I was not in a good mood at the time (a hit in the face can do that), and the reading should be made with this in mind. I may or may not write a more diplomatic version in the future; however, I stand by the general outline.

One of my main complaints about women is that they do not appear to have any idea at all of what goes on around them—it is as if they were blind. This can be particularly well noticed in stores where they use shopping carts: Passages are often blocked in outrageous manners—(almost) always by women; (almost) never by men. Of the many occasions I myself have been a victim, the following are particularly noteworthy:

  1. I ventured up a wide aisle were two carts could comfortably pass each other. However, there were two women, both with a cart, slowly moving forward in the opposite direction, engrossed in conversation, and blocking the entire aisle. I waited ten seconds or so, expecting them to move apart to allow my passage, or at least move faster. But no: after ten seconds they had moved about two meters (!) without any kind of reaction.

  2. In a bookstore I visited, a narrow aisle had a bottle-neck in form of a pillar. There was enough space on either side for a single person to pass or look at the shelves. One of the slots was already blocked by one woman. I intended to pass through the other, but saw a second woman heading towards the same slot from the opposite direction. I did the polite thing and halted, allowing her to pass first. Despite my being in her direct line of sight, manifestly waiting for her passage, she moved into the second slot, halted (!) and started browsing the books—leaving the aisle completely blocked.

    Before |w | | | | ow| | | |I | After | | | | |wow| | | |I |

This not to mention a number of women who have almost cost me an eye by waving umbrellas around, or the woman who, in the middle of well-trafficked board-walk, threw out her arm to point at something—with such speed and lack of control that I had no chance whatsoever of ducking or stepping aside before I was hit in the face.

Is it so bloody hard to just take a look around, and spend a thought on what happens in the vicinity?!?

Later incidents

Since the original writing, there have been a number of similar incidents; two of which are very telling on their own, but become positively outrageous when seen in the light of each other and the female behaviour displayed in conjunction:

  1. I was peacefully walking around, when I felt a heavy (but not painful) bump on the hind-part of my right shoulder. I partly turned around, and saw a woman who had just moved out, walking backwards and pulling a pram, of the doorway I had passed. I briefly waited for a short “sorry” or other form of normal politeness from the woman. Hearing none, I moved on assuming that she was just rude or lost in thoughts—after all, no damage done.

    I did not even get two steps before she started yelling at me... Apparently, since she “did not have eyes in her neck” (her formulation), it was my obligation to pay attention to what she was doing—instead of her being extra careful to compensate. Never mind that I was the one walking along the street, she the one leaving the doorway, and that my eyes were already past her point of exit...

    The physical incident was not a problem in my case, but the sheer audacity and lack of self-perspective of this woman turns the situation into something completely different. Further, the same situation with only a minor variation might have gone down very differently: Consider e.g. a collision with an old lady or a small child—either may well have fallen down and/or become hurt. Worse, if someone on a bike had been involved, both parties might have been severely hurt, while there is no guarantee that the baby would have gone unharmed. (In the latter case, the biker would have been at least as guilty, but that is little comfort when someone has a broken arm.)

    Finally, by analogy, the same “reasoning” could be applied to her driving a car: If she rides in reverse, e.g. to leave a parking spot, it would be the sole responsibility of the other drivers to avoid hitting her—not hers to use the rear- and side-view mirrors. Imagine what could happen if two nearby cars were both in reverse...

  2. I attempted to leave my own building through the sole exit one morning—and found the door blocked from the outside by a woman’s bicycle. There was no possibility to open the door (and no other reasonable way to leave the building) without the bicycle being moved somehow. Now, I could:

    1. Wait until the owner came back, which for all I knew could take half-an-hour, or a helpful passerby saw my need, which could easily have gone into the minutes. (Notably, no-one was within sight.)

    2. Shout for assistance, with an uncertain outcome and possibly similar delays—not to mention the silly embarrassment of such a situation.

    3. Open the door anyway and let the highly inconsiderate (not to say “outrageously rude”) and negligent owner sort out her end of the situation later—in all likelihood, just the need to lift up the bike; in a worst case, minor damage to it.

    Naturally, I choose the the last option—and naturally the idiot owner comes running and starts to complain, oblivious to her own faults. Her idiocies included making statements like that I could not have overlooked her bike, with no regard to the facts that this was entirely irrelevant and that a far more justified criticism had been from me to her that she could not possibly have overlooked the door. (And I note that most of the houses that I have lived in have not had windows in the door—here the bicycle would only have been discovered when it was too late to consider alternatives. Should it be a lesser offense to block a door with windows than one without, and should the tenants have a greater obligation to show consideration for the offender?)


    Others could possibly take the view that the second option above was the better, but, under these circumstances, I am highly in favour of the last. In particular, it is the party that causes a problem which should carry the consequences and keep others free from damage. From this POV, I certainly had no obligation to act differently than I did—going with the second option would have been an entirely voluntary, and undeserved, kindness. The first option is entirely unconscionable and to be categorically ruled out.

    (Additionally, with the last option, there is always the hope that the woman would be more careful about where she parks her bike in the future—to the good of the rest of the world. Notably, such a development would be unlikely with another attempt at solution.)

Here we see several common problems with women demonstrated, including the lack of awareness of surroundings (in the last case, in a more general version), an unwillingness to take responsibility for own actions/even consider the fact that they might have done something wrong, and their gross hypocrisy. To expand on the hypocrisy, we see here how completely different rules are applied depending on what role the woman had: If we, strictly for the sake of the argument, assume that I had been in error in the first case, then the woman in the second case must have been far deeper in error—a deliberate and semi-permanent blocking of a door compared to a mere walking by. Conversely, if I had been in error in the second case, the woman in the first case must have been far deeper in error—a negligent and easily avoidable behaviour with the potential of physical damage to others compared to someone removing an unconscionable obstacle, with no risk of physical damage to anyone (and with only minor damage to the bike as a potential secondary concern).


Yes, in all fairness, these were two different women and there is no guarantee that either would have behaved like the other, had they been magically transposed. However, exactly this kind of coat-turning is extremely common among women and the illustration of principle stands; in particular, as their behaviour in their actual, respective situation is a strong indication of their likely behaviour in the hypothetical variation. Notably, most women appear to base their reasoning on what is right and wrong largely on whether they come out on top or not (or, more generally, on the outcomes for the persons they identify or sympathize with). Men are far more likely to consider right and wrong more abstractly—not to mention being far more polite, on average, in situations like these.