Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Department of Good Questions

I decided to take up John's question about elevator etiquette. I did a little research today to find out if ladies do, indeed, go first into and out of elevators.

Surprisingly, not many people weighed in on the subject at all. Those who did said something banal like "the people nearest the door go in first," which is not at all a satisfactory answer. Finally, this afternoon, I found a reference to the fact that "people used to crawl all over one another in elevators, mostly for the purposes of ensuring that women would be permitted to enter and exit an elevator before men." Unfortunately the author, Marjabelle Young Stewart, goes on to say, in effect, that it's every man for himself now in the elevator business. That is a shame. She says that some "old-school gentlemen" do still yield to ladies in boarding and departing elevators. Here's hoping that "old-school gentlemen" are more common than she thinks. Also, it occurs to me that Ms. Stewart is making reference to a time when there were elevator operators to push buttons and hold doors; that situation is obviously not the one that brings us to our question today.

I agree with John that, in principle, it should be a lady's prerogative to stay in an elevator for the least amount of time possible. Furthermore, the most practical way to hold the door open for another person boarding an elevator without an operator is to get on first and press the Hold Door button. So I'm still in favor of men boarding first, but I haven't found the right citation yet. The search continues.

UPDATE: There is, unbelievably enough, an entire website devoted to the subject of elevator etiquette. Their answer and the ensuing discussion lack the authority to settle the question definitvely; however, one commenter aptly identified the exceptions to the "Ladies First" rule as "canary-in-a-coal-mine situations."

1 comment:

  1. I haven't noticed anything entering an elevator, but exiting, all things equal (male and female same distance to the door), generally the male will let the female out first.